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About Us

About Us

Take A Part is the UK's leading socially engaged arts development organisation. We have been supporting cultural democracy, community led placemaking, social enterprise development and environmental activism with communities experiencing historic and systemic injustice for over 15 years.

Take A Part is dedicated to furthering Social Practice in the UK by testing new models and approaches, developing international partnerships and supporting infrastructures that allow for more access to culture at a grassroots level for communities historically and systemically underserved. At the same time, we focus on a community-first approach to culture, giving communities the voice and skill to create cultural opportunities that are relevant to their lives and build and support their own community ambitions and capacity.

We are experts in engaging people creatively in places, their identity and through investigating where people live and how they come together, we develop audiences for contemporary art and heritage through collective doing, supporting long-term changes to communities.

Our home is Plymouth, where we develop and test our models of best practice, but we work across the UK and internationally to support a larger community voice in our cultural sector. We have worked with large scale cultural institutions, universities, scientists, local authorities, trust and foundations and think tanks to centre communities in practice.

Our genuine processes leads us to co-commissioning exceptional national and international artists and heritage experts to collaborate in those communities and draw attention and therefore support for those ambitions.

If you are interested in how we work, or wish to collaborate with us, check out our Statement of Intent here.

History

Take A Part started in 2006 in Efford, Plymouth, as a series of pilot projects supporting the area’s regeneration. Engaging residents in contemporary art processes allowed for a deep and creative impact into the regeneration of the area - this supported the core aims of the Efford Master Plan by supporting health, young people, skills development, access to green space and physical changes to place. You can read our ‘Efford: Capital of Culture’ case study here.

By 2011 Take A Part had grown, working in other areas of the city, and by 2014 we began to work regionally and nationally to support other organisations, advocate for socially engaged practice and spread our reach.

In 2016 we launched the UK’s first biennial symposium on socially engaged practice, Social Making, establishing ourselves as leaders of socially engaged practice in the South West region and since then, we have developed a successful line of consultancy and partnership commissions across the UK and internationally, supporting local authorities, arts organisations, educational institutions etc to widen their audience reach.

We were part of the Arts Council England National Portfolio for the 2018-2022 period, securing our programme for Plymouth. In 2021, our founder and CEO Kim Wide received and MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List for 'Services to Social Engagement in the Arts' the first time social practice has ever been awarded at this level.

Team Members

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Kim Wide MBE

Artistic Director and CEO

Kim Wide is Founder, CEO and Artistic Director of Take A Part. Hailing from Canada, Kim started her work in museums and collections at the City of Toronto and Government of Ontario Art Collection before moving to the UK in 2003 to work at ArtSway, a contemporary gallery in the New Forest and Kaleido (the former SW Disability Arts Development Agency as Interim Executive Director). She initiated Take A Part with the Efford community of Plymouth in 2008 and the approaches, methodologies an impacts supported this pilot project grew to an national and international programme of work with Take A Part receiving National Portfolio Organisational Status in 2018. She established Take A Part Carlow in 2017 and We Create in 2018 (as well as another 6 grassroots creative enterprises). Kim is a Clore Fellow (2022), a Clore Social Fellow (2020) and an AHRC Awardee. She received an MBE in the 2021 Queen's New Year's Honours List for 'Services to Social Engagement in the Arts' the first time ever social practice has been honoured on this level.

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Gem Smith

Head of Engagement Programme

Gem has worked in arts engagement in Plymouth for over 10 years. Over that time her work has crossed many different disciplines and involved a range of projects as diverse as community radio, public art, theatre, sculpture, mass dance, stone carving, tour guiding and orchestral outreach. Always at the heart of these projects has been a desire to work with people, to support new audiences and communities to experience and enjoy artwork for the first time or to grow their passion for the arts in a new direction. Gem has worked with Take A Part for the last 15 years; heads up Take A Part's engagement work, with a focus on Plymouth and a particular skillset around creative education, community engagement and work with families. In 2022 Gemma won a Marsh Award for Excellence in Visual Arts Engagement and in 2023, on behalf of Take a Part and in collaboration with Prince Rock School, she received a MaxLiteracy Award. She was part of the Extend Leadership cohort during 2023.

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Lucy Elmes

Head of Curatorial Programme

Lucy Elmes née Rollins is a Contemporary Art Curator and Producer based in Plymouth. She holds an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths, University of London. She is a Director of Flock South West and Rame Projects, a Non-Executive Director of Pollenize and the working group lead for Making Things Happen in CAMP. Lucy’s ongoing research explores ideas of how art can be used as a vehicle to support communities through creative processes; tackling important societal concerns. Her current curatorial research is focused on developing a series of exhibition projects that explores Plymouth specific social/economic/political contexts.

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Shelley Hodgson

Community Engagement Producer

Shelley Hodgson graduated from Falmouth University in 2011 with a Distinction at MA in Performance Writing where her research was in voice and performance. She has worked as a Creative Producer with Soundart Radio for five years, a role which focuses on engaging and nurturing children and younger audiences’ capacity for oracy and confidence in creativity. Shelley recently managed a new offer with local government funding to extend this existing outreach offer to teenagers within the local community during school holidays. With ten years of experience delivering family and child centred arts and education workshops behind her, she is excited to explore how these approaches work in Plymouth.

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Anneliese Kesteven

Interim Executive Director

Anneliese studied at University of Winchester and University of Exeter, achieving a BA and MA Performing Arts and a PGCE (Post-Compulsory Education). Early in her career, Anneliese worked at Theatre Royal Winchester. In 2005 Anneliese joined Arts Council England, working in a number of roles before becoming Relationship Manager (Dance in 2010), providing support and advice to artists and organisations across the South West. Last year Anneliese joined Exim Dance as Strategic Operations Lead, a post she held until their closure earlier this year. Since then, Anneliese has established a freelance career as a Creative Consultant (Eunoia Creative Freelance), offering business mentoring, planning and development; fundraising; project management and evaluation; and leadership support. Her work is underpinned by a belief in the importance of compassion & kindness, collaboration and communication in the workplace. In her spare time, Anneliese has volunteered in her local community as a school governor, Academy Trust Director, a member of the town's regatta committee, and Chair of Trustees of a local charity.

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Frances Daykin

Freelance Community Assistant Producer

Frances Daykin is a freelance creative practitioner and artist based in Plymouth.  With a range of international work experiences under her belt, over the last three years Frances has shifted her work to focus on her local community in Plymouth. She is part of FarFlung Dance theatre CIC, delivering creative workshops and conducting evaluation in schools and in community settings. She has worked with Theatre Royal Plymouth and also works at The Box in Plymouth as a member of the engagement team.

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Laurel Miller

Freelance Fundraiser

Laurel is a freelance fundraiser working with culture, nature and community organisations. Based near Tavistock in Devon, Laurel works with organisations across Southwest England. After a 20-year long career in community engagement in the heritage sector, Laurel spent 6 years working for the National Lottery Heritage Fund. She has worked freelance since January 2022. Laurel is passionate about nature and volunteers as Secretary of the Brentor Commons Association which manages 45 acres of rare lowland heath habitat.

Board Members

Mark Leahy

Independent Artist - (Chair)

Zoe Li

Independant Curator

Sarah Bowden

University of Gloucestershire

Sophie Hope

Artist and Educator

Karen Pilkington

Community Coordinator & Community Activist

Jazz Moreton

Artist and Disability Rights Activist

FAQs

Accolades