The imagery of maps and travel, individual and collective, tentative and purposeful, threads its way through everything that has been written about Creative People and Places. Echoing the metaphor of discovery and exploration, CPP Directors have voiced a concern that when they first set off on this journey there were no charts to guide them. As, Nick Jones of Transported, explains, ‘There is no GPS for Creative People and Places’.
Despite sharing a sense of common direction and final destination, every programme must be a unique response to a particular place and a distinct topography. The purpose of the journey, however, has been made clear. To develop a sense of agency and empowerment within communities too long neglected by enabling them to shape and determine their, ‘own cultural landscape’ and environment.
Three years into the 21 CPP programmes making their own roads, new maps have inevitably begun to be drawn. They can be found in many of the Creative People and Places evaluations and toolkits. But the wider terrain of power sharing, decision-making, community engagement, and collaborative arts practice in which CPP has ‘chosen to travel’ did not yet feel as though it has been fully captured.
In the continuing spirit of exploration and discovery that has informed the programme, this think piece is not intended as a fixed map of this complex landscape. Instead it offers what I have come to see as a series of ‘trig points’: markers that walkers have trusted to locate them on their journeys for hundreds of years. I hope they might not only provide useful markers for those already engaged in the CPP programme but also for policy makers, funders, artists and arts institutions wanting to set off on a similar voyage.