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'Make More Art!'

A proposal for a legacy arts programme for

Hammersmith United Charities

As Hammersmith United Charities enters its fifth century of service to the local area, it is demonstrating that the arts may be one of the most visible and experiential ways to connect its past with its future. Longstanding values of care and beauty that have taken shape in high quality sheltered accommodation and gardens for older people, are now extending into artistic activities for both residents and the wider communities as well as into artistic approaches for the organisation as a whole. Additionally, the charity’s commitment to artistic research with two PhD students investigating the impact of funding community arts and curating art in atypical spaces, further punctuates a growing interest to embed the arts within the fabric of the organisation.

Investing in the arts is a bold and exciting move at this moment in time, especially for a 400 year old housing charity and community grants giving trust.  Austere economic landscapes usually land arts programmes on the cutting room floor, but instead the charity is clarifying how art beats profoundly at the heart of its work to provide relief in need to local people.

The following proposal suggests the charity continue to move in this direction with a fully recognised arts programme. With an analysis of the charity’s 400th year of arts activities and preliminary findings from both of its funded PhD candidates, the proposal then outlines a potential programme that unites currently running initiatives with some new ideas.


Proposal prepared by PhD candidate Carolyn Defrin, with contributions from PhD candidate/staff administrator, Nora Laraki and guidance from Melanie Nock, Head of Community Partnerships and Grants Management at Hammersmith United Charities

The 400th Anniversary Programme of Artistic Activity

Throughout 2018, as part of the charity’s 400th anniversary celebrations, the organisation supported a programme of artistic activity under the banner: “Festival of Joy!” From intergenerational participatory projects, to installations exploring social cohesion and affordable housing design, to a new disability arts fest, the charity provided employment and participation opportunities for numerous members of the Hammersmith and Fulham communities.

(Click on the images below for more information about each activity)

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“Hammersmith to have more music and dance because I loved it”

“More of your wonderful intergenerational arts activities”

“More arts and creative opportunities”

 “Drama and arts for all ages continue to be supported"

“You will look after your dementia and carer community with special provisions of creativity”

“Make more art”

In the immediate analysis of an activity called “Postcards to the Future” whereby guests at the 400th anniversary party were invited to write a wish for the charity as it looks ahead to the next 400 years, a significant amount of responses regarded arts activities as a vital ingredient. Additionally, several other responses calling for more social cohesion, greater representation of the area, personal care and pure, unadulterated joy drew clear lines to the outcomes and continuous impacts of arts activities like the intergenerational dance and mosaic making, the enigma lunches and the film installation. These lines continue to extend further into the charity's current business plan- specifically within its strategic aims to build new relationships, 

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