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Ignite partners support Chelmsford’s creatives

Ignite Social event

A new partnership for Ignite Chelmsford has thrown its weight behind supporting Chelmsford’s creative community.  

Formed in 2017, Ignite Chelmsford is the home of Chelmsford’s creatives, where people from all backgrounds and sectors can collaborate, support one another, and seek inspiration from each other. 

Representing creative industries across the city 

Ignite Chelmsford's partnership is a group of volunteers who come together to engage with and represent the views of those who study, volunteer, work, or aspire to work in the creative and cultural industries.

The 13 new partners were appointed in late 2023 following a callout. They come from varied creative backgrounds and represent a range of disciplines and communities in Chelmsford.

Sade Fadipe Storytelling at Chelmsford Museum for CALFE
Sade Fadipe reads her books to children attending the Children and Authors' Literary Fanfare Event 2024 at Chelmsford Museum.

They include celebrated children’s author, Sade Fadipe, who’s recent work about immigration is being adapted into a play, and freelance violinist, Elodie Chousmer-Howelles, who has performed internationally at UN and other significant world events. Games studio CEO, Aj Grand-Scrutton also joins the partnership. His studio has produced the first Mickey Mouse game for Disney in recent years. 

Elodie Chousmer-Howelles, Ignite Partner
One of the new Ignite Partners, Elodie Chousmer-Howelles, is a professional freelance violinist.

The new partnership has strong links to local cultural charities and organisations, with representatives from independent charity Culture Chelmsford, Spark! Chelmsford’s Local Cultural Education Partnership (LCEP), and Chelmsford Museum. 

There’s also Essex Pride Community Engagement Officer, Sofia Rojas, who previously co-curated the community exhibition, Behind the Rainbow, at Chelmsford Museum. Sofia additionally managed creative community spaces The Art Place and The Art Place Pop-Up in Chelmsford, and currently leads Essex Pride’s ‘Always Proud’ outreach project. 

Sofia Rojas Behind the Rainbow
Sofia Rojas co-curated the exhibition Behind the Rainbow at Chelmsford Museum.

Nick Hearne, manager of the children’s heavy metal band Slay Duggee, also joined the Ignite partnership in 2023. Nick represents varied industries as a creative director in advertising, an illustrator, 3D designer, photographer, videographer and comedy writer. 

Jon Hughes, Arts Director at Hot Box Live and new chair of the Ignite Partnership wants to celebrate the city's already established creative output and build on it through new ideas and initiatives:

"I'm excited to chair Ignite Chelmsford and help steer the creative community within to make the city a more culturally ambitious place. Chelmsford is already a great location for all kinds of creative outputs and events. I would like to focus on what we already have, while looking for ways we can bring in new ideas so that we can expand on what the brilliant people of the city already do."

Jon Hughes, Arts Director, Hot Box Live

Sade Fadipe values being part of a wider community where creatives support one another to push forward their ambitions and projects: 

"As Partner, I enjoy recommending upcoming talents, shedding light on grassroots initiatives, and volunteering when called upon. At Ignite, through our well-planned monthly events, creatives enjoy a supportive tapestry of individuals (partners included) where freely, they articulate their creative ambitions and projects. I love the welcoming community spirit, (that) Ignite propels!"

Sade Fadipe, children’s author and Ignite Chelmsford partner

Working to influence the creative environment in Chelmsford 

Together, the partners represent and champion Ignite members, and are responsible for driving forward Ignite’s Action plan, which aims to: 

  • showcase the work of Ignite members; 
  • provide opportunities for creative collaboration and inspiration; 
  • reflect the voice of the creative community to inform strategy and investment in Chelmsford. 

Each partner is a volunteer, giving their free time to support Ignite Chelmsford and its membership. Their role involves listening to members’ challenges and desires, and feeding their priorities back to stakeholders and businesses across the city. They work to push the development of Chelmsford as a cultural hub by looking for opportunities to showcase and boost the city’s creative sector. They also host regular Ignite Chelmsford Socials, where they share their own experiences as professional creatives. 

Chelmsford City Culture Services Manager, Marc De’ath, highlights the importance of Ignite’s community of volunteers: 

“It is really exciting to see Ignite Chelmsford’s new Action Plan, to see its partnership take shape, and to see our partners settling into their new roles over the last few months. Every vibrant city needs a thriving creative community. The work of the partners is crucial to the success of Ignite and the district’s wider economy.

“It isn’t just the partners giving up their time, Ignite is lucky to have a wider network of brilliantly enthusiastic volunteers and we are so grateful for their support."

Marc De’ath, Chelmsford City Culture Services Manager

Become a member or friend of Chelmsford’s thriving creative community 

Ignite Join Landscape Screen

If you’re a professional or aspiring creative you can become a member of Ignite Chelmsford by signing up for free. By becoming a member you’ll gain access to Ignite’s creative resources, including support from the new partnership.

Not currently active in Chelmsford’s creative community but interested in Ignite’s activities? You can become a friend of Ignite and follow their work by subscribing to their mailing list.  

Attend a free Ignite monthly Social 

Come along to one of Ignite Chelmsford’s monthly Socials to meet the community, hear from local creatives and see what the partnership is all about. 

The next Ignite Social is Thursday 11 April from 7pm. The April session will explore cult classics in comic books, cartoons, and cosplay.  

Ignite Social Cult Classics advert

You can check out the full list of Ignite Socials. Topics in the coming months include movement and dance, spoken word, and skateboarding. Admission is free. 

Find out more about the varied and fascinating new partners on the Ignite Chelmsford website.

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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.