Influencing and Inspiring


One of the main aims of the project was to find a way that local people could have a voice, and an opportunity to express their thoughts, opinions and ideas.

We found that using creative approaches helped people to articulate these responses as well as allowing them the space to be imaginative and inspiring.

Suzanne Carter, Project Manager, talks about using this creative approach.

Influence and Inspiring from Jonathan Lee on Vimeo.

Submitting the evidence – on paper!

To influence local decision making about design and planning issues we produced a publication called Understanding Brierley Hill.

This is a collection of community responses to the theme of Brierley Hillness gathered during the project. It features original creative writing, audio transcripts of oral history, photographs and artwork. We also present statistics gathered through survey work, and the opinions of people who have associations with the town.

Download Understanding Brierley Hill A Creative Community Response (PDF version) Understanding Brierley Hill plain text version (Word).

Submitting the evidence – on film!

We have also produced a short film called My Brierley Hill which features interviews with people who live, work or shop in Brierley Hill. In the film they express the way they feel about the town today and make suggestions on how it could be improved; they share their aspirations for the town’s future. Watch this film.

Both of these outputs were submitted to Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council’s Planning Team in preparation for the the public consultation on the Urban Design Supplementary Planning Document for the new Brierley Hill town centre in 2012. Letter to Rachel Gandolfi in Planning Policy, DMBC

Dudley MBC have agreed to keep these as part of their evidence base and submit them alongside their Urban Design SPD to future developers and key stakeholders in Brierley Hill.

Principal Planner Nicki Dale gave an illustrated talk as part of the evening events programme we ran.  She talked us through the plans to regenerate and redevelop the new town centre of Brierley Hill, focussing on how the area will be redesigned to allow better integration between the High Street, Merry Hill and the Waterfront. See sections of Nicki’s presentation:  An overview of Brierley Hill’s Urban Design Guidance and An overview and update on Brierley Hill’s Area Action Plan.

Compiling and sharing statistics

We carried out different types of survey work before and throughout the project, focusing on perceptions towards the historic environment.  We have compiled some statistics – a useful tool for ‘influencing’ some people!

Statistics and a selection of comments made by local people are posted in this site so others can reference them; to support their own work or, indeed, funding bids in the future.


A publication showing all the statistics produced is available to download. Brierley Hill Survey Work and Statistics 2011.


The past inspiring future sculptural designs

Understanding Brierley Hill has also been requested by the artist commissioned to produce a sculpture for the Stourbridge Art and Design Centre opening in Brierley Hill in 2011.

The content generated through Round Oak Reminiscence Sessions is being used to inspire the Round Oak Memorial Sculpture design by Borough Artist Steve Field. See Steve’s initial designs for the memorial.

Inspiring professionals working in Regeneration and the cultural sector

We have compiled a Community Engagement Toolkit based on the project case study. This is aimed at professionals working in regeneration or town planning, but may be useful for anyone looking to engage and consult with communities using arts and heritage.

We hope that the lessons we have learnt through this project will enthuse and support other professionals working in regeneration areas to approach consultation in a creative way – the benefit of which can be a well-articulated, imaginative and inspiring response.

Download Approaches to Community Engagement and Lessons Learnt for a slightly extended and print ready version (PDF). Download a TEXT ONLY VERSION Approaches to Community Engagement and Lessons Learnt (Word).

What next?

Watch this space…


2 Responses to Influencing and Inspiring

  1. Pingback: Brierley Hillness website now LIVE | Brierley Hill Blog

  2. Lindsay Newton, Chair of Dudley Arts Council, July 2011 says:

    The Brierley Hillness project has revealed how important Brierley Hill and Brierley Hill High Street is to many local people. They want their local town centre to be safe, clean and useful. They want to be able to access the shops and facilities easily and they want future planners and developers to listen to their needs and views when deciding what to do next. There are many important and impressive buildings which mark the unique history and character of the town and local people want these to remain and be preserved.

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