Bid to boost city’s arts and culture

Sue Dalton outside the Workhouse Museum in Ripon. (S)
Sue Dalton outside the Workhouse Museum in Ripon. (S)

Ripon’s museums might be providing workspace for artists and creative businesses if a new survey demonstrates demand for the facilities.

A grant from Arts Council England has enabled Ripon Museum Trust –which runs the Workhouse, Prison and Police, and Courthouse museums – to commission research into the demand for workspace and the ancillary requirements of artists and other creative businesses in and around the city.

The research –being carried out by Chrysalis Arts – aims to scope the potential for Ripon’s three museums to provide a range of professional arts activities and events, including:

l a multi-purpose arts/business venue and resource at the Workhouse Museum;

l performance and rehearsal space;

l visual arts exhibition space;

l artists’ workshops;

l studios; and

l information and communication technology resources.

It is also hoped the study will examine ways Ripon Museum Trust can work with other agencies to develop Ripon’s creative economy and thereby enhance the city’s tourism offer and in turn improve visitors’ experiences.

Head of Museums Sue Dalton said: “This research will support and link into Greater Ripon Improvement Partnership’s (GRIP) ‘Stay Awhile’ strategy, its aspirations for Ripon to become North Yorkshire’s ‘Capital of Culture’ and its recent submission to the Portas Pilot Fund.

“There’s a lot going on in Ripon’s arts and creative industries, but the collective offer is fragmented, poorly networked and not jointly marketed.

“We believe this research provides a real opportunity for artists and those involved in creative industries to articulate issues and to come together to develop Ripon’s arts and cultural offer.”

ADVANTAGES OF SHARED WORK SPACES

The Ripon Museum Trust has commissioned Chrysalis Arts to carry out research into the demand for workspace and facilities among artists and other creative businesses.

Its director, Rick Faulkner, told us: “As an artist-led organisation, we are very much aware of the problems experienced by creative businesses in obtaining secure, affordable workspace, exhibition space and support services. There are major advantages for sole trading artists in sharing workspace and this is particularly the case in rural areas like Ripon, where isolation can be a big issue. There may also be a real opportunity to develop more specialist sales outlets for artists and makers in the district and we are keen to help realise this potential.”

l Individuals and organisations interested in being part of this research and development should contact France-Leigh at Chrysalis Arts on 01756 748529 or email franceleigh@creativenorthyorkshire.com