Posted on Nov 6, 2017 in Editorial.
What is Strike a Light?
Strike a Light is a non-profit community arts and heritage organisation which focuses on involving people’s life stories and local memories to engage a wide range of groups and individuals in creative and heritage activities, encouraging engagement and outreach as well as involving memories and archive material; making art to transform public and private spaces.
Strike a Light was set up as a Brighton and Hove based organization in 2010 to promote creative arts and heritage activities in Sussex and further afield, after a need for these events were highlighted through freelance work and the demise of pre-existing projects which had been involved in this area.
Food Miles mosaic in Whitehawk 2006
Strike a Light aims to strike a balance between art and heritage in a community-minded way that teaches and inspires, whilst helping to revitalize public spaces.
We believe in the idea of life skills and education through creativity, generating greater social inclusion by working with marginalized and vulnerable groups, alongside all sections of the community on the historic sphere, public space, murals and celebratory arts. This is the belief that all people can gain recreational enjoyment and social benefit from taking part in creative and artistic activities. We aim to generate greater social inclusion by working with marginalized and vulnerable groups alongside all sections of the community.
It receives project based financial support from local organisations such as Sussex Community Foundation amongst others, and through partnership or sponsored activities. We regularly run reminiscence, creative and heritage activities with older people and BME groups, as well as arts and heritage workshops with children and young people, and curates heritage and arts events with clients such as Fabrica gallery.
Strike a Light has previously been funded for activities of this kind by project grants from Brighton and Hove Council, The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Heritage Lottery Fund, Communities First, The Scarman Trust, Brighton and Hove Food Partnership and EB4U, as well as the Arts Council South East amongst others.
Our projects are predominantly about the importance of local community, the arts and heritage, with the aim of manifesting a community of pride in public ownership, managing projects which improve cultural heritage and engender social development, using salvaged and recycled materials wherever possible.
Strike a Light has public liability insurance up to £10 million pounds and all freelancers and volunteers have fully enhanced DBS (CRB) checks.
Strike a Light have worked as artists and heritage practitioners in a variety of fields for many years.
Primarily in mosaic, but latterly in graphic design, carnival costume and textiles (See Community Art section).
These projects have been with numerous clients such as the Arts Council, Creative Partnerships , V&A Museum, Chichester Festivities, Bow Arts Trust, Cultural Cooperation, Adur Council, Brighton and Hove Council, UNLTD, Scarman Trust, and Groundswell for community art and well-being projects with schools and the local community amongst many others.
Strike a Light has many years experience as community artists working with children and community groups, such as with Croydon Council on children’s summer schemes in 2005 and 2006. Nicola Benge, Creative Director of Strike a Light holds an NVQ level 4 FE teaching qualification which enables her to teach in the community and in Further Education, as well as certification from Cultural Cooperation for working with multi ethnic groups and children in the arts sphere to encourage further integration. She also has arts qualifications in community art, mosaic and other creative arts and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Arts and Heritage Management from London Metropolitan University.
Heritage & Reminiscence
Strike a Light has also worked in the field of heritage through work as Heritage Coordinator with nationwide charity (W)RVS and as freelance reminiscence facilitator for numerous clients such as Age Exchange and Brent Council, with the over 55s and young people to promote heritage and social history exhibitions though oral history recordings, inter-generational activities and reminiscence workshops, resulting in ‘memory quilts’, plays, interactive tea services and a heritage website to record memories of the way we used to live. See www.heritageplus.org.uk for more information about this.
In addition, Strike a Light worked as a contemporary collections curator with the V&A museum, putting together exhibitions of artefacts sourced for the Museum of Childhood. The exhibition ran from 2006 -2008. Previous projects include a partnership oral history project with Brighton Museum and WRVS www.heritageplus.org.uk, a four year project with English Heritage in their Community Outreach department, and experience o the Kingston based environmental arts charity Save the World.
Other work has been with Independent Lives charity on their Speaking up for Disability project, and QueenSpark Books in Brighton. Having finished a Heritage Lottery Funded Lewes based project Ale and Hearty in 2014 about ale and brewing, we piloted a short term programme called Breaking Bread (2015) in Brighton, celebrating bread, baking and Sussex traditions related to this theme. We are currently working on The Boys on the Plaque project, an HLF funded two year programme with Fabrica gallery and Brighton and Hove Libraries.
Our most recent projects which are just getting underway are Mazel Tov Brighton which helps Jewish Elders in the Brighton area and Remembering Together which encourages Life History Book making as a creative craft experience.