Community plans

Creative community planning

More than ever local community groups are being encouraged to take control of the future of their own public spaces, presenting ongoing opportunities to emphasise what is important to them about their place. The idea of local distinctiveness is an important one in this respect, the idea that each location has unique attributes, geographical, historical, social and cultural that deserve to be celebrated and created anew for future generations.

Art in public can be a key element of this process, in terms of engaging people in the process of planning and design for their neighbourhood, producing elements of its physical fabric, in architecture, public space, and infrastructure and in making space for rural culture, eg temporary projects and local festivals.

The following is a selection of information, resources and inspiration for developing projects by and for communities that respond to a specific context.  For a discussion of the potential impact of the Localism Bill (essentially a devolvement of some elements of the planning process to community groups) on public art please see the conference page – Wide Open Space: Public art, Localism and rural regeneration and the resulting document Creativity in Community Planning (2013) on the N3 pages.

Neighbourhood planning and design

Pride of Place Toolkit (2006)

The Pride of Place toolkit has been produced to help communities make the most of their local environment – information on turning ideas into action including a section on public art and rural crafts. Other topics range from Trees & Woodlands to Transport and Wildlife.

Art and the Community: What does an Artist bring? (2011)

“public art.. is a tool for community development and social inclusion. A well-managed public art project has the potential to bring communities together, allowing them to make decisions and contribute to the development of the artwork…”

Using national examples Maggie Bolt talks the benefits of developers and communities working together to make their more creative places. From the Wide Open Space workshop programme.

Common Ground (UK)

The website for Common Ground, internationally recognised for playing a unique role in the arts and environmental fields, distinguished by the linking of nature with culture, focusing upon the positive investment people can make in their own localities, championing popular democratic involvement, and by inspiring celebration as a starting point for action to improve the quality of our everyday places. We offer ideas, information and inspiration through publications and projects such as the campaign Local Distinctiveness

Space for rural culture:  artist led temporary projects

Deveron Arts

“Deveron Arts is based in Huntly a 4000 people strong market town in the north east of Scotland. For Deveron Arts the town is the venue: studio, gallery, and stage for a wide range of visual and performing arts. We invite artists from all over the world to live and work in our town to meet with local people and exchange ideas on issues of both local and global concern. For this we use found spaces all over the town and its surrounding area. The artists work from Deveron Arts’ evolving town collection, which is placed in spaces around the town: at a local garage, an estate agent, a pig-farming co-op, the local library and museum, a hotel, the business centre.”

Allenheads Contemporary Arts

Allenheads Contemporary Arts provides opportunities for the development of new ideas and work. Established in 1994 by Alan Smith and Helen Ratcliffe it develops, commissions and presents innovative rural projects, disseminating the results to a wide audience, through web and broadcast projects, publications, symposia and exhibitions.

Grizedale Arts

Grizdale Arts runs a thought-provoking programme of events, projects and residencies that develops the contemporary arts in new directions, away from the romantic and modern assumptions of culture, making artists more useful in this complex and multiple-cultural environment. Based in the English Lake District National Park, Grizedale Arts has neither studios nor exhibition space, but rather provides artists with the opportunity to realise projects using the social, cultural and economic networks of the area and beyond.


An eclectic mix of visual art, text, sound, installation, live art and performance. Artists have explored the island’s heritage, cultural history and local taboos as well as Portland’s special ecology and geology create unique


re:place is a project of Derbyshire Arts Development Group, a curated programme of site-specific contemporary visual arts commissions and installations across Derbyshire from 2008 – 2011. The project includes site-specific commissions, a non-commissioned programme of existing work and support for artist-led projects throughout the county

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