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
After a decade of youth & community work, Celine increasingly found her work focused on museums and galleries. Now working for Cornwall Museums Partnership, Celine identifies opportunities for public engagement across over 70 sites: nothing could be more fitting than the collaboration with Fun Palaces, celebrating creativity and propagating seeds of positive change alongside community groups, within (and sometimes without!) a huge variety of venues.
Jack Morrison at FEAST
Jack is half of the Cornwall Fun Palace Ambassador blending with work as the FEAST manager, Creative Kernow. Born in Redruth, six-hundred yards from his current desk. He studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and was the first Stage Manager hired by Shakespeare’s Globe where he remained for eight years.
“Best thing about Fun Palaces work? Listening to people who want positive change in their 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!
Siobhan has spent over 25 years working across the community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland and is using this experience to reach out to communities, particularly in more rural areas, to connect them with each other and to help them shine a light on their creativity. She is looking forward to the growth of Fun Palaces in NI and sees it as a way to get people talking, exploring creativity and very importantly – having FUN.
Rhiannon Lister-Coburn at Rotherham Council
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.
Alis has worked in the arts and with communities, especially rural communities in Scotland, for the last 20 years. Her background is as a Storyteller, with a focus on traditional Celtic tales and Gaelic songs. She has recently set up an organisation called Seanchas (Spirited Storytelling and Lore), to keep alive the old stories and traditions of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. She is really excited by the potential of Fun Palaces for our Highlands and Islands communities.
Beverley Nunn, Sheffield
Beverley’s background is in community development, having worked in different roles across Sheffield for over 20 years. After qualifying as a youth worker in 2007, she went on to manage various projects for children, young people, and families. An engagement and events role in a local park led to full immersion into the world of community festivals and a newfound passion for arts and creativity grew from there. In the Ambassador role she uses her experience and knowledge of the city to connect communities with the arts and cultural sector, through finding opportunities and supporting people to join in. She is an enthusiastic champion for ALL creativity in ALL communities. And encourages everyone to be loud and proud about the brilliant things that they can do.
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.