Creative Newham came into being in 2018, as a result of Arts Council England’s Creative People & Places opportunity, which Newham partners seized with enthusiasm across the borough. Through the process of developing this bid, lead organisation Rosetta Arts (established in 1993, with a long history of delivering community arts in Newham) brought together over 80 individuals representing over 60 organisations, all sharing a commitment to empowering borough residents to realise their full cultural and creative potential. In September 2019, Creative Newham was formalised and since then, the alliance has continued to grow.
Why Creative Newham?
Despite a dramatic and positive growth in prosperity as Newham moved from the 2nd to the 25th most deprived borough in Britain between 2010 and 2015, Newham residents are still amongst some of the most disadvantaged in the UK.
Cultural investment in the borough is amongst the lowest in London and as a consequence Newham has the second lowest level of cultural engagement of all the London boroughs at 36.6% (the lowest, Barking & Dagenham, is already an established Creative People & Places place).
There is, however:
- a rich and diverse network of ‘under the radar’ cultural activity organised by artist groups, faith-based organisations and community groups
- a successful history of small-scale entrepreneurship with a large number of independent shops and services catering for the local community
- a positive view of the borough’s ethnic and cultural diversity amongst residents; 9 in 10 agree that ‘people from different backgrounds get on well in my local area’ and the proportion of residents with friends entirely from their own ethnic background is just 9% (Understanding Newham 2019)
Our vision for Creative Newham is a borough where everyone can benefit from creative opportunities – as makers, producers, leaders, audiences and participants – whatever their background or circumstances.
Over the next 10 years we hope to contribute to a Newham where homegrown creative talent is recognised and rewarded both within and beyond the borough; where residents respect and value different cultures and are proud of their neighbourhood; and where people have the confidence and the opportunity to lead and enjoy a wide range of creative activities.
Our current programmes
The pilot Creative Newham Cultural Producers programme provides a comprehensive training programme to local emerging producers under the age of 30. It includes a 45-day placement in a local cultural organisation, classroom-based theory, 1-1 mentoring and regular supervision, with trainees receiving a training bursary (London Living Wage). Participating hosts for this cohort are: Bow Arts, Gasworks Dock Partnership (Cody Dock), LCF Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Rosetta Arts, Royal Docks Team, Social Convention, Theatre Royal Stratford East.
The Creative Newham Youth Board have been meeting regularly to have their say in local cultural issues and events. Youth Board members aged 13-18 are paid for their time and in return gain confidence, new skills, new friends and experience in the field. Joining details are here .
Our Steering Group
Creative Newham is supported by a steering group which meets quarterly and is co-ordinated by Rosetta Arts. Chaired by Sanaz Amidi, Chief Executive of Rosetta Arts, the steering group consists of representatives from nine local organisations: Certain Blacks, Caramel Rock, Foundation for Future London, London Borough of Newham, Newham New Deal Partnership, Rosetta Arts, Royal Docks Team, University College London, University of East London.