Farnham Fun Palace

Farnham Fun Palace

38 West St, Farnham, Surrey, UK, GU9 7DX

7th October, 2017

That’s it for 2017 folks! See you on 6 October 2018. Get in touch if you want to help make the 5th Fun Palace in Farnham.


Thank you!

That's it for Fun Palaces 2017 everyone. It was an amazing year on so many levels. Here are big THANK YOUS:   Thank you to all our new Makers, thank you to all the repeat offenders.   Thank you to our brilliant, lovely and much needed volunteers Fiona, Eleanore and Anna (our youngest volunteer!).   Thank you Mailys for managing to get adults to play.   Thank you You Ukes for bringing a new energy and some brilliant music in the afternoon.   Thank you Shirley Wardell and Rob Simpson for opening the first Fun Palace Parliament, which gave birth to the first democafe in Farnham. A new beginning!   Thank you John & Co from Haslemere Camera Club for helping us document the day - for once we have beautiful pictures to share.   Thank you Larking Arts for bringing poetry to the Fun Palace, and thank you May for the most amazing post box!   Thank you Fadeg and Claire Drewe for bringing the Farnham Giant to life  - now to create its myth...   Thank you Amnesty for the caring and the sharing.   Thank you Marisa for the Pop-Up clay workshop.   Thank you Farnham Library for being part of the Fun Palace this year. We heard you had a VERY busy day, the library was definitely buzzing.   THANK YOU Museum of Farnham for letting us play in your gallery once again (can we borrow it again on 06 October 2018 please?) - Liz and Emma: thank you so very much for your advice, help and support.   Thank you to all our visitors, we saw plenty of new faces. There were about 200 of you. We hope you had fun, and that you learnt a few things, made new encounters, went home full of ideas.   Our last and most heartfelt thank you goes to the Fun Palaces HQ for the year long support and above all for having this crazy idea 5 years ago - crazy because it must have made some people cringe, crazy because those who didn't cringe didn't know they were allowed to play, didn't know they were able to play. 5 years ago people told us: why do you want to play? You're not from the community, you're not artists, you're not scientists. Do you have permission to play? It's free? It must be rubbish. This year people told us: can we play too? It's free? that's amazing! And they said thank you - for the first time. That's what 5 years of making and 4 Fun Palaces have changed in Farnham: they've opened minds, they've opened doors, they've let everyone in - good luck taking that back cringers!      

Un p'tit blog en français

Alors que juillet pointe le bout de son nez et que notre Fun Palace commençe à prendre de la vitesse, je me fends d'un petit blog en français pour partager cette petite révolution que sont les Fun Palaces.

Les Fun Palaces, c'est quoi? C'est une campagne internationale (avec un QG à Londres) qui a pour but de promouvoir toutes initiatives communautaires autour des arts et des sciences. Les Fun Palaces ont lieu le premier week-end d'Octobre mais se construisent tout au long de l'année.

À qui s'adressent les Fun Palaces? À tout le monde (leur devise: 'tous des artistes, tous des scientifiques'). Professionnels, amateurs, curieux, tout le monde peut faire un Fun Palace. Ici, à Farnham (dans le sud de l'Angleterre), nous ne sommes ni pros ni amateurs, juste curieux. Alors on parle à nos voisins, aux gens qu'on croise à la bibliothèque, au parc, chez le coiffeur, n'importe où et partout vraiment. Et puis on se retrouve autour d'un verre, on parle de se qu'on aimerait bien faire et de comment on voudrait le faire. On fait marcher nos neurones et nos connaissances et voilà, ça fait un Fun Palace. Le musée et la bibliothèque nous prêtent leurs locaux. Le matériel qu'on utilise c'est surtout de la récup, des dons, quelques emprunts.

On y fait quoi dans les Fun Palaces? Concrètement c'est dur d'en tracer les grandes lignes. Chaque Fun Palace est différent puisqu'il est le reflet de sa communauté. Un Fun Palace c'est un espace ouvert et accessible. On y vient pour partager une expérience, une compétence ou simplement une conversation. On y construit des objects, des connaissances, des amitiés. Un Fun Palace c'est des ateliers interactifs, un lieu de partages, une alchimie qui résulte de la rencontre des professionnels et des curieux, des jeunes et des vieux, des intellos et des manuels.

Si ça vous titille, et en résumé:

- Pas besoin d'argent pour faire un Fun Palace.

- Pas besoin d'expérience non plus.

- Bien sûr, si vous avez plein de thunes et de l'expérience, vous pouvez faire un énorme Fun Palace.

- Vous trouverez plein d'infos et de photos sur Twitter: #funpalaces

- Pour s'inscrire, c'est par ici (le site est en anglais mais vous pouvez créer votre page en français:



Oh, et puis tant que vous y êtes, allez donc jeter un coup d'oeil sur Fun Palace in Tati, le Fun Palace d'Amiens.


