The Creative Voucher scheme enabled small and medium sized businesses to partner with an arts & humanities-based researcher from one of Creativeworks London’s partner institutions. This section shows all of the projects that we have supported. More information about the scheme can be found here.

Creative Voucher Scheme

Arcola Theatre Production Company and City University London

SME Partner

Dr Ben Todd, Arcola Theatre Production Company

Academic Partner

Dr Amanda Brown, Professor Steve Cottrell (principal investigator) and Dr Sara Jones (co-investigator), City University London

Project Title

Arcola Local

Project Description

The Arcola Theatre Production Company is a Dalston based culture anchor for the area’s diverse communities. In one of London’s most deprived spots it is a pivotal point that must simultaneously serve its established audiences whilst adapting to gentrification and the new audiences this brings with it.

The collaboration with staff at City University London set out to maintain and develop the theatre’s connections with its local community, re-engaging with people and reinforcing it as a local offering, whilst meshing into wider audiences via a sustainable place-based marketing strategy. In order to achieve this the project set out to develop a new strand of work, Arcola Local, which would focus on collecting user generated content in order to deepen engagement and establish a baseline historical understanding of Arcola and its role in the community.

In aid of the task City University designed and facilitated a strategic audience engagement plan consisting of two strands. Firstly they conducted eight oral history interviews with selected members of Arcola community groups. Secondly they worked with 18 – 25 year olds tasking them to create 60 second videos detailing their own thoughts and reflections on the theatre. The short videos were later montaged together into single piece reflecting a range of interpretations. A video documenting the project has also been produced.

The project allowed the theatre to re-discover the Arcola story by stitching together personal memories and reflections, effectively it help uncover the ‘Arcola spirit’. The research carried out has assisted in refining Arcola’s understanding of its relationship with the local community and City University has helped devise a new strategic business plan.

Since the collaboration the opportunity for a City University internship at Arcola has been discussed and the partnership has looked into additional funding sources to carry on their work together. Based on the work carried out with City University Arcola is planning a fifteen year anniversary celebration driven by an expanded implementation of the ideas, tools and approaches devised via the project.

Queen Mary - University of London
Arts & Humanities Research Council
European Union
London Fusion

Creativeworks London is one of four Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to develop strategic partnerships with creative businesses and cultural organisations, to strengthen and diversify their collaborative research activities and increase the number of arts and humanities researchers actively engaged in research-based knowledge exchange.