Current & Recent Projects
Sharon is involved in a number of projects across Portsmouth:
Sharon is currently working as a part of a national team drawn from Universities and Community groups 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 all departments. There was a summit in June, which Sharon took part in. You can see it here: http://youtu.be/1riGcPK6gTA
Linked to this, and as a development of the Somerstown Stories project, Sharon is working with the University of Portsmouth, specifically the Creative and Cultural Industries faculty, 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.
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 is due to be published in the autumn 2012
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 will shape 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.