I went to the launch of a report on Cultural democracy today. You can find about it on twitter with the hashtag #culturaldemocracy. In a nutshell, though I'm more interested in the next steps, the practical ones, than in the report itself, I'm pleased I went. There were interesting points like:   - we need to talk with the people who disagree with us. - If we leave it to a small group of usual suspects to be loud, they won't heard because they are expected to be loud. We must all speak out to be heard. - If we want to change things, something of the old ways must die. - The language in reports must be more accessible. - You don't need to consider yourself an artist to believe in your capacity to create. Obviously I related more to the points made about the local facilitators and what can be learnt from them. Not so much to the points about funding and they were omnipresent.   We had a workshop where we were asked what we do to enable culture capabilities. As I don't work for an organisation, I talked about what enabled me to be a Maker: we are given permission to play, we no longer believe we need the support of professional artists or venues to give some credibility/validity to what we make, there is no hierarchy in our FP - we all bring our knowledge, skills, means, enthusiasm to the table and the lot together makes a Fun Palace. What I wish I had said but I didn't think about it at the time is: we are allowed to grow at our own pace, mistakes are no sanctioned - they are part of the process.   And then I got to meet Jo from 64 Million Artists. As we were talking about reports and their outcomes, I came to understand why organisations like 64 Million Artists and Fun Palaces work for me: They do the work first and the reflexion stems from the doing.  When the reflexion stems from some brainstorming and precedes the doing, it makes the doing less free, less accessible, more slow. Nothing happens when we think too much.   So yes, it was good to be invited, to be given a chance to share my thoughts. And to come back to the 'we all need to be loud' point, I wish there had been more Makers in the room, non professional ones. I do believe the change won't come from the pros only, that we have to do our bit too.    

Photo added This weekend we are part of 'Unseen Artists', FADEG's exhibition at the Maltings, our local art centre. This is a hugely diverse and inclusive event. It showcases the work of 22 community groups and individuals of all ages and all abilities*. 22 groups and individuals who make art in and around Farnham. All in 1 room for 1 weekend. The result is splendid! There are paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture on the walls and spread across many tables. The visitors can take part too - there are invitations to draw, to write and to make. And as we stroll amongst the works of art, we are treated to Acapella and Gaelic folk music. And cake!   We met FADEG this time last year - we were visiting their community art exhibition. They took to the Fun Palace and were a great part of it last October. This year they've asked us to be part of their exhibition. It feels really good to be among all those groups. To be part of the community. To see the Fun Palace recognised. The Fun Palace is so much more than a weekend. It is our life now. It makes us as we make it. We grow with it.   * The Unseen Artists are: Farnham Repair Cafe, Pauline Lalor, Larking Arts, Phoebe Reynolds, the Thursday Club, U3A, Brightwells Gostrey Club, Creative Response, Kingsley Art Group, the Abbey School students, Opportunities, The children of St Andrew's Church, a Farnham garden, John O'Neill, Post 19, FDFAS Young Arts, Kevin Pearson at Combat Stress, Russell Billington, St Peter's School at Farnham Pottery with West Street Potters & Robert Watts' Photography, Surrey Young Carers with West Street Potters, Angela Shaw at Farnham Local Food & Farnham Eco-Cinema, FADEG & John Bush. And us. Check them all out!

Unseen Artists : art from the community

We are very pleased to be part of  ‘Unseen Artists : art from the community’ this weekend. It will be staged by Farnham Art and Design Education Group at the Maltings Saturday 18th from 10.00 till 5.00 and Sunday 19th from 10.00 till 4.00. Over 20 community groups will exhibit alongside local art groups. We'll be there too! See you there?

1rst day, 1rst post

We had our 1rst Fun Palace meeting tonight. Larking Arts and FADEG were here. As well as Liz from the Museum and Paul from the library. So, first day, first announcement: the Farnham Library will be part of the Fun Palace this year! We are SO happy about this. It took some time to meet the right person, but we did thanks to Gary from the Surrey libraries. We talked about getting the visitors to record an excerpt of the book that got them into reading, we talked about creating a Maker Space, we talked about doing something in their splendid gardens. So many possibilities. Now. First day, second announcement: the museum will do even more than lending us their gallery - they will take part in the Fun Palace (it will involve skeletons and stuff and LOTS of fun). And then there was a hugely exciting conversation about joining the 2 venues in a creative parkour. It would involve loops and mapping and FADEG making it a part of their Big Draw Festival (the theme is Living Lines this year). And much much more... One day, 2 new participants, 1 hugely exciting project. We've had more difficult starts. It's just a question of time, isn't it? We are very grateful to all the Makers who joined us tonight and shared ideas, have volunteered their time and skills to make the 4th Farnham Fun Palace. Thank you all for a fantastic evening! To be continued...