We champion the core values of Arts Council England's 'Let's Create' Strategy, the wide diversity of the people we work with is authentically and compassionately reflected in our programme and in the artwork created.
People Express’ main purpose is to address the geographic, social and economic barriers that prevent sections of communities from taking part in England’s rich, varied and ‘life affirming’ cultural life. The cultural provision we provide is co-designed, shaped and responds to both the barriers and aspirations of the groups we work with.
Our projects create new permanent works of art in village settings that celebrate the contribution of the working class to the industrial and cultural heritage, we engage older people in, not only attending workshops, but making and exhibiting their own artwork, we support autistic adults and young people in supported housing to take part in projects that they themselves have created.
Young people use their time with us on their University applications, predominantly white schools win awards for their culturally diverse arts projects and report back to us that ‘the whole school and everyone in it feels different’. All these experiences are examples of deeper level engagement that can have a lasting, and at times, life changing impact.
The well-being and resilience of the communities we worked with is intrinsically linked to the core of our work. In responding, adapting and evolving to meet the challenges of the next decade we will be ensuring that we take our communities with us on this journey, and that no community is left behind.
To continually challenge ourselves to improve quality and increase our ambition we support the groups we work with to become our honest and forthright critical friends. Using ongoing debates around quality in all our projects, groups have built up their own quality standards and high expectations for participatory work. We also build relationships with specialist NPOs, artists and curators to support us to identify and benchmark ‘quality’ across a wide range of art forms.
As a relatively small organisation we need to be strategic in the way we support the fight against climate change to achieve the most impact. We are supporting communities to save, protect and enhance green spaces and aim to become ‘single use plastic’ free.