52 WEEKS FESTIVAL – Project Update – JUNE 2020

In January we received a grant from ACE for research & development for the 52 WEEKS FESTIVAL, the current crisis has thrown up new challenges but we have detailed below our progress to date. We hope the prospect of the 52 WEEKS FESTIVAL in 2022/2023 will be a source of optimism for everyone involved in arts & culture in Derbyshire. We value your feedback please send comments to Sharon Brown at melbfest-sharon@live.co.uk

Deliverable 1: Branding design & website At the meeting on 31st January we agreed that name should be changed from County of Culture. After much deliberation 52 WEEKS FESTIVAL was agreed on as the new name and the domain name 52weeksfestival.co.uk has been purchased. The logo and branding are now finalised using the colours of the Derbyshire Flag and we have rolled this out across social media platforms, and a simple website launched mid-June. The website www.52weeksfestival.co.uk will remain in place as an information point until a fully functional website is required (with interactive tools/searchable programme of events/ticket booking system, etc.,) in phase 2 of the project. 

Deliverable 2: Mapping activity The survey has been distributed widely and over 300 responses have been received from individuals and organisations delivering creative and cultural activities across Derbyshire. We have had support from many organisations in spreading the word among their networks. Responses are being collated and plotted using mapping tools. This exercise is as much about ENGAGEMENT and RAISING AWARENESS as it is about data gathering. Our target is 1000+ based on 2500 artists and organisations on the old Arts Derbyshire website. We need YOU to COMPLETE SURVEY HERE and reach out to other artists, organisations and venues by circulating the survey to help to identify organisations who wish to get involved. Thank you!

Deliverable 3: Creative Consultation This element of the project has had to be revised substantially in response to COVID-19 restrictions. The original plan was to deliver Artist Assemblies as large events in 3 locations across the county, together with some pop-up public consultations - Culture Bombing - activity later in the summer. These activities will not be possible within the required project timescales and the alternative plan will involve a form of Artist Assembly delivered through Zoom. The potential benefit of this alternative activity is the opportunity to reach a wider audience (who may have been disinclined to travel, or restricted by work commitments) and to engage more individuals and organisations to support delivery of this activity.

Deliverable 4: Project Plan Development We have developed an initial project plan, approved by Pauline Latham MP. In light of the COVID-19 crisis we will contact the Arts Council to lay out our revised plan for the R&D phase (essentially delivering activity online rather than face to face). It is anticipated that Phase 3 of the project (i.e. delivery of 52 WEEKS in May 22 – May 23) will be a really positive focus for the county, coming out of current restrictions. Phase 2 of the project (i.e. the planning, programming and development period between October 2020 and May 2022) remains the most uncertain, and will need to adapt and respond as restrictions are lifted, taking into account the situation in which individuals, organisations, businesses and communities find themselves. We need to plan to be flexible and are developing various options and ideas. 


Looking ahead to Phase 2 and 3

a. Funding strategy going forwards: There are challenges and opportunities associated with the funding landscape in response to COVID-19. Many of the funding streams we would have naturally approached have been suspended, although with emergency funding opening up this introduces additional avenues for Phase 2. We will ensure that we’re ready to approach appropriate funders as and when opportunities arise. Arts Council, National Lottery Community Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund remain primary targets for major contributions to the total project funding.

b. 52 WEEKS FESTIVAL as a legal entity The current ACE Funding is held by University of Derby. Victoria Barker who represented the University on 52 WEEKS FESTIVAL committee has left and staff are all working from home. It has been agreed that establishing 52 WEEKS FESTIVAL as a legal entity that can apply for and hold funding in its own right is important. 

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