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Prof Paul Haywood, Principal Investigator.

Secret Gardens Festival of Mass Narrative

The Secret Gardens Festival of Mass Narrative

7-23 June 2012, Salford, Trafford and The Quays

Secret Gardens Festival intended to capture the quality and breadth of the creative agora that spreads across two urban authorities and highlighted those citizen-led cultural endeavours that sustain daily innovations and social interactions in localised communities. The mass action combined the resources of 35 local organizations in the production of 50 distinct public events over two weeks culminating in a digital show case at MediaCityUK with support from the RCUK funded Framework for Innovation and Research at MediaCIty (FIRM). The main drive came from individuals living in complex neighbourhoods and areas of multiple deprivations where impacts from accrued negative public reputation are most acute. There was a combined will to promote the positive value of those territories and co-ordinate a temporary network to maximize value from sharing low cost creative engagements.

Evidence was presented at the 8th International Conference on the Arts in Society, 2013, and debated at the International Conference on Personal Learning Environments, 2013, and at the International Workshop: New Century Cities, 2012. A reflective essay has been published by the Manchester Local Interaction Platform, part of MISTRA Urban Futures; ‘Arts and Urban Sustainability’. It is supplying case study material for a Communities, Cultures and Creative Economies project; ‘Cultural intermediation: connecting communities in the creative urban economy.’ Lessons are informing an ESRC Knowledge Exchange and Joseph Rowntree funded project, ‘Comm-UNI-ty: A Community University for Study and Action on Power and Participation’. Locally, the Festival has spawned the Creative Citizens Network and learning is being applied to an EU URBACT 2 funded Attractive and Cohesive Cities Exchange and Learning network.