A year ago, a small number of Ossett folks gathered in a coffee shop in our town. It was Ossett’s first #tweetup.
Using social media, Ossett Observer had tracked down a handful of like-minded folks who wanted to share our vision of a more creative town. 27 people came to Eller Coffee that night. We shared ideas, we talked about sheep, the town’s history, things we might want to change, things that irked us. We told tales of Ossett School and long forgotten teachers and we wondered why Ossett couldn’t be more like the creative towns of Hebden Bridge, Marsden, Ilkley, Holmfirth, Todmorden, the combined forces of West Leeds and even our near neighbours Morley with their tremendous annual literature festival.
We wanted a town where being creative was commonplace, where those of us working in the arts could practise our craft in our home town. We wanted to raise expectations, created demand and put fire in the belly of everyone who lives works and visits our town. We wanted people to use public and private spaces for things other than shopping … we wanted to meet, chat, philosophise, make, do, craft, share and imagine.
A year on, we have done just that. We’ve held Swap Shops, Run a town-wide yarnstorm project, started a burgeoning Ukulele Club, worked with all 10 schools to deliver the terrific Flock To Ossett project, we’ve hosted spoken word events, music nights, we even invited world class thesp John Godber and his company to our town and he came. We’ve created partnerships with Faceless Arts, Yew Tree Theatre, Telling Tales Theatre, Testing The Razer, Theatre Royal Wakefield and West Yorkshire Playhouse. We’ve worked with local development agency Building Ossett Better, Wakefield Council, Education Ossett Community Trust and received Arts Council Funding for our first major project. We employed 19 artists, worked with over 600 participants and have had audiences in excess of 6000 attending our events.
Now I don’t know about you, but I think those 27 folks deserve a pat on the back.
Tonight (24/10/12) we are hosting a #tweetupdate, we’ll be sharing some of these numbers and our ideas for future and imminent projects.
Be part of it.
7pm at The Red Lion in Ossett.