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Richard Bromhall’s First 18 months

Photograph by Calvin Tasker

Our Director, Richard Bromhall, shares his reflections on his first 18 months at Reimagine Redditch

It seems hard to believe it’s been 18 months since I became Director of Reimagine Redditch. In that time, I’ve made it my business to meet and get to know as many of the people, community organisations and groups, businesses and creatives who make Redditch tick. There are still so many more people to meet, and I can’t wait to continue connecting with the rest of you. Immersing myself in Redditch’s communities has helped me understand what we’re here to do. I believe we’re at the beginning of a very exciting journey to reimagine a Redditch where everyone shapes, takes part in, and has excellent creative experiences.

Artwork by GRIN Creative (insert art colour palettes by The Colour Palette Company)

Reimagine Redditch’s focus is developing gradually. Effectively a startup, we’ve recruited a brilliant team of people over the last year to deliver on this vision, and this includes the incredible Reimagine Reachers, individuals from Redditch who form our community panel and who help us make decisions about what we do, who we work with, and who we commission. In November, they selected the creatives who will facilitate the Have a Go! sessions this winter and spring. In January, they picked the new brand we’re developing, and, in March, they will shortlist the options for a new colour palette that we’re co-creating with everyone in Redditch (you can make your own suggestion by 10th March here). We’ve been to see creative projects together in Birmingham and Worcester to inspire us, and we’ve got plans to go to Derby to see more soon. We’re on the hunt for more people to join this group of people, and we’ll be announcing how you can get involved very soon.

What has been so exciting about working at Reimagine Redditch over the last year and a half is that we’ve not stopped for a minute in that time. Our first bit of activity started in January 2022. We worked with 5 community partners, delivered 12 different creative activities, and brought together around 500 people. From crafting and drumming workshops, to spoken word activities and film, residents who took part formed new bonds and tried out new activities they’d never tried before. In fact, so inspired was one participant that she left the workshop and went straight out and bought a pair of bongos!

Photograph by Calvin Tasker

If one thing has struck me over the last year, it’s the vibrant creative work that happens in everyday places. Spoz’s Speak Your Mind spoken word night brings together local and national poets to perform and share their work in a community space – at the OId Needleworks. I enjoyed meeting Woodrow residents at their art group recently; some knitted, others drew, and I enjoyed doing some colouring in while we chatted and got to know each other. This rich creative community is one of the reasons why we partnered with the fabulous Batchley Support Group and Redditch BID to create our own creative event in an everyday space: Beach on the Green. It was Redditch’s first ever beach, in the town centre, outdoors, and accessible (it was entirely free for visitors). What was great about how we went about it is that residents in Batchley told us what they thought should appear at the beach – a steel band, DJ, puppets – and that’s exactly what we programmed. More than 4,000 people came out to the beach over 3 days, even on a very wet Saturday, but it didn’t dampen spirits. The possibilities of working in places so that everyone can get to them is exciting and it’s one of Redditch’s assets. I can’t wait to do more of it in 2024.

Photograph by Cassandra McGowan

I’ve witnessed an enormous amount of creative work over the last 18 months, but I know that there is lots more to see and more work to do – and the potential of that is very exciting. Reimagine Redditch’s role, alongside the local authority, the Cultural Compact, and our community and business partners is to grow creative opportunities in Redditch so that everyone, every single person, no matter their background or experience, has the choice to take part in something creative. Watch this space!

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