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Open Up Arts

We know that involvement in the arts enriches people’s lives. We also know that not all neighbourhoods and communities have equal access to creative opportunities. The real and powerful benefits of the arts are not felt by everyone.
What can we do to change this?

In 2019 Brighton People’s Theatre was commissioned by Brighton and Hove City Council to work in partnership with community organisations in East Brighton and Hangleton & Knoll.

Our job was to gain a greater understanding of the inequalities that exist and the desires of residents to be creative.

Residents led the research process and those interviewed shared their often unspoken creative dreams, their experiences of missed opportunities and the barriers they face in accessing arts opportunities.

This Open Up Arts report summarises our key findings in the words of people who feel most excluded from the arts world. Residents also share their suggestions for how arts organisations can work collaboratively with their communities.

We hope our findings will prove useful in thinking about why, how and what the arts sector can do differently in the future.

Download the report Brighton People's Theatre

“Human beings have an innate need to be creative, but I think that notion is denied to some people and people growing up in council estates are one of those groups of people.” (Zoe)

Brighton People's Theatre

“You were told you would be useless if you don’t get any work. The pressure of having to get money and work was pummeled into you. And those little things, over time, cage your aspirations.” (Mark)

Brighton People's Theatre

“The thing about living in an area like Hangleton is that you can get plenty of statistics to measure what we don’t have, but there is rarely any focus on what we do have… it (Hangleton) is not just a geographical area on a map that can be summed up with statistics, it’s people, many of whom grew up in the area, who really care about the area, not just making the best of what they have but trying to make it better.” (Jane)

Brighton People's Theatre

“They’ve all got a story of what they could have been if circumstances had been different. So maybe, really, they’re just all a bit broken hearted. And you can become quite cynical, quite bitter. But there isn’t that understanding so that person then just feels bad ‘oh ok, I’ll just go back in my box.” (Charlie)

Thanks to our funders:

Arts Commission Community Partner

Thanks to our community partners

  • Bristol Estate Community Room
  • Crew Club
  • Due East
  • Manor Gym
  • Robert Lodge
  • Serendipity
  • St Cuthman’s Church
  • Wellsbourne GP Surgery