Current & Recent Projects
Sharon is involved in a number of projects across Portsmouth and further afield:
UK Community Partner Network (UKCPN)
Sharon is currently serving on a working party drawn from community groups and practitioners across the UK, who seek to promote and strengthen university and community partnerships. Some universities already do this kind of partnership work well, others haven’t yet engaged with it and others still are seeking to engage, but the work is patchy and not yet consistent across the whole institution. The UKCPN is being funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is supported by the National Centre for Coordinating Public Engagement and the University of Brighton’s CUPP scheme (Community and University Partnership Project). A summit was held in June 2012, which Sharon took part in. You can see it here: http://youtu.be/1riGcPK6gTA
Since then the project has received a second grant from the AHRC and the UKCPN continues to develop. Sharon represented the UKCPN in her role as a member of the working party at two key international conferences: at GUNI in May 2013 in Barcelona and at CUExpo in June 2013 in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.
Sharon continues to be involved in this emerging work and is part of the planning team for the next summit event which will take place in Sept 2013.
University of Portsmouth – community engagement
Linked to her work with the UKCPN, and as a development of the Somerstown Stories project, Sharon is working with the University of Portsmouth, specifically the Creative and Cultural Industries faculty (CCi), who will moving into a newly extended building on the edge of Somerstown. The University has a a desire and a vision for strengthening its links with Somerstown, and Sharon has been commissioned to explore any new possibilities arising out of the Somerstown Stories work and the networks that have been developed there.
Portsmouth Deanery Further Education Chaplaincy Project
Sharon is working with staff and students from Portsmouth and Highbury colleges as well as clergy and laity from Portsmouth Deanery to help devise a Chaplaincy service for the colleges. The Deanery team were conscious that they were not offering a substantial spiritual and pastoral resource to either Portsmouth or Highbury college, so they worked to secure funding to undertake research into how such a service could be provided. Sharon works for approximately two days a week on this project, offering research, project development and youthwork skills as she spends time in Portsmouth College getting to know the students and staff and devising ways to meet their spiritual and pastoral needs.
Find out more here: www.fechaplaincy.wordpress.com
Somerstown Central – community arts & heritage funding bid
Sharon has been commissioned by Portsmouth City Council’s Housing team to research and prepare a funding bid for the new Somerstown Central community facility, which is currently under construction in the heart of the city. Part of the original plan for this new space was to have community arts projects, in order to help the local residents feel more connected and engaged with the building and its facilities.
Building on her work with Somerstown Stories, Sharon will be writing a bid for the Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Sharing Heritage’ programme, with the aim of raising funds to not only incorporate some of the historic materials from the Somerstown Stories project, but also to develop community arts heritage projects which will be collaboratively planned and delivered with users of the building, so that it really does bear their mark and share the story of their area.
North End Playscheme – management team and storytelling
Sharon returned to the planning and stage teams for North End Playscheme after a few years break, whilst her children were very small. As part of a team of volunteers, Sharon has helped to plan and resource this week-long summer activity scheme for 5-10 year olds, which in 2013 had been running for twenty years! Sharon and her husband Adam re-formed their stage team and helped maintain the children and leaders’ energy and enthusiasm through games, challenges and all-round silliness!
The theme for Playscheme in 2013 was ‘Narnia’ and Sharon devised an original story based in the Narnia world, but set in-between ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ and ‘Prince Caspian’ books. The stories were told in an interactive-performance style and thoroughly enjoyed by children and adults alike!
Find out more here: www.facebook.com/northendplayscheme
Storytelling Club, Stamshaw Infants School
A 5 week after-school club which offered a variety of activities aimed at developing storytelling and writing skills. These included storyboarding, drama, music, Story Cubes (c) and Story Pegs.
The children who took part wrote and illustrated their own original story, which was compiled into an anthology: ‘The Story Chest’. Each child received a full-colour copy of the book to keep.
