To avoid too much repetition, this evaluation page concentrates on the practical delivery of the project and includes strengths, weaknesses and lessons learnt as well as a host of perspectives from participants, project partners and from myself, Suzanne Carter, as Project Manager.

Where more detail is given elsewhere in this site, you will be signposted to it – but please come back to read more!

I thought a great place to start was at the end! So, working back from the project finale event on 14 July 2011 at Artspace, and some post-project evaluation from participants – here are just a few of the things people said about the project:

 “Great to celebrate local heritage, especially with input from local people. Excellent!”

 “”What a super brilliant outstanding project! Thank you. I promise to take your work to the Partnership to influence their work!”

 “A fantastic conclusion to an inspiring project that has broken the mould. Thought provoking and a real eye opener!”

 “Brierley Hill is my home town. Great. Keep up the good work”.

 “I think it has been a worthwhile project and it would be a shame for it to end because there will be nothing like to move on to. There needs to be something to people it to keep people together”.

 “I think it could bring a lot of community spirit back if there were more projects like this”.

“Dudley Arts Council has been proud to be part of this important project where local people and their voices have been heard and recorded. The original art work, drama, film and written documentary evidence that has been created and collected by local people of all ages and will live on for many years to come.”

 It’s wonderful to get feedback like that. So, how did we get to this point?

What were the aims of the project?

The first was to give a greater opportunity for local people in Brierley Hill to help shape the future of the town’s design by contributing their thoughts, ideas and creativity about what makes the town distinctive and special.

The second main aim of the Brierley Hillness project was to demonstrate that using creativity and heritage as a starting point you can consult with people of all ages about where they live; helping them to express how they feel about the area, and motivating them to have a say in its future.  Read more about the aims of the project and concept of Brierley Hillness.

Who got involved in the project?

Over 1000 local people of all ages contributed in some way to our understanding of Brierley Hillness; 361 people were directly engaged as participants; 70% of these participated in a creative learning activity. 380 people attended events and a further 274 people took part in survey work, giving their thoughts and opinions about the town, with a focus on their perceptions towards the historic environment. Read more about participation and the people we engaged with.

How did the project partnership work?

There is a real strength in partnership working.

It was perfect timing setting up the Brierley Hillness project at the same time that Dudley Arts Council and the Adult and Community Learning Service at Dudley MBC were planning the transformation of an empty shop into their second Artspace in the Borough – just off the High Street in Brierley Hill!  Read more about how the project worked and the strengths of collaboration.

What lessons did we learn?

As a professional working on projects to engage communities with heritage, this has been a really interesting one; we used nine different approaches to get people talking about the town.

It’s fair to say that our engagement with some people was fleeting, and not always ‘meaningful’ or ‘sustainable’; there were a lot of ‘one-off’ taster sessions as well as more intensive work spread over a few weeks with some groups. Read more about the practical lessons we learnt through delivering this project.

What was the most effective way of marketing the project?

We were really pleased with the Brierley Hillness project brand we created. I had never used a professionally designed  ‘brand’ or ‘style’ for an individual project before, but I think in this project, where there were so many different elements to coordinate, it was useful to bring them all together under a banner. Read more about our marketing campaign.

What did it all cost?

We have included an outline budget for our project. This can sometimes be useful when budgeting for further projects. Read more.


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