Visual Arts Plymouth

Current stage: Awarded


  • Visuals Arts Plymouth

Collective’s aims and ideas

After 6 successful years of producing the Plymouth Art Weekender (PAW), including making it happen in 2020 under Covid-19 restrictions, Visual Arts Plymouth CIC wants to take the Weekender (PAW) in new directions. PAW is a city-wide celebration of mostly visual arts (including sound, performance, workshops, etc). Consolidating all that we have learned so far, in order to continue we want to create a supported platform for developing the city’s creatives. Annual evaluation has made it clear that a core strength of PAW is the opportunity it offers to grass roots artists at all stages of their career in a way that isn’t offered elsewhere. Through another two years of year-round programming we want to build on this, and create a space for VAP CIC and PAW to situate themselves as sustainable and beneficial entities in the city.

Our main objectives would be to help make Plymouth a place where: creatives can survive and thrive (talent and enterprise development); there is city-wide and community based arts activity and exchange; wide access to resources and opportunities; and wide inclusion and participation; and events, showcases and activities contributing to a vibrant arts scene. These outcomes will contribute to professional development, education, economy, social and cultural inclusion. and wellbeing.

Specifically, we would like to use the funds for:
– Identifying/consulting/researching arts (and other) groups in Plymouth as to what they would like to see/what they can contribute to VAP programs, including PAW.
– Researching and developing new structures for our management and activities, sustainable models and networks (and mapping these to the Plymouth Culture Strategy and objectives of other relevant groups, including POP+)

The issues we specifically want to tackle are:
– diversifying and extending engagement with VAP, and reaching out to individuals, groups and communities that may previously not have seen PAW as for them, through outreach efforts and network building.
– reimagining and strengthening our organisational structure, which is currently entirely volunteer run. We need to broaden the skills and knowledge in our strategic leadership and find ways of compensating volunteers so we can be sustainable.

The funding from this project will have a measurable impact on VAP activities in 2021 – 22 and beyond, with great potential to benefit the wider arts community in Plymouth.

The funding will be used to pay for a VAP coordinator’s time with a focus on researching and implementing management structure and new directions for PAW; a consultation/research role to work with potential collaborators to develop participation and programmes; and funds to support networking and development events (subject to Covid restrictions, but anticipated to be possible in the autumn). These roles will work in tandem to achieve the objectives.

How will they work together to achieve this?

The initial applicants for this bid are the current Directors of VAP CIC, and have worked together for 5 years. We are working together as we have a shared ambition to build on and extend VAP successes and a strong, inclusive ‘arts ecology’ in Plymouth. Additionally, 3 members of VAP strategy group have agreed to support this work.

Dr Lucy Davies (VAP, North Star Study Group)I have extensive event & project/programme management skills ranging from international conferences to small scale gigs, plus public talks, research projects, bid writing, installations & talent development/festival management with VAP. I also have experience of software product management/development, using Agile project management & line management of a development team based remotely. As a HE specialist I have considerable experience in evaluating impact and outcomes from research & engagement activity, and providing training, embedding culture change & understanding of the HE policy and funding landscape. I also have excellent presentation skills, am a confident user of Microsoft Office/Google Suite, plus other project management tools and CMS for the web. I have coding skills in Matlab, Programming, Javascript and am an occasional AV artist and musician. I also love networking and art ligging

Rhys Morgan (VAP, CAMP, TAKE A PART)

Add your strengths and skills
Rhys has a rage of skills and experience in the planning and delivering of arts and community engagement projects in Plymouth. Working as a producer for creative projects like the Plymouth Art Weekender as well as being Take A Part’s Community Realm Producer helping deliver art projects in the community of Coxside. He has good skills at establishing and developing partnerships with other organisations and institutions, and managing partnership relationships.Ellen Sims (VAP, CAMP, PSEN, Wordzoo)

Ellen has many years experience of community based research and organising and delivering training and evaluation in educational, professional and community settings in the arts. She is an active networker and does a range of volunteer work beyond the arts as well as being a Director of VAP, which has led to making many connections that will benefit this project. She is an artist with interests in social issues and education. Good interpersonal and communication skills, naturally nosy and perennially positive.

All of us have diversity, confidentiality, GDPR and Digital skills and knowledge.
Also supporting are:
Dr Stephen Felmingham, Educator, PCA. VAP Activator
Katy Richardson, educator (University of Plymouth) artist and CAMP officer. PAW Marketing Coordinator.VAP Activator
Lucy Rollins, producer and artist. VAP, CAMP, Pollenize. PAW coordinator/producer. Project management. VAP Activator
NB: VAP is a member of POP and PSEN. VAP members represent CAMP, RIO, Nudge, Take A Part, Plymouth Culture, PCA and Marjons, who may be called upon to support this work. We have a track record of working in partnership with these and many other organisations in Plymouth.

During the first round, POP members were asked to advise you. What are your reflections? Have you gained new insight? New partners?

The advice was very helpful. We had a pretty good turn out of advisers (on Zoom) and some good questions re clarification. We are used to having to use a particular language for funding bids (eg to Arts Council) and needed to adjust the language for a wider audience. This helped us clarify and focus our purpose and with whom we would work. As a result, we are already beginning to make contact with potential collaborators.The Community feeling of involvement even at this early stage has helped to develop a sense that we are onto something that will have positive and useful outcomes. It is a wonderful feeling of being connected and also supported.