Create began life as a group of disaffected creatives who understood that the creative potential of Scarborough and the wider Borough was not being fulfilled. So in 1998 we decided to showcase some of the abundant talent in a festival which we called ‘Scarborough Arts Week’.
Arts Week was a great success, with coverage for it being gained in the national press. In 2000 we moved the Arts week into Scarborough Fayre and renamed it Scarborough Fayre Cultural Festival, with a view to ultimately turning Scarborough Fayre into a significant Arts and Cultural festival along the lines of the Edinburgh Festival. At the same time, we changed our name from Scarborough Arts Week to Create, and commissioned some research by Pocklington based Creative Arts Promotions, who consulted widely on our behalf to try and gauge the level of support from funders, policy, and potential partners in our quest to rejuvenate Scarborough Fayre.
From this research it became clear that there was a role for an arts development agency within the Borough of Scarborough with a broader remit than just festival organisation. In fact, Yorkshire Arts (now Arts Council Yorkshire) had defined this area as one of ‘low arts opportunity’, and suggested that Create re-examine its objectives.
In 2001 Create ran a prestigious Year of the Artist project at the Spa in Scarborough; this was a collaboration between Create, Talking Birds (a Coventry based Multi-media group), Hull University Scarborough Campus, and many other local artists. The project was considered a great success and led to Create receiving a development grant from Yorkshire Arts in 2001.This grant enabled Create to start the process of advocating the benefits and practical uses of a vibrant creative sector in the regeneration of the Borough of Scarborough and its communities.
In 2002 Create became an Arts Council ‘Regularly Funded Organisation’ (RFO) which gave the organisation some stability and enabled the organisation to employ a worker part time. This turned out to be fortuitous timing as soon after this, Scarborough was chosen by Yorkshire Forward (the regional economic development agency) to be an Urban Renaissance Town.
Create became heavily involved in Urban Renaissance and was able to shape it's direction by having the capacity to attend enough meetings to argue the case for culturally led regeneration which has now become a central theme in the regeneration of Scarborough and the wider borough.
Create continued to develop events including the biennial Scarborough Festival of Light and also set up the Scarborough Arts and Culture Forum which is a Renaissance action group. The forum still meets regularly and anyone interested in further developing the cultural life of Scarborough can attend.
Create has also been instrumental in setting up the Creative Coast and Digital Network which is a support organisation for creative professionals and businesses operating on the North Yorkshire Coast.
Its remit now stretches across North Yorkshire with the Festivals North Yorkshire and Celebrate North Yorkshire projects which support festival organisers and the voluntary arts respectively across the sub-region.
In 2007 Create became a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee with a voluntary board of directors to steer the organisation.
The first biennial Coastival, a large-scale multi arts festival, was organised by Create in Scarborough in 2009 with a second in 2011. Both were a huge success with both residents and visitors to the town.
In April 2012 Create became a National Portfolio Holder of Arts Council England and in 2014 became a registered charity. Create continues with its work to improve access to and extend participation in the arts.