Sharon was one of a team of former CP Creative Agents who carried out the Dysarticulate project across Portsmouth. Dysarticulate was a Cultural Olympiad project which involved creating a temporary installation of flags made from the pages of recycled books. The purpose was to engage children with the issues around Dyslexia and how we communicate with each other through text and speech. Sharon worked with five school in total, and photos of the work produced can be found here:
Somerstown Stories www.somerstown-stories.org.uk
This is a local heritage project that began life as a scheme of work in Somers Park Primary School, in Somerstown but has now expanded to include the wider community.
The projects launched in the school in September 2011, with a six-week scheme of work looking at the Somerstown locality from 1800s-1970s, which includes World War II and the significant effect that had on the area. Following extensive bomb damage the local authority, like many across the UK, decided on a slum clearance and regeneration scheme, which resulted in the area we know today.
Somerstown is now in a process of phased re-development, and it is timely for a number of groups and organisations to look back at their history and the shaping of the area, in order to prepare to look forward.
The children looked at topics such as toys & games, work & industry, music, cinema, clothes and family life during that period, and as much as possible these topics will be linked directly to historical artefacts and resources from Somerstown itself.
Following on from that, a wide variety of events and activities have taken place in venues and centres across the area between January and July 2012, including:
- a mobile exhibition of maps & photographs,
- archive film screenings,
- Events at The Brook Club, Sure Start, Omega Centre, Wilmcote House, St Peter’s Church and Southsea Community Centre
- the Somerstown Roadshow with special guest Michelle Magorian
- Collaborations with the University of Portsmouth: Creative & Performing Arts students devised and performed a piece based on oral histories of the area; the School of Architecture ran a charette (workshop) for Charter Academy students using architectural approaches to addressing the spacial challenges in Somerstown
- The Museum of Somerstown, a temporary exhibition in an empty shop in Somerstown
- A book: Somerstown Stories, which was released in January 2013
We were successful in our bid to secure funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which enabled the wider community work to go ahead. Sharon has been the only paid person on the project, but with successful partnership working, a huge amount of work has been accomplished across the area.
Bounce & Rhyme Time, North End Library
Sharon has been volunteering for North End library for almost 3 years as a Bounce & Rhyme Time session leader. Working with the library staff, Sharon leads the sessions on a roughly fortnightly basis, preparing detailed session notes (which the library staff can re-use) and handout for parents.
Fratton – Big Local Trust
Fratton is one of the first 50 areas across the country to be accepted on to the Big Lottery’s Big Local Funding programme. Fratton ward will receive £1m over a ten year period, which will be administrated by an independent Trust being set-up specifically to manage this funding. Whilst this money would not be sufficient to create a new building, it could be potentially ideal to support long-term funding of smaller projects, which often struggle without consistent income streams.
Sharon’s role was to co-ordinate the initial consultation phase that shaped the priority areas for the Trust. Part of the strategy for this included recruiting and training local volunteers to equip them with the skills and understanding of what makes a successful and sustainable community.
For two years Sharon worked as part of a team of Creative Agents for Creative Partnerships at the University of Portsmouth. Funded by the Arts Council this programme involved bringing creative practitioners (artists, scientists, architects, dancers…whomever has the right skills!) into school to work alongside teachers and students to make the curriculum more exciting and engaging.
As a Creative Agent, Sharon worked alongside students, teachers and practitioners to help them develop the project, broker the best practitioners for the school context, help plan and manage the budget and also carry out all the assessment and evaluation work. During this time Sharon worked with four schools across Portsmouth, of both primary and secondary age range.
As a result of Government spending cuts, the Creative Partnerships programme was closed at the end of July 2011. However with some legacy funding Sharon and her colleagues are still working with local schools through the Dysarticulate project, which is part of the Cultural Olympiad.
During its nine year life span, the Creative Partnerships programme nationally worked with 1.3 million children, over18,000 schools and 120,000 teachers, delivering more than 8,000 programmes in England since 2002. A report from the National Foundation for Educational Research (2006), stated that young people who attended Creative Partnerships activities made, on average the equivalent of 2.5 grades better progress in GCSE examinations. An independent study by Price Waterhouse Cooper LLP (2010) also revealed that Creative Partnerships is expected to generate nearly £4 billion netpositive benefit for the UK economy. This is the equivalent of £15.30 of economic benefits for every £1 of investment.