Reading High Street Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme grants

Reading Borough Council would like to hear from artists/creative practitioner from a variety of creative disciplines with links to the Oxford Road area, or who have knowledge of the area and wish to develop links, with experience of delivering high quality co-created projects with communities.

Heritage Action Zone Project

High Street Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) is a government-sponsored programme to transform high streets through the power of heritage. HSHAZ scheme seeks to deliver physical improvements and cultural and community activities to regenerate historic high streets or town centers. Reading has identified the retail part of three conservation areas; Castle Hill/Russell Street/Oxford Road, St Mary’s Butts/Castle Street, and Market Place/London Street. The aim is to make these high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant – as places for people to live, work and spend time.

Building on the Reading HSHAZ Cultural Programme Pilot Projects these commissions will be part of the main HSHAZ Cultural Programme which is running from late Autumn 2021 to March 2024 and aims to:

  • Reveal hidden histories and the lives of the communities of Oxford Road past and present
  • Create informative and creative outputs that uncover and celebrate those histories
  • Give a voice to the community at the heart of the Oxford Road area to tell these stories.
  • Celebrate diverse cultures of the Oxford Road.

The Project

Reading High Street Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme supports communities to co-create new work with artists and creative practitioners that is relevant, authentic and genuinely participatory for people living in the Oxford Road area.

Proposed project should:

  • Be of high artists quality, innovative and well thought through
  • Work collaboratively with the local community such as grass roots community groups, businesses, shopkeepers and local organisations to co-create work that celebrates the heritage, history and culture of the area and promotes a positive sense of place
  • Actively encourage and support co-creation and participation building upon local communities’ strengths and the area’s assets, including its rich heritage and cultures
  • Enable the community to take a lead on and create meaningful cultural activity that is inspiring and relevant to them and reflects what the community want.

Reflection and evaluation will be key in measuring the impact of the projects and each project will need to ensure that reflection and evaluation is built into the project from the start.

There are three project grants of £4,000 and two £9,000 project grants available.

For the £9,000 grants we are open to applications from individual artists or artists/creative practitioner working in partnership and/or across arts forms.

£4,000 grants

The £4,000 funding criteria, key dates and application information is:

Grant/Project Budget

The total budget for each project is £4,000. This includes all project costs including planning, preparation time, delivery of project sessions, creation of final art work, documentation such as film of the project ‘story’ and/or final outcome, evaluation, travel expenses and materials.

Key Dates

  • 5pm Friday 14th January 2022 – Deadline for applications
  • Week of 31st January – Applicants selection and invited to interview
  • Week of 21st February – Interviews
  • March 2022 – Successfully applicants informed
  • March 2022- Inception meeting (TBC)
  • April 2022 – Project planning and preparation
  • May 2022 onwards – Project delivery starts.

The Artist/Creative Practitioner

Essential criteria:

  • Experience of implementing successful co-created arts and cultural projects within the community
  • Experience of working with a diverse range of people and communities, shaping and adapting projects to meet their needs
  • Experience of involving people in creative activities that inspire and build confidence
  • Strong communication and people skills
  • Knowledge of the Oxford Road’s history and diverse communities (please note we are ideally looking for an artist who is from the Oxford Road Area)
  • Flexibility, enthusiasm and friendliness to engage the local communities
  • Effective project management skills including the ability to work to short timescales and within agreed budget
  • Experience of delivering reflective practice and knowledge of creative evaluation techniques to capture the ‘learning journey’ of a project.

Early career artists and creative practitioners (up to 3 years’ experience)

Support from Culture Mix Arts, an established and respected Reading based arts organisation, is available to early career artists and creative practitioners. This support will be tailored to meet specific needs and will be provided through skills sharing, peer support and mentoring.

Application Process

We have tried to make the process as accessible as possible, so there are two ways to apply: Send us a written application to HSHAZ@reading.gov.uk, or you can send us a short video or audio recording (no longer than 4 mins).

All applicants:

Along with your CV please tell us in no more than two sides of A4:

  • Your name, contact details and proposed name of your idea
  • Clear outline of your idea and how it supports the HSHAZ Cultural Programme to achieve its aims
  • Provide details on your previous related experiences
  • Outline who you are and how you are connected to the Oxford Road
  • The budget you are applying for with a breakdown of all your intended costs
  • Up to 4 images of your work and/or website links/YouTube links etc.

Early career artists or creative practitioners:

In addition to the above please also tells us (on an additional side of A4) where you feel the gaps are in your current experience and skills and how support from Culture Mix Arts will enable you to bridge those gaps and deliver a co-created project with the Oxford Road community.

£9,000 grant

The £9,000 funding criteria, key dates and application information is:

Grant/Project Budget:

The total budget for each project is £9,000. This includes all project costs including planning, preparation time, delivery of project sessions, creation of final art work, documentation such as film of the project ‘story’ and/or final outcome, evaluation, travel expenses and materials.

Key dates:

  • 5pm Friday 14th January 2022 – Deadline for applications
  • Week of 17th January – HSHAZ Cultural Programme Selection Panel meets to select applicants to invite to interview
  • Week of 24th January – Applicants selection and invited to interview
  • Week 14th February – Interviews
  • End of Feb 2022 – Inception meeting (TBC)
  • March 2022 – Project planning and preparation
  • April 2022 – Project delivery starts
  • January 2023 – latest date project evaluation can be completed.

The Artist/Creative Practitioner

Essential criteria:

  • Experience of implementing successful co-created arts and cultural projects within the community
  • Experience of working with a diverse range of people and communities, shaping and adapting projects to meet their needs
  • Experience of involving people in creative activities that inspire and build confidence
  • Strong communication and people skills
  • Knowledge of the Oxford Road’s history and diverse communities (please note we are ideally looking for an artist who is from the Oxford Road Area)
  • Flexibility, enthusiasm and friendliness to engage the local communities
  • Effective project management skills including the ability to work to short timescales and within agreed budget
  • Experience of delivering reflective practice and knowledge of creative evaluation techniques to capture the ‘learning journey’ of a project
  • Public Liability Insurance of 5 million or above and an up to date enhanced DBS check.

Early career artists and creative practitioners (less than 3 years’ experience)

Support from Culture Mix Arts, an established and respected Reading based arts organisation, is available to early career artists and creative practitioners. This support will be tailored to meet specific needs and will be provided through skills sharing, peer support and mentoring.

Application Process

We have tried to make the process as accessible as possible, so there are two ways to apply: Send us a written application to HSHAZ@reading.gov.uk, or you can send us a short video or audio recording (no longer than 4 mins).

All applicants:

Along with your CV please tell us in no more than three sides of A4:

  • Your name, contact details and proposed name of your idea
  • Clear outline of your idea, how it supports the HSHAZ Cultural Programme to achieve its aims and objectives
  • Clearly specify how the outputs of your project will benefit the local community
  • Consideration of possible legacy opportunities that will arise from the project
  • Provide details on your previous related experiences
  • Outline who you are and how you are connected to the Oxford Road
  • The project budget with a breakdown of all your intended costs
  • Up to 4 images of your work and/or website links/YouTube links etc.

Early career artist or creative practitioner:

In addition to the above please also tells us (on an additional side of A4) where you feel the gaps are in your current experience and skills and how support from Culture Mix Arts will enable you to bridge those gaps and deliver a co-created project with the Oxford Road community.