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New Town Culture

New Town Culture logoFollowing the government’s latest advice around preventing the spread of Coronavirus, we have decided to reschedule a number of our New Town Culture projects and activities in the coming months. If you are directly part of a project or activity you will be notified directly of any changes to the programme.

We hope you understand that we haven’t taken this decision lightly but are following current government guidelines. The safety of our community members, volunteers and staff is our main priority.

We will reschedule all of these activities and will continue to issue updates on this. At this stage the situation is changing daily, but any decision we make will be in accordance with the government’s advice at the time and will be done with the health of our residents and staff at the forefront.

Keep safe and well,

LBBD’s Culture Team

A pioneering programme building new connections between art, culture and frontline social care services

New Town Culture is a programme of artistic and cultural activity taking place in adult and children’s social care across the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

We are supporting artists, social care staff and carers to explore new creative ways of working to enhance social care services and to unlock the value of art and culture for all our communities.

New Town Culture celebrates the incredible stories, knowledge and skills of the residents of Barking and Dagenham through workshops, clubs, exhibitions, live performances and training targeted to staff and users of social care services.

This ambitious project was piloted thanks to a Cultural Impact Award for the London Borough of Culture, a Mayor of London initiative.

The programme is now extending its scope and connections through further support from the Young Londoners Fund, from the GLA and the MOPAC Violence Reduction Unit.

For more information contact: newtownculture@lbbd.gov.uk

Find out more about the Young Londoners Fund.

Radio Ballads

LogoA series of collaborative artist residencies and projects exploring the world of labour and employment with local residents

Thanks to the actions of local residents in 1968, the UK will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act in 2020. This ground-breaking legislation is the starting point for a series of new artist projects taking place within adult social care over the next two years.

Led by the Serpentine Galleries, local residents will come together with artists from around the globe to reflect on the many stories of labour and employment in the 21st Century.

‘Radio Ballads’ was a series of radio programmes commissioned by the BBC Home Service between 1957 and 1964. Described as a combination of “songs, instrumental music, sound effect and the recorded voices of those with whose lives each programme deals” each programme presented a view on the working lives of British people. Revolutionary at the time, they conveyed to the nation authentic voices from people rarely at that time heard in the public sphere.

We will return to the Radio Ballad to develop a new series of programmes developed by artists and people living and working in Barking and Dagenham. We will connect with people through many local networks including social care services, sheltered housing, mental services and ESOL provision.

For more information contact: newtownculture@lbbd.gov.uk

Find out more about Radio Ballads.

In Your Time

LogoArtistic and cultural activity with young people and artists across social care services

We know that experiencing and producing art and culture can have a big impact on how we feel about ourselves, the world and the future. This borough has one of the youngest communities in the UK. Many of our young people want careers in the cultural sector. Sadly, many young people do not have access to art, film, theatre, design, dance and the many things that can support us all to have agency in society. This project sets out to address this imbalance for our young people in social care.

Bringing together artists, social care teams and local and national cultural organisations such as Create London, Company Drinks, South London Gallery, Tate and local college Barking and Dagenham College, we are delivering projects and clubs for young people across all services in Children’s Care and Support.

Young people aged 5-21 are making new things, sharing ideas, finding new friends and visiting new places. We are supporting them to use these projects to realise their ambitions for the future.

The programme will be led by young people paid to lead an advisory group and trained to support the delivery of the programme for other young people.

For more information contact: newtownculture@lbbd.gov.uk

Find out more about In Your Time.

Professional Social Care Practice


Learning from the creative processes taking place across the New Town Culture programme and sharing them with social care professionals through training and policy

We are working with the Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies Team at Goldsmiths University London to understand how these creative projects support social care professionals in their day to day professional practice.

Through New Town Culture we are delivering a programme of continuing professional development for social care professionals to demonstrate how creative approaches can support us to reframe our work, reinvigorate our personal practice and support deeper relationships professional practice.

For more information contact: newtownculture@lbbd.gov.uk

Find out more about the Goldsmiths University STACS department.

What’s On

LISTEN Festival 2020

The festival kicks off on 20 September.

The New Town Culture programme includes a series of collaborative artist residencies and commissions, called Radio Ballads, primarily aimed at adult social care services. This autumn join Green Shoes Arts for LISTEN Festival a month-long celebration of connection and support with professional and community arts in the heart of Dagenham, London.

“Lets Instil Support to Everyone Now” is a community based festival giving people time and space to discuss Mental Health through a programme of mixed and combined arts; from bold Origami Sculptures to Online Radio Shows, Outdoor Dance to Lockdown Photography.

Presented in partnership with the Serpentine Galleries and New Town Culture, LISTEN Festival will feature work in progress from artist Rory Pilgrim’s Radio Ballads’ commission RAFTS.

Taking the raft as a symbol of support, escape and journey RAFTS engages with a number of different social services and community groups across Barking and Dagenham. The project invites people to consider changes in technology, the environment and now the global pandemic, exploring what a 'raft' is for them, especially in times of change and uncertainty.

During LISTEN Festival Rory will bring together members of members of Green Shoes Arts and Project Well Being, Boise, Idaho through an online RAFTS Showcase, sharing conversations, stories and poems generated in workshops so far, alongside a RAFTS workshop aimed at all Social Care staff and/or those working in care and community settings interested in creatively developing their approaching to relationship building.

From 8 October you will be able to listen to two RAFTS Radio episodes on Green Shoes Arts website, which document a process of exchange between community groups, inviting listeners to explore how connection with ourselves and each other is sustained and replenished during times of crisis.

We’d love to welcome you to the festival and RAFTS events

LISTEN Festival



Pictures by photographer Jimmy Lee of New Town Culture launch at Barking Town Hall and a project led by artist Rebecca Davies with foster families

New Town Culture