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Great Place: Lakes and Dales appoints national research agency

[G]reat Place: Lakes and Dales has commissioned The Audience Agency to conduct a six month in depth research study to help ascertain and understand the perceptions of younger people towards living and working in the Craven and South Lakeland areas.

After an intensive and comprehensive procurement process, The Audience Agency were selected based on their collaborative multi partner approach and creative proposals to engage younger people coupled with robust mixed methodologies and access to existing audience data.

The Audience Agency, which specialises in cultural research and consultancy and has worked on a wide range of rural place based research commissions including rural Creative People and Places projects and the ongoing Audience Finder project, will be leading an expert and specialist team of researchers.

They have joined up with MB Associates in Kendal, industry leaders in social impact and wellbeing evaluation and The Beatfreeks Collective project DOINK the do and think tank, a creative engagement agency and experts in young people led research.

Penny Mills, Consultancy Director at The Audience Agency said; “The Audience Agency is delighted to be supporting this project and to be able to deliver genuine actionable research and consultation along with partners MB Associates and DOINK the do and think tank. We are looking forward to conversations with younger residents, workers and visitors to the area to understand their relationship to the environment, where they see opportunity and how creativity fits into their lives.  Using the research to paint a rich picture will enable the project to deliver a programme which celebrates the distinctiveness of this Great Place and its people now and for the future.”

Mandy Barnett of MB Associates said; “As a local company, our enthusiasm for this work is personal as well as professional.  Lakes and Dales feels like a once in a decade opportunity to focus on what makes life special in this area, and how we can make it work better for young people.  There is a reason why the area, with its immense natural beauty, was a home to the Arts and Crafts movement.  Building on this heritage but with all the advantages of today’s digital world provides a wealth of opportunity.  The long term impact on the social and cultural economy could be huge.”

The preliminary findings are expected at the end of July with the full results to be announced and published at a ‘one year on’ Great Place: Lakes and Dales stakeholder event planned for October 2018.

Rick Faulkner, Executive Director at Chrysalis Arts and Great Place: Lakes and Dales Creative Board member said; “Great Place: Lakes and Dales is delighted to have appointed such a highly experienced and reputable national agency whose roots are in the north. Their collaborative delivery and range of inspiring and creative methodologies using younger people to engage our audiences will be key to unlocking their perceptions.

We really need to understand not only what these younger people think of our Great Place but also how they engage with it. We are confident that The Audience Agency working with a locally based and also a youth oriented agency will help us find out.”

Great Place: Lakes and Dales is one of 16 pilot projects in England funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England and is focused on the rural corridor linking Skipton in the south and Grasmere in the north, including the market towns and rural hinterlands, extending into both the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks.

Managed via the Consortium of Partnership Organisations, which is made up of additional funding partners including Craven District Council (lead authority), South Lakeland District Council, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Lake District National Park Authority, a Creative Board which includes additional cultural organisations, manages the strategic delivery.

The programme is funded from August 2017 – March 2020 and its main purpose is to understand the reasons for fewer 16 – 34 year olds than the national average living and working in the area and seek to address them, using arts, heritage and culture as the catalyst for economic, social and environmental change.

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