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Culture Chelmsford and local students shine a spotlight on our cultural journeys

Sandon school performance rehersal
Students from Sandon School rehearse a performance on the main stage at Chelmsford Theatre. Photograph by Freya Lees.

Culture Chelmsford and local students have this week launched a campaign to get Chelmsford talking about culture. Students from Chelmsford CollegeSandon School, and Writtle University College are working with the independent charity as they prepare to publish Chelmsford’s first district-wide cultural strategy.

What is Culture Chelmsford?

Culture Chelmsford is an independent charity, established in 2017. The organisation believes in the power of creativity to change lives, transform our city and improve our wellbeing. Since 2017, the charity has worked with arts organisations, schools, theatres, and Chelmsford’s creatives to turn ideas into real projects.

The charity is led by a board of volunteer trustees who set the strategic vision for the organisation. Their current members have leadership roles in some of the UK’s foremost museums, galleries, heritage sites, and charities. Some also have specialist expertise in finance, business and HR.

Cultural Strategy will put Chelmsford on the map

Culture Chelmsford will shortly be publishing the first district-wide Cultural Strategy for Chelmsford. The ten-year vision has been co-developed through conversations and workshops with stakeholders and communities across Chelmsford. It will embed culture at the heart of the city’s ambitions for growth and wellbeing.

The strategy will be for everyone in Chelmsford. It aims to provide a clear direction for the city’s cultural plans, connect Chelmsford’s diverse communities, stimulate the economy, and improve our health and wellbeing. It will celebrate Chelmsford’s natural and built environment, and connect the city to the wider county, country, and world. Putting Chelmsford firmly on the map.

Chelmsford’s students share what culture means to them

The campaign launched with a series of creative responses shared by local students. Culture Chelmsford commissioned students from Chelmsford College, Sandon School, and Writtle University College to share what culture means to them. More than 40 performing arts, visual arts and media students took part. Each student provided their own unique interpretations using dance, film, theatre, and drawing.

Working with Culture Chelmsford, Chelmsford City Council, and the Local Cultural Education Partnership (LCEP), the students expressed their responses in diverse ways. Performing arts students from Sandon School showcased their creativity in a performance at the newly refurbished Chelmsford Theatre. Writtle University College students created visual depictions of what culture means to them. Media students from Chelmsford College created a digital project to share the creative stories of Chelmsford people. All of these creative observations will be shared digitally over this month on social media channels.

Share your cultural experiences

As part of the digital campaign, media students from Chelmsford College need your support. In preparation for the publication of Chelmsford’s Cultural Strategy, we’re asking you to share your most memorable creative experiences.

The campaign tells the creative stories of Chelmsford’s people. How cultural experiences have changed lives, forged connections, helped through difficult times, or made us feel alive.

Hot Box Live perform in the main foyer at Chelmsford Theatre
Hot Box Live perform in the main foyer at Chelmsford Theatre. Photograph by Freya Lees.

The students will be interviewing people across Chelmsford over the coming month to produce a series of short clips for social media. They’re asking everyone to share a favourite memory of a creative experience that made a lasting impression. Whether it’s big moments or small ones, we want to hear how it felt when you saw your favourite band live, when you did your first ollie on a skateboard, or when your Gran helped you knit your first jumper. 

We want you to record your creative experiences. You could make a film, create an image, generate an animation, record a song, or write about how the encounter made you feel. Upload your memories on social media using the hashtag #ourculturaljourney and tag Culture Chelmsford in your posts on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Let's get Chelmsford talking about Culture poster
Photograph by Freya Lees.

“Creative experiences are powerful; they can define who we are, determine who we make lifelong friends with, and help us make sense of the world around us. Sharing our memories and experiences is what connects us as humans. We encourage everyone to get involved as we join together to make Chelmsford’s cultural future a reality and realise our city’s full potential.”

Claire Gevaux, CEO, Culture Chelmsford

“I’m delighted that young people are at the heart of this campaign to encourage people in Chelmsford to share their creative memories. It signifies an inclusive approach to Chelmsford’s future, encouraging and empowering young voices to take the lead. I look forward to the publication of Chelmsford’s first district-wide cultural strategy, which will provide a renewed focus and direction for the city’s cultural ambitions.”

Cllr Marie Goldman, Deputy Leader of Chelmsford City Council and Cabinet Member for Connected Chelmsford

“We are delighted to have a live work experience opportunity for our students and are excited to be sharing their work over the coming weeks. Chelmsford College is supportive of a creative vision and strategy for Chelmsford, which will help generate clear pathways into the creative sector and increase opportunities to boost creative talent.”

David Warnes, Principal, Chelmsford College

“Cultural experiences bring people and communities together. Chelmsford’s new strategy allows young people to celebrate inclusivity and diversity while sharing their own creative talents. At Writtle University College we’re delighted to be contributing to a project that will shape the future of our city.”

Professor Tim Middleton, Vice-Chancellor, Writtle University College
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Cherelle Nightingill
Cherelle Nightingill

Cherelle writes about Chelmsford Theatre, Hylands Estate, Chelmsford Museum, the Mayor of Chelmsford and culture and events in the city.