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Our UNION 19 programme was designed as a pilot. We spend time defining and developing the concept, putting a delivery team together, and finding the right people to be part of the programme. Even the funding for the programme, from the Arts Council of England and from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s ‘Explore and Test’ fund was given on the basis that we were trying out something new.

We made sure to gather lots of data and evidence about the programme as we went along and had an external consultant, Gerri Moriarty, to help us shape our approach to evaluation. She concluded her report to Paul Hamlyn:

“The programme has clearly been very successful and now that it has enabled an approach to support the development of the next generation of community artists to be mapped out and implemented, it should be continued and developed further.”

If you would like to read the full evaluation report then you can download it in full as a pdf 

We have learnt so much from developing UNION 19. Some of the core principles that we plan to take into our work are as follows:

  • We create learning outside of people’s everyday working lives and provide them with the support they need to make that happen
  • Mixing up things creates learning: different places; different training inputs and styles; truly diverse groups
  • Co-designing our programmes means that we won’t know what will happen (the syllabus) before the group has formed. And that means true ownership of the programme and the ability to respond to the needs and desires of the group
  • We believe in putting individual coaching or one-to-one sessions alongside the group programme because that allows each person to define their own learning journey
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