“Community” is at the heart of our ethos – and we pride ourselves on engaging people of all ages in their own creativity – so we have a proud and long track record of designing and delivering tailor-made Family Friendly and Community Engagement programmes for a range of partners.

Working with Culture Liverpool, we have developed family friendly arts activities for the Liverpool International Music Festival since it began in 2013. And although we deliberately design activities that large numbers of people will be able to participate in, we make sure that we adhere to our three “Family Friendly Aims”: to enable participants (young and old) to leave with both new skills and a piece of art that they’re proud of. This means that quantity and quality don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Each year we develop new activities to tie in with the festival’s themes – and 2015 saw us helping hundreds of families make their own drums, rainsticks and everlasting lolly ices. We also supported children and young people as they created a giant artwork to be installed at Liverpool John Lennon airport. Also with Culture Liverpool, we’ve provided family friendly “making” workshops at every International River Mersey Festival since 2011 and the 2013 Battle of the Atlantic commemorations. Once again, we’ve come up with new “makes” each time – including pirate puppets, model boats and aquaria!

The last two midsummer weekends have seen us delivering children’s workshops at the Also Festival in Warwickshire. Also describes itself as a “Festival with Ideas” – and our activities have always borne this in mind. So far we’ve delivered poetry-writing workshops, helped children create beautiful birds – and explored the tragedy of Icarus through drama. So we can’t wait to hear the theme for 2016!

Talking of “themes”, we’ve ensured we’ve tied into the themes of Liverpool’s Light Night celebrations ever since we got involved, back in 2012. And we also always have two activities running in parallel – one of which sees an original piece of artwork growing and developing over seven hours. The 2015 theme was “Towards a New World” – and in an astonishingly popular activity which far surpassed our wildest expectations, participants created buildings and other landmarks for the city we all dream of for the future – a city representing our hopes for our city and cities.

And our very own mathematical pirate, Captain Richard Morgan also gets the chance to run family friendly activities – as he’s been present at Liverpool Maritime Museum’ annual Pirate Weekends since 2012, weaving maps and Maths into his tales of derring-do on the High Seas!

If you’d like to explore how as creatives could support your festival please get in touch! info@as-creatives.com

We’ve also used our experiences and expertise in developing bespoke community engagement programmes – including …

High Hopes for the Flyover … Friends of the Flyover is an award-winning collaborative seeking to learn from New York’s High Line in transforming a soon-to-defunct inner city roadway into a vibrant and ever-evolving space that involves the local community in art, music, food – and relaxation. They recognise, though, the importance of working with the local community, so on a Sunday when the road was closed to traffic, we asked pedestrians, pram-pushers, joggers and cyclists to decorate beautifully drawn trees with their hopes for the flyover.

Thinking Back, Looking Forward … A collaboration with the NHS, Culture Liverpool, Liverpool National Museums and the city’s historic St George’s Hall as we curated a major exhibition bringing together under one roof the fruits of collaborations between twenty six community groups and twenty six artists or arts organisations – all seeking to use art to promote health. This astonishing piece of work was housed in the catacombs of St George’s Hall – with the additional outcome that this little-known space was “discovered” by more than 3,000 people over the short period that the exhibition was on.

The Energy Game … Having installed new heating systems in their stock, Knowsley-based Villages Housing wanted to alert its tenants to the values of energy-efficient (and thus cost-efficient) living – and asked us to consult a range of different local “communities” about the best ways of doing this. We spoke first of all with a group of “Community Champion” residents – who decided that a board game would be a great way of engaging families with the message. We then worked with Year 6 pupils in four local primary schools to design and then test the game itself – which, after being brought to life by renowned author and illustrator Kate Pankhurst, was widely distributed.

The Forest of Dreams … Having embarked on a major programme of building new schools, the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley discovered that residents in one particular area weren’t, in fact, very keen on the ramifications of having a new school amongst them. So we were brought in by Transform Schools and Balfour Beatty to provide a platform for residents to air their views – and to hear others. This long term programme culminated in The Forest of Dreams, an installation comprising nine giant, 3D cardboard trees, each one covered in a specially-commissioned wallpaper featuring the true thoughts, in both words and images (and in the original script) of people, young and old, representing the whole spectrum of opinions. After the exhibition ended, the trees were donated to schools and community organisations – and you can see a short film about the process here 

If you’d like to discuss ways that as creatives could design and deliver a community engagement programme please contact Jo Stokes, Director of Family and Community Engagement; j.stokes@as-creatives.com, o151 708 8886.


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