Our Ambassadors are local people working with a variety of partner organisations across the UK. Like the Fun Palaces core team, they are all part-time, this means that their own interests and passions both feed and are supported by their work with Fun Palaces.
The connections between individual Ambassadors, their local communities and the partner organisations (each with a different focus) extends the work Ambassadors can do locally and regionally.
In our quarterly Action Research days we learn from each other and from local Fun Palaces Makers, widening our impact and deepening our understanding of the work we are doing together. This is the core of Fun Palaces – radical social change through tiny revolutions of connection – a cup of tea, a chat, new friendships grown in sharing skills or co-creating a local event.
Phase 2 runs from September 2019 to the end of 2024. With the support of The National Lottery Community Fund we are now extending this programme to Northern Ireland with partners Big Telly Theatre, to Inverness/Highlands and Islands with Eden Court Inverness and to Wales with National Trust Wales, and from autumn 2021 to Rotherham with Rotherham Council, Gateshead with Sage Gateshead and Devon with Libraries UnLimited.
Phase 1 covered five areas around the UK from October 2016 – December 2019, Bristol, Cornwall, Scotland, Sheffield and Stoke. With support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Wellcome, Fun Palaces and our partner organisations combined local cultural activism with quarterly Action Research events for Ambassadors, Fun Palaces Makers and partner organisation staff. What we discovered was that the friendships that grew through the Action Research meetings were core to the work itself.
Here are some local and regional stories from Fun Palaces Makers who worked with our Ambassadors in 2018.
Contact the Ambassadors
Ellie is the Digital Innovation Officer at Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP), working across various aspects of the charity’s digital and R&D projects. Originally joining CMP as a Project Support Apprentice, she has a BA Honours Degree in History from the University of Exeter and has previously worked for Apple, FX Plus, and St Austell Brewery.
Having lived in Cornwall for 7 years, Ellie has seen what a vibrant, innovative place it is and is excited to support Fun Palaces in supporting the creativity and passion of communities across the county.
My name is Jack Morrison and I am the Director of Creative Communities at Creative Kernow.
I was born in Redruth, about six hundred yards from where my desk is now.
I studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, have worked on many international projects and was the first Stage Manager hired by the Globe Theatre in London where I remained for eight years. I moved back down in 2002 and have worked all over Cornwall with companies such as the Eden Project, the Works and Kneehigh.
I am responsible for the Creative Communities programme which consists of FEAST, Carn To Cove, C-Fylm, Arts Lab, Flamm Festival, Bills Attic and the Cornwall Festivals’ Network and I have been privileged to be a Fun Palace Ambassador for many years now, in partnership with Cornwall Museums Partnership.
For me, Fun Palaces is (and always has been) about radical social change and the best thing about coming to work each day is listening to the incredible and inspiring artists, companies, community activists and individuals who contact Creative Communities.
Sadie Green at Libraries Unlimited
Sadie has lived in Bideford, North Devon since 2005. She is passionate about community engagement, sense of place and what makes your community special and unique. Sadie is a Creative Producer with 20 years’ experience designing and managing many and varied projects in England and in North Carolina, USA. She has worked with Museums; cultural organisations and venues; businesses; the voluntary sector; community groups and organisations; schools; local authorities and local people.
Sadie is a networker, always looking to join up the dots so activities can happen, and people and organisations can work in partnership together. She loves to to talk, preferably over a cup of tea and a piece of cake! Increasingly Sadie works in a way that asks you what your needs are, what you want to do and gives you the opportunity to shape and take ownership of your project, event or activity. This is called Co-Production. As Fun Palaces Ambassador Sadie is excited about opportunities to work with the Libraries and people in Devon and Torbay, so they can lead on what they want to do and share with others. Hopefully in a fun and enjoyable way!
Rebecca Pereira at Sage Gateshead
Becky was born in south London and raised in Maidstone but she fell in love with the Northeast whilst studying Film at Northumbria University. She now lives on the Northeast coast with her partner and five children. She enjoys Nordic Noirs, polymer clay and walks that end with cake. Growing up, early experiences were heavily shaped by her dyspraxia diagnosis and the power of her Nan’s biscuit tin, filled with pencils and a readily available pad of blank paper. Recognising creativity as a way to work through and thrive on all emotions is a tool and a message she loves sharing. Becky has worked in the cultural sector since 2014 including Indie events, Pop-Up cinemas, consultations, exhibitions, school workshops, community and heritage projects.
An ongoing and central theme to Becky’s projects is access in all its forms. Being a research nerd and a listening campaign lover support her work in this area. Currently Becky coordinates a music program for Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants living in Gateshead and Newcastle. Seeing a creative commonality build friendships, integration and confidence is a joy to witness and be a part of. Addressing and tackling threshold anxiety, area specific barriers to culture and increasing neurodiverse participation amongst young people are some of the focus points on her list (loves a list!) She looks forward to continuing building a Fun Palace community filled with people embracing the value their participation and leadership has.
Rhiannon is a dance and theatre graduate and has worked in Community arts development since 2002, as well as a working in education. She has worked with Hospitals, Mental Health Centres, Social Services, Scope, Sense, Youth Centres, Older people’s Homes, Children’s Centres and voluntary groups. In the past, she has specialised in arts and health projects, and passionately believes that taking part in creativity, can have huge beneficial impacts on social, emotional and mental health. Whilst previously working with communities in Rotherham, Rhiannon developed many evaluation tools and authored an evaluation toolkit, available on many websites. In her Ambassador role in Rotherham, Rhiannon helps bring communities, venues and people together to form new and exciting connections.
Lewis is one of the Scotland Ambassadors currently hosted by Scottish Libraries Information Council. He comes from a neuroscience, traditional arts and public engagement background, and runs the Science Ceilidh social enterprise supporting a Scotland that is creative, curious, equitable and well. Fun Palaces, and cultural democracy, is a key part of that work, helping build (wee) revolutions for, with and by diverse communities.
Freya is a fiddler and pianist from the Black Isle, in the Highlands of Scotland. She love’s music, dance, art and all parts of culture. Outside of her Fun Palaces work, she works with people with additional support needs and is a huge believer in the “genius in everyone”. She is very passionate about making creativity, art and culture accessible to anyone and everyone. She sits on the National Youth Arts Advisory Group, where she advocates for a youth voice and perspective in the arts and culture. Freya is very excited to bring all of this to the Fun Palaces campaign.
Ruari Gordon is a freelance community arts coordinator, event producer and sound engineer based in Inverness, where he is hosted by Eden Court Theatre. Ruari has been involved in Scotland’s event and festival scene for a number of years, as well as coordinating one of Creative Scotland’s 26 pioneering Culture Collective projects. He is a firm believer that everyone’s contributions to and voices within the cultural landscape of the Highlands hold intrinsic value, big or small, and hopes that through Fun Palaces, we can continue to shine a light on the people and places that make up our shared culture and heritage.
Bethan has many years’ experience of working in the visual arts in Wales – her great passion is for working with others to create opportunities for meaningful and valuable participation. Recent freelance roles include collaborating with children and young people, artists and teachers on Arts Council of Wales’ Creative Learning Through the Arts projects which provide opportunities for all of these partners to learn and to grow in confidence through creativity.