A consultancy service for public bodies and arts organisations

Creative Lives is aware of the challenges facing public bodies as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and increasing costs. We are keen to support local authorities and other organisations to promote the wellbeing of citizens through regular participation in creative activities in their communities.

Creative Citizens is our new consultancy service intended to help public bodies with:

  • engaging with local voluntary creative groups;
  • improving health and wellbeing through cultural participation; 
  • demonstrating the need for investment in local cultural economies;
  • developing the use of empty shops and unused public spaces for cultural activity;
  • supporting the development and implementation of cultural or health and wellbeing strategies.

See our Creative Citizens brochure setting out our consultancy service. 

For an example of our service in practice, please see the report from our work with Calderdale Council. 

If you'd like an informal chat about the possibilities please get in touch by emailing [email protected]. 


Creative cultural pursuits bring people together, teach them new skills, boost confidence and bring about a sense of achievement, identity and place. The research report ‘Common Ground - Rewilding the Garden’, published by Creative Lives in November 2020, concluded that “there is a huge resource of grassroots arts groups right across the country with an important contribution to make to maintaining individual and community health”. Creative communities and engagement can drive equality and social cohesion.

Creative Citizens is a new flexible consultancy service for local authorities which will be tailored to the relevant council area, using some or all of the following components:

  • mapping existing voluntary/amateur creative groups and activities in the relevant local area, using our bespoke Creativity Map creating a self-sustaining network of local creative groups and creative citizens using the #CreativeNetwork model, to provide peer support and a single interface with the sector for the
  • local authority, making sure creative groups and individuals are represented at strategic level and beyond – giving them agency
  • identifying key support needs for local creative groups and creative citizens and providing online interactive Creative Learning sessions, empowering and mobilising people – particularly those in neglected and vulnerable communities – to help themselves and others to be creative
  • looking at the particular regulatory requirements for local voluntary/amateur creative groups re-starting their activities following lockdown and identifying ways to help groups comply with relevant regulations and guidelines
  • releasing ‘lost talent’ by addressing barriers to creativity in various communities that impede the quality of life of ordinary people, using the Open Conversations model to develop equal opportunities for everyone in communities to be creative as part of their everyday lives
  • revitalising the local voluntary arts sector by developing and managing a micro grants scheme to develop local groups and catalyse other seed-funding.

We realise that each local authority will be different: this broad programme of work can be adjusted for each location.

Creative Citizens Calderdale

Creative Lives conducted a research on behalf of Calderdale Council between September 2021 - January 2022. It constitutes the first two phases of a process intended to better understand the current conditions for everyday creativity and culture within communities across Calderdale. It identifies where support can be better focused to ensure that this voluntary, community-led activity is recognised alongside the formal arts offer, in ways that enable plural forms of expression to thrive across Calderdale’s diverse communities.  

The research was timed to coincide with the publication of Calderdale Council’s new Cultural Strategy (2022-2032) and to reflect the wider ecosystem for creative cultural activity within localities, acknowledging regional and demographic inequalities.

Bobsie Robinson

Bobsie Robinson, Cultural Services Manager at Calderdale Council, said:

"In Calderdale we were seeking an organisation with extensive experience/knowledge of communities and their creativity to allow us to better understand the creative/cultural activities taking place within some of our most deprived wards compared to other areas across the borough that had high engagement/participation in arts and heritage activities as we developed a new Cultural Strategy.

"Creative Lives more than delivered by taking the time to understand who we were as a place and our aspirations. They met with individuals, community groups and arts/heritage practitioners. The result was the production of the report ‘Creative Citizens Calderdale’ which mapped existing assets, demographic profile, employment, skills, and education levels, along with providing an analysis/insight of current engagement/participation levels across four wards. Subsequently, ‘Creative Citizens’ is now a strategic priority in the Cultural Strategy in Calderdale. The report will be invaluable as we continue to face challenges as a local authority with forever decreasing resources to inform an inclusive growth programme and targeted interventions going forward."

We recommend Creative Lives as a great organisation to work with, if you want to understand better what creative/cultural/community assets exists within your areas of multiple deprivation and how communities are engaging/participating in creative/cultural activities.

Read the full report below or download a PDF copy [2.48MB].

If you're interested in deepening the connection with creative groups in your area, please get in touch via [email protected] and we'd be happy to arrange a meeting with you.