Open Access awards round 2 - Bearwood Street Festival 2019

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We are Bearwood are a voluntary organisation that runs events and activities, often arts based, that aim to improve community well-being and connections in the area of Bearwood and Smethwick in Sandwell.

Bearwood Street Festival 2019, seeks to celebrate the ways in which we come together and provide a platform for local and regional artists to showcase their talents through this year’s festival theme of Borderlands.

We Are Bearwood is open to all in our community, seeking to create and deepen collaboration between artists, traders and residents in for events and social action that brings out the best in Bearwood. Over the last few years, we have organised a number of successful arts events in Bearwood including the first ever street festival in 2017, Window Wanderland and artist-led workshops in ceramics, singing and crafts.

Bearwood Street Festival returns this year, building on the experience and expertise of the inaugural festival that took place in 2017. For the second festival, in June 2019, we want to focus more on participation and co-creation between locals and professional artists. Our aims are:

·         To connect people together to share their diverse cultural histories through art

·         To develop understanding of common histories

·         To encourage participation and develop skills in diverse artforms, facilitated by professional artists

 What We Are Bearwood will do with their award

With the support of CBC, the festival committee will commission professional artists to deliver workshops in community settings, taking place over four months prior to the festival. Artists have designed workshops to reflect on themes of identity, local history and diversity; capturing ideas through oral history interviews, poetry, game design and creation of community artwork. These activities will ensure the festival is not just about one day, but that local people create the festival itself. This extra funding will ensure we can reach a very wide target audience - this is central to our inclusive approach to community development and ensuring that the arts is for all and with all.

The workshops will result in a number of highly engaging art activities to be delivered on the day of the festival, including:

·         a multi-sensory, multi-artform promenade performance telling a tale of Bearwood weaved from the oral history interviews by neurodiverse theatre company Spectra

·         a community picnic with a giant patchwork picnic blanket crafted by local residents and depicting reflections on Bearwood, facilitated by artist Emma Blundell

·         performances of original poetry, sharing stories of belonging, developed through poetry workshops with young people led by Amerah Saleh

·         a scavenger hunt style game co-designed with Bearwood residents and based on characters and scenarios developed in workshops, by arts organisation Ampersand.


“I would just like to say again what an absolute pleasure it was to be part of the Bearwood Street Festival. […] People of all faiths, ethnicities, ages and backgrounds dancing and singing in the street.” - Rhino and The Ranters (2017 performers)

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We are Bearwood’s Street Festival takes place on the 9th June.