PCEP Forum 4: What is co-creation? (and why does it matter?)

What went on?

The fourth in a series of quarterly events being piloted by Plymouth Cultural Education Partnership took place on November 3rd at The Barbican Theatre.

The event:
Hosted at The Barbican Theatre, Forum 4 shared and reflected the importance of co-creation in Cultural Education.  Not just an after thought or a tag on but an active way of designing, developing and running projects; we heard from four excellent organisations/projects that have been working in creative ways and
putting co-creation practices at the heart of their work.  

We were joined by:
With Flying Colours: Who shared three different models for co-creation within their project, reflecting on the pros and cons of each of the approaches and why they have been beneficial for their project (both in terms of the artists involved, teachers and children too) They also shared with us some amazing statistics around their work.  You can check out their presentation here.

Fotonow: Shared with us their general approaches and ethos before delving more deeply into their Unlocked programme which works with young people, supporting them to connect to the many exciting creative and training opportunities in the city.  Alongside Emma from Fotonow we were lucky enough to be joined by Unlocked member Layla who was able to offer us her perspective on being involved in a co-created project and the benefits she felt the programme and its approaches had for her and for her peers.  You can check out their presentation slides here.

Effervescent: We were joined by Ellie from Effervescent who took us on a journey to understand the deep, long term way that Effervescent co-create with young people to develop bespoke marketing.  She shared some wonderful insight into approaches to co-creation as well as some excellent links and case studies.  You can see some links here.(presentation info is currently embargoed, but do contact Ellie if you’d like to know more about her work)

The Barbican Theatre: Shared their approaches to co-creation within their work and classes that were shaped, challenged and developed over, and following, the covid-19 pandemic and have continued to be used and developed.  As well as sharing hindsight on what has happened they also shared with us information on their new Flourish programme; a long form co-creation project working towards a production by a small group of 18- 21 year olds.  And we heard from Julius, a young person on the programme, on how co-creation has supported, and continues to support, his involvement with the organisation.  You can see the Barbican’s presentation here.  

We then asked those attending to consider and share thoughts on these two things:

What do you want to see from co-creation?

Best tips and practice for co-creation?

You click here check out the two jam boards with the responses.

The event was packed full of interesting models, theories and practice, hugest thanks to the team at The Barbican Theatre for hosting us so beautifully!

Couldn’t be there? Watch a recording of the event here.

So what’s next?
With event 4 our pilot year for the forums comes to an end, however, we are pleased to share that partners within the PCEP have offered a further year of support to enable a second year of forum events to take place.  We’ll be in touch towards the end of the year to share everything we’ve uncovered and learned in the pilot year.  We’ll also share the date for the first forum for 2023 in the coming months, so do keep an eye out for our emails  and thanks for supporting this important work for Plymouth!

The hosts:
The event is hosted by Plymouth Cultural Education Partnership (PCEP): a strategic collaboration between cultural, educational, community and youth organisations across the city.  PCEP seeks to address inequality in Plymouth by ensuring all children and young people have access to a high quality arts and cultural education offer that responds to their needs.  The PCEP Strategic Objectives are to improve quantity, quality and access to cultural education for children and young people.


*For the purpose of these events we are defining ‘Cultural Education’ as any activity delivered by organisations, individuals, schools, educators that connects with young people and encourage creativity, creative thinking and a creative output in any form (painting, sculpture, dance, theatre, craft, music…)