Stella Duffy, 26 January 2014

Convened by : Stella Duffy

Who came : lots of people in two chunks

What happened :

Stella explained how the Fun Palaces idea came about at DandD8 (2x), and we talked

about what they are, what people are planning to do (some of the already-on-it

Deptford Consortium were there which really helped encourage/inspire others). There

was also some Bristol presence which given Bristol is a surprisingly missing space on

the already-signed-up map, was brilliant.

we talked a lot about how Stella & Sarah-Jane DON'T want to run it from London, that

what happens elsewhere is really important, and that what is already being planned in

lots of non-London places (NE, York, Hull for eg) is really exciting.

about how ANYONE ANYWHERE can join in. and how we find a a way to truly

engage with ‘the people’ (ie, the ones not already us). The Deptford Consortium have

some questions they think might help them to do this, and are happy for others to

take/use/re-work as appropriate.

Stella talked about how she sees this as political, grassroots perhaps, rather than

top-down. (Transition Towns parallel). and Mary (proteus) talked about how she sees

the local councils as where the real political work happens, rather than part politics,

and that we (esp venues) can do our huge political work on a local/local council level.

Fun Palaces, of course, feeds in hugely to this as it;s all about localism.

Stella explained the five principles (though everyone thought they were obvious! they


she also explained the transformative a little more - ie, if we TRULY talk to ‘the people’

(ie, the not-makers, the ones we don't already know, the ones we'd love to engage

with and don't know how to) and truly make work WITH them, then our work will be

different. maybe not immediately, maybe not for everyone everywhere, but on a

continuum of beginning to make work that is honestly fully engaged, not just giving lip

service to the idea. and that this is one of the main dreams of the Fun Palaces project.

that we transform our work to be already-engaged.

there was a refreshing lack of the money question. Stella reported Christine Jackson

(who worked on Stratford Fair with Joan) saying we should beg/borrow/steal rather

than worry about funding (as that's what they did). Stella shared info from

conversations with ACE and the HLF (HLF interested but more on a local heritage

basis, so they might be helpful if you Fun Palace includes local heritage input.)

As we know (and as Mary reiterated well) we know local councils need and want to do

this - local arts, local artists. we're giving them a great opportunity to support us AND

build community, on a national scale.

So, to recap :

4/5 October 2014

(to celebrate Joan's centenary on Oct 6th, and as the first of an annual festival of

ground-up, locally-led, grassroots celebrations of the deep value arts and culture and

sciences for our communities)

Fun Palaces across the UK and internationally.

in any space/venue/location you can find/possess/squat (a front room is great!)

A grand statement FOR culture and the arts across the UK, 6 months before the next

election, saying we matter too, and not just for artists but for all of us, for community.

Bringing arts and sciences together (because Joan wanted to, she believed in the

“laboratory of the streets”, and we do too, we think we need to talk to each other more,

to connect more, we will make better work and a better world if we connect more) in

any way we can.

we hope to get a list of willing/keen scientists we can share with local makers, so local

scientists and local Fun Palace makers can get together. We know sciences generally

have a longer lead time, so we (artists) probably need to be the leads, and invite them


the guidelines are here :

the discussion boards are here, please use them. this is a great way for independent

artists to find venues and vice versa, and for groups to get together and create

together. much easier for all of us who so often feel alone in our working if we can find

liaisons :

you can find the venues/companies already signed up to make a Fun Palace here

(click on the map itself) :

and you can sign up here (you don't have to know all the answers, vague descriptions

of what you'll do are fine for now, we can get specific and edit the descriptions as you

progress) :

there's a mailing list sign up here :

and you can email us at : [email protected]

the Deptford Consortium Fun Palace page is here, they're a (little) bit further on in their

process, and might be able to share with you their suggestions :

It really is up to you. as long as it's Free, Local, Innovative, Transformative and

Engaging, and it can happen some time on 45h/5th October (any of the time is fine,

you don't have to do 48 hours - though you can if you want!), and has some of the

“Joan spirit” (exemplified in the original description of the never-built Fun Palace here :

then we'd love you to join in!

Stella (and Sarah-Jane who was working elsewhere)

ps - it really is just the two of us and a hell of a lot of goodwill, unfunded right now, so

don't think we don't love you if we don't respond immediately, and if you think of

someone WE should be in touch with, feel free to make it YOU who gets in touch with

them and tells them about it! this is all of ours.



Local, politics, Fun Palaces, Joan Littlewood, engagement, Community, community,

local, science