Introduction After years of austerity, welfare reform, a global pandemic and now a cost of living crisis communities like County Durham have been hit hard. However, one of the things that defines our former mining communities is the radical acts of joy and kindness that bring our community together despite this. County Durham has a tradition of rallying together in solidarity, compassion and support, particularly in dark times. East Durham Creates in partnership with their Community would like to commission an artist, creative practitioner or organisation to work with people from County Durham on a project inspired by the phrase ‘Radical Acts of Joy’. By radical, we mean acts of social change, of resilience and resistance in the face of challenging times but the acts may be as small as a hot meal or cuppa or as big as changing somebodies living circumstances for the better. This commission is all about shining a positive light on the acts that bring joy and make life better for people in our communities, as well as the people who make them happen.
About East Durham Creates East Durham Creates is one of 39 Creative People and Places National Portfolio programme funded by Arts Council England. Established in 2014, the programme is managed by a consortium that includes Beamish Museum, Believe Housing, East Durham Trust, Durham County Council’s Culture, Sport and Tourism and East Durham Area Action Partnership. In 2018 East Durham Trust became the host organisation and a process of ‘artification’ of a non-arts organisation began, utilising the traditional crisis interventions and established community networks of the Trust to embed cultural provision locally. Having previously been focussed on working solely in the East, the programme has begun to look at working across County Durham. Since it launched, EDC has engaged more than 120,000 local people in creating and leading cultural experience by, for and with the local community.
The Commission We are looking to engage a creative practitioner, artist or organisation to work with people from County Durham on a project inspired by the phrase ‘radical acts of joy’ – a commission to co-create, explore and share small acts of kindness and joy that challenge the current dark times. The Community Panel are particularly interested in commissioning work that focusses on the positive stories and actions that happen in our place and shining a celebratory light upon them and the people behind them. The commission can use any art form but must culminate in an event/s that bring people together in a celebration of joy that includes feeding local people and access to a warm space. In light of the current cost of living crisis applicants are required to include food costs and access to warm spaces for any workshop based activity as well as a contribution to hire of all community spaces. East Durham Creates can advise applicants on appropriate levels of budgeting for this if required and this all depends on the scale and amount of delivery that utilises community spaces. The East Durham Creates team will work with the successful artist / organisation and support them throughout the commission. The contract and payments will be done through East Durham Creates’ lead body – East Durham Trust.