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Creative Places

Creative Places

Place-based work

Working across the region, we will be activating creative projects in collaboration with artists, communities and partners in a year-round place-based approach. Each of these will bring artists and communities into closer contact, helping make our part of the world a better place to live, work and play.

We will deliver this through a variety of ways included funded residencies for artists to research and develop projects with local communities and to build relationships with local partners.

Work is underway! We are currently supporting award-winning choreographer, theatre and filmmaker, Dan Canham on a project with schools and communities in Fenland, while Dot Howard and Sorrel Muggridge are developing a traveling collection of palm-sized artifacts which they will use to inspire communities in Norfolk to create a new large-scale public artwork. Find out a little more about both projects below.


Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Norfolk Wildlife Trust are proud to announce a new project for Sweet Briar Marshes in Norwich. Nature Connects Us builds on Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s previous partnership with Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the Common Ground project, where we offered opportunities for young people to develop creative interpretations for built and natural heritage sites in the East of England.

This new place-based partnership continues to drive our mutual goals to connect urban communities with local nature and to promote social and ecological responsibility.

Kinship, a new poetry and sound project celebrating Sweet Briar Marshes, is 2024’s Nature Connects Us commission. From February to May, writer Daisy Henwood and musician Milly Hirst will collaborate with young people and their communities to explore how we relate to nature.

Listen to Kinship here

This project is part of a wider programme of work we are delivering in partnership with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust who purchased Sweet Briar Marshes in September 2022. The purchase of this land provides the opportunity to protect and restore its biodiversity and enhance it for people – to inspire them to care and act for nature. 

Anna McCarthy, Head of Festival Connect & Create, said:

“Norfolk and Norwich Festival is absolutely delighted to be working with Norfolk Wildlife Trust as part of a long-term partnership using the power of the arts to forge meaningful relationships with the places and people on our doorsteps. Inspiring and supporting communities to connect with natural spaces has never been more critical; Nature Connects Us and On Our Doorsteps employ the magic of the arts to help us to imagine futures to thrive in and to fully realise the interdependency of our collective wellbeing.”

Dan Canham – A Fenland residency

October 2023

Our Creative Places work supports artists to develop projects with communities across the region. Residencies offer artists time and space to expand their practice and explore ideas for projects they might develop with us. Supported by Festival Connect & Create, dancer and choreographer Dan Canham has been spending time in the Fenlands meeting young people who have strong connections to dance/movement and place.

Re-discovering the landscape of his childhood, in 2023 Dan embarked on a series of meetings and workshops and open up an unexpected encounter. When Babylon Arts introduced Dan to Katie Boag and Ash Goosey – two krump dancers from the Ely area – they collaborated on a short film that resonates profoundly with many of the themes he went into the residency with – young people, landscape, climate grief and ritual. The film will be premiered at Norfolk & Norwich Festival in May 2024.

This residency uncovered themes and issues that Dan is keen to pursue exploring with the support of Festival Connect & Create in 2024 an 2025 – from a lack of public transport to problems faced by the community’s young people. A valuable opportunity for artists, residencies like this offer a chance to get under the skin of a place before embarking on a project.

“To have the time and space to build relationships, to learn what is already in place in the area and to trial experiments has been of immense value and has ultimately allowed for the conditions for richer work to occur” Dan Canham

Dot Howard & Sorrel Muggridge - A Handful of Time

Following on from artists Dot Howard and Sorrel Muggridge three week residency across Norfolk libraries in 2023, we are excited to announce their project Handful of Time will be travelling to libraries across West Norfolk in May 2024 with generous support from the Norfolk Community Foundation. They will also be taking part in the Welcome Weekend at this year’s Festival in the Guildhall.

A Handful of Time invites participants to create small artworks or ‘artefacts’ with locally sourced clay; each artefact is unique and personal to the participant making it. Dot and Sorrel have used the libraries as a base to present the work and to engage the network of communities that utilise the libraries.

In 2023, more than 100 people participated in creating their own artefacts, connecting with people from eleven months to 80+. The library settings also enabled different levels of participation, from supported one-to-one sessions, to groups and independent participation. We are looking forward to seeing more people connect to the work and each other.

Anna McCarthy, Head of Connect & Create, had this to say on participating in the project:

“It was amazing how evocative picking up other people’s imprints in clay was – it whispered belonging and intimacy along with a sense of the eternal; it was incredibly reassuring and Moore-ish in more ways than one.”

The residency has allowed the artists the vital time needed to experiment and develop the project without impending deadlines. Through the process, they were able to develop the delivery; from the way they source and prepare their clay, to the way they approach and engage participants in different community spaces.


Dates for Handful of Time in May
Hunstanton library: 2-10 May
NNF24 Welcome Weekend: 11-12 May – Guildhall
Downham Market library: 14-21 May
Dersingham library: 21 May – 4 June

Supported by Norfolk Community Foundation through the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Small Grants Scheme

Visit the Handful of Time website 


Masthead: Kerry Bensley | Dan Canham

Arts make life better

Norfolk & Norwich Festival brings tens of thousands of people together in celebration – it has been doing this for 250 years. Through our May Festival and our year-round arts education work, focusing on children and young people, we lead and support celebration, creativity and curiosity in communities across Norfolk and the region.

This year we begin an exciting new initiative, Festival Connect & Create that will bring creative opportunities to those schools and communities with least provision. Creativity transforms people’s lives. It builds cohesive communities, develops vital skills and supports health and wellbeing. We want more people to have access to creative opportunities.

Please consider donating to support and develop this work. With your help we can increase access to the life changing power of the arts.

Registered Charity No. 116442

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