A number 10 in a triangle with LeftCoast written underneath for leftcoasts birthday

It’s our birthday! LeftCoast is officially 10 years old

It’s our birthday!

LeftCoast is officially 10 years old and we are very proud and grateful to have reached this significant milestone.

In November 2013, LeftCoast was chosen to be one of the first Creative People and Places (CPP) programmes in the UK, funded by Arts Council England. The network began in eight locations, inclusive of Blackpool, and the programme is now delivered in 38 places.

The national aim of CPP is to empower local people to decide what creative activity they want to experience on their doorstep and LeftCoast has spent the past decade playing and working with tens of thousands of residents across Blackpool and Wyre to achieve this aim.

Initially, we launched with a Big Bang! commissioning large-scale work including As The World Tipped, Banquet, Showzam and of course SpareParts, which became one of our regular, annual festivals alongside WordPool and Lightpool. However, as our practice and our relationships with local communities and partners has evolved, we have co-produced many more intimate and collaborative projects.

Showstoppers - birthday celebrations looking back - blue man on top of building pointing at the blackpool tower
Photo: Generik Vapeur

For example, ‘Wash Your Words’ (the Langdale Laundry Room and Library) is the result of a five-year long conversation with residents on Mereside, who helped us design, build and launch the space. LeftCoast has also hosted two three-year live/work artist in residencies in Hawes Side and Flakefleet which enabled us to deliver continuous and meaningful work in those neighbourhoods throughout the Pandemic. 

While LeftCoast visibly celebrates the arts with communities at festivals and plays host to national touring work, our ongoing mission is to be socially-engaged and socially-useful to residents in Blackpool as well as being artistically ambitious

Looking ahead to the next 10 years, with additional funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, LeftCoast will continue to explore the intrinsic value of nature and culture with Blackpool residents. We are co-creating a number of action-research projects with a circular economy and/or urban farming theme, and in the next 12 months we will launch The People’s Pantry in two locations and open the redeveloped Hawes Side Community Garden. In addition, LeftCoast will actively support community partners to reclaim, reinvent and refurbish unloved community assets or common land to develop creative, communal spaces for the exchange of food, crafts and ideas.

Birthday celebrations - The people's Pantry
Photo: Donna Hannigan

In the context of major developments and investment in the town, together with other independent cultural organisations and local businesses, LeftCoast are contributing to a cultural strategy for the town and our relationship with The Blackpool School of Arts (our current HQ) continues to thrive as it enters into the era of the Multiversity.

After 10 years of delivery, we have learnt a great deal from residents, artists, architects, horticulturalists and other LeftCoast associates/partners. This 10 year anniversary is a time for us to reflect and rearrange, and we will be welcoming new people into the team to intentionally progress and diversify our practice.

Over the next 12 months we hope to celebrate the involvement of all our participants, volunteers, audiences and artists along the way, whilst thanking partners/ funders for sharing their ambitions, faith and resources with us. This begins with the gifting back of signed pieces of our Morag Myerscough pavilion, in December.

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