producing vital and transformative new work and reaching new audiences. The American art critic Grant Kester describes collaborative practice as the ‘defining practice of our times’ and contends we are in the midst of a paradigm shift towards collaborative processes and methodologies within the arts, influenced in part by globalisation, emerging communication tools and changing political landscapes.

We wish through our commissions to explore how artists fit in with these new social formations, which highlight that artists are not isolated agents, but are part of global movements shaping the world today.

Delivery & Development: We will yyDeliver a minimum of two large-scale collaborative commissions per year

yyEngage artists and communities in the commissioning process

yyEnsure commissions are grounded and supported by year-long research and development programmes

yyProvide context focus: Older People, Digital, Disability and Youth yyRecruit co-commissioning partners – local, national and international yyShare learning and best practice via networks and media


TakeOver sits front and centre of our artistic programme. It is a holistic model of collective working which wholly engages local people, communities and artists as co-producers of works and performance, and which embeds art and artistic practice within the psychology and physical fabric of place. TakeOverFest 2015 saw a sell-out, three-month programme of mixed art-form events. Performances curated by award- winning artist Scottee, ranged from intimate moments to large-scale happenings, utilising everything from the Saints’ rugby stadium to empty shops and disused factories, libraries, parks and even minicabs as venues, bringing a diverse range of renowned and emerging artists including Le Gateau Chocolat, Marisa Carnesky and Hunt & Darton to St Helens. Beyond this three-month programme of activity, and since our inception, our programme has continuously asked ‘who gets to make art?’ and ‘where?’ and so the notion of TakeOver has emerged as a bombastic and ambitious mode of partnership working, and artistic delivery which we wish to take forward.

TakeOver brings new and exciting experiences of artistic excellence to the borough, and offers people the opportunity to engage with art and artistic themes that they are unlikely to have engaged with previously. In working collectively throughout process and performance, we aim to develop artistic practice, build capacity and encourage creative development, using art as a means to explore personal and collective identity and meaning. Through aligning the programme thematically with other partners, for instance, we worked in conjunction with Homotopia in 2015 we are starting to create valuable routes for future co-working and collaboration.

The nature of TakeOver and its reframing of the dialogue between artist and audience is a key driver in audience development. The programme offers the opportunity for people to engage with it as co-curators, co-producers, volunteers, visitors, audience members, observers or passers-by, and to mix-and-match those options at will. This approach, and exposure of all of those categories to mixed art forms from diverse artists is a subtle, but cumulative and effective development strategy, which both empowers the individual and supports them on their journey.

We are keen to challenge assumptions about who gets to make art and where, and our intention is to build the TakeOver programme in the short and medium term by further testing boundaries and barriers to explore new models of process, practice

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