Back Story

Take A Part are experts in socially engaged audience development for contemporary art.

Since 2008 Take A Part has worked with more than 59 artists on 26 commissions, hundreds of workshops and events, engaged 60,000 people directly and have created work that has been broadcast and been seen city wide by 300,000 audience members.

The Efford community, our heart and home, was registered as the 5th most deprived in Plymouth when Take A Part started its pilot work in 2006. Currently, Efford now ranks as the 12th most deprived area of the city http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/nhpefford.pdf

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History

Take A Part started in 2006 in Efford, Plymouth as a series of pilot projects supporting the area’s regeneration. Engaging residents in contemporary art processes allowed for deep and creative feed into the regeneration of the area and supported the core aims of the Efford Master Plan by supporting health, young people, skills development, access to green space and physical changes to place.

In partnership with Heart of Efford Community Partnership, Plymouth City Council and Plymouth Arts Centre the project continued to grow and in 2009 appointed a Community Curator to deliver a deeper co-commissioning process with the Efford community, supported by an Arts Action Group made up of residents, local businesses, councillors, arts professionals and the local authority.

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Interactive art workshop with Graham Guy-Robinson

The Take A Part process was so highly regarded and successful that in 2011, Take A Part decided to share the ‘Efford experience’ across the city in a series of commissions to develop interest and support new community groups to undertake their own arts initiatives.

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Moving on

From 2009-2011 new projects were devised and delivered in collaboration with residents. Efford FM, Grow Efford, Magic Hour and Crazy Glue were established and the project was embedded in and reflected the local area, its ambitions and the agenda of the Master Plan.

By 2011, the dedication, excitement, skill and enthusiasm of the Efford area was high and the community named themselves “Efford: The Capital of Culture for Plymouth”, and worked to share their process with the rest of the city of Plymouth.

Take A Part piloted work in 3 other communities – Barne Barton, North Prospect and Whitleigh, whilst retaining its core work and grassroots development within Efford. Large scale commissions reflected this stage of work with Nowhereisland Radio, In Praise of Trees, Shed On Wheels and Crazy Glue Does British Art Show 7 all engaging communities city-wide to investigate their communities, engage in art, see something new and think about change.

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Crazy Glue at British Art Show 7, London

We marched, we broadcast, we sculpted, gave tours, listened to people and shared opinions. We created legacy commissions that developed pride and ownership

And now, we are Take A Part CIC. An organisation of curators, artists, community groups, councillors and activists all supporting the need for more and better socially engaged practice.

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Protesting as a part of the Take A Part exhibition ‘Efford the Capital of Culture for Plymouth’

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Our vision and approach

The Take A Part vision is for individuals and communities to be free to identify and realise their creative potential.

Take A Part are a significant socially engaged contemporary arts organisation that works directly with communities in a long-term process of engagement. We work on co-commissioning, co-curating and co-creating work that underpins regeneration initiatives and supports legacy. We work on creative projects with a purpose with communities, to produce socially engaged art that addresses needs and sets agendas.

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‘In Praise of Trees’ Peter Randall-Page commission with the Friends of Ham Woods

Take A Part explores issues around improving health, changing physical environments, providing new skills and opportunities for young people and community cohesion.

Our process is challenging, risk-taking, innovative, alternative, transformative and brings knowledge. We learn from working with artists who are invested in socially engaged practice and by working closely to understand the impacts of our work on the communities we engage with.

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How we work

Take A Part has developed highly regarded methodologies and experienced practice over ten years of work with a wide variety of communities and organisations. We understand the importance of community involvement at all stages of the artistic process, ensuing ownership is strong and value is communicated by participants to wider audiences.

The Take A Part approach is one of co-curating, co-commissioning, consultation and co-creating contemporary art with communities through a process of socially engaged practice.

Our process is inclusive and bespoke, we work at a grass roots level with communities to identify needs, support local agendas and to instigate change and respond to ideas. Our target audience is the whole community and our delivery is steered by communities themselves. We work with local, national and international artists and offer new perspectives and new ways of engaging.

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Crazy Glue deliver ‘Plain Speaking Tours’ at British Art Show 7, Plymouth

Take A Part operates on 3 levels:

Artistic Commissions – Working with key collaborators, stakeholders and investors we develop large scale and risk-taking pieces of work.

Creative Consultation – by invitation from local authorities and community groups we are brought in to interact. These more spontaneous and short-term projects are used to draw attention to issues, undertake consultation and to make art and processes accessible and comfortable as an introduction.

Education and Research – Supporting and collaborating with schools and Further and Higher Education institutions we are able to evidence our work in more measurable ways and support emerging artists to engage with socially engaged work.  We also support arts ecology by supporting mentorship, training and emergent commissions as well as supporting young people in our communities to train, gain skills and consider pathways into contemporary art.

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The Shed On Wheels delivering creative consultation at ‘Love Parks’ week

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Recognition

-Efford’s Building Community Initiative was awarded a Creating Excellence Award in 2010 for the work of involving arts in planning.

-The Grow Efford Project received a Best Food Project award at Flavour Fest in 2011.

-In 2012 we were case studied by Arts Council England as a project of excellence – http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/funded-projects/case-studies/take-part/

-In 2013 Efford’s High View School were awarded Arts Mark Gold Award for the engagement of students in arts and the arts community of Plymouth via working with Take A Part.

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An Efford resident presenting ‘Nowhereisland Radio’ live

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Project highlights

-Nowhereisland Radio – Mark Vernon, Neil Rose, Sophie Hope, Jo Bannon

-Grow Efford – Anne Marie Culhane, Tess Wilmot

-Magic Hour – Hana Backland, Gem Ward

-Shed On Wheels – Anne Marie Culhane, Ruth Ben-Tovim, Belle Benfield, Rufus Maurice

-Efford FM – Sophie Hope, Mark Vernon

-Crazy Glue Does British Art Show 7 – Gill Nicol, Alain Pezard, Graham Guy-Robinson, Hana Backland

-Social making Now and Next- Kim Wide, Beth Richards and Laura Hopes for Take A Part

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Audience at ‘Efford the Capital of culture for Plymouth’

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Our Funders and supporters

Take A Part has worked with a highly diverse and skilled range of partners:

Local Authority (Plymouth City Council)

Further and Higher Education (Plymouth College of Art, University of Plymouth)

Schools (High View, Riverside School, Plymouth School of Creative Art, Whitleigh Primary)

Housing Associations (Affinity Sutton, Plymouth Community Homes, DCH)

Youth Services (Local Youth Centres and Services)

Community Organisations and local businesses (Heart of Efford Community Partnership, Barne Barton Partnership, Stonehouse Action Group)

Community Groups (Time Bank, Friends of Ham Woods, Friends of Kinterbury Creek, Tenants and Residents Associations, Transition Plymouth)

Health Services (Plymouth Community Health Care, Devon and Cornwall Food Association)

Arts Organisations (Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth City Museum and Gallery)

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