Celebrating 20 years of Create

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As Create celebrates its 20th anniversary, Chief Executive Wendy Holroyd reflects on its triumphs and troubles and on what’s next for the Yorkshire coast’s champion of the arts…

Scarborough’s arts scene in the 1990s was, a little like Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, full of talent and with stories to tell, but without direction.

Enter stage left, Scarborough Arts Week, a first stab at showcasing the town’s creative talent and the early embryonic stages of what would become Create, an arts development body to give the local creative sector a forum, a direction and a voice.

Wendy Holroyd, Create’s current Chief Executive, explains: “The creative sector at that time was bursting with talent and there was a lot going on, but there was nobody co-ordinating it.

“Scarborough Arts Week was the first thing to try to rectify that and turned out to be a great success and led to more events and activities. Finally, the arts was moving forward.”

Eventually re-named Create in 2002 the group became an Arts Council Regularly Funded Organisation, placing it on a more permanent, rather than ad hoc, footing and enabling it to employ a co-ordinator.

Fortuitously, arts and culture was recognised as being pivotal to Scarborough’s rejuvenation when the town was included in an urban renaissance programme at the start of the new millennium.

This pitched Create centre stage in the renaissance and the organisation grew, notably as a forum for the creative sector and catalyst for events like the biennial Festival of Light.

Wendy came on board in 2007, having been Arts Development Officer with Scarborough Borough Council and with a background and education steeped in the arts.

Her priority was to bring together a festival that would put Scarborough’s arts scene on the map.

“Create had become the glue that held the local creative sector together and we were providing leadership, advocacy and events, but I must admit, with my background in festivals and performing arts, what I really wanted to do, to bring together the creative arts community, was organise a festival,” Wendy adds.

So Coastival became one of Create’s biggest triumphs. An annual, “short, sharp” February arts festival brought an eclectic mix of traditional and unusual arts to Scarborough residents and visitors. The festival has grown steadily in popularity since its first incarnation in 2009 – featuring a headline concert by Feeder - and now attracts thousands of visitors to the main event – held every two years – and only slightly fewer to the mini festival every other year.

For Wendy, Coastival’s success epitomises one of the core values of Create.

“Coastival’s remit was always about bringing the arts to people who might not otherwise experience them and above all, doing so free of charge,” she says. “There are lots of instances where money is a barrier to people enjoying the arts and when it is, they don’t go. Yes, we do have paid events as part of Coastival, we have to, but overall the festival is about making art, in a wild and varied mix of forms, accessible to all.

“I think of all the things that Create has done, bringing the arts to people in a way that money isn’t a barrier, is the thing I am most proud of.”

In its 20 years, Create has faced challenges along the way, the most difficult of which has been funding.

“We are just like so many other arts organisations in that funding is regularly an issue. It is difficult, having wonderful ideas, plans and projects but not being able to see them through because there simply isn’t the money available to do them,” adds Wendy. “That has been the biggest frustration, but we aren’t alone in that.”

She admits to being annoyed that investment in the arts is always the first thing to be cut.

“It clearly isn’t a statutory service and so gets cut before anything else,” she says. “And yet people don’t realise the impact ‘the arts’ in its broadest term has and what a bland, grey world we would live in if we didn’t have it.

“For many, talk about the arts and they think of galleries or of theatre or opera – but the arts are also film, music, television. Cuts to the arts affects those things too, but people don’t realise.”

She also sees creativity as fundamental to current and future technology.

“If you look to the future, art and creativity is central to so much that is changing and shaping our world,” Wendy adds. “Think of computer games, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, art is fundamentally at the core of those things.”

Create reflected this last year when it hosted an attempt by computer game users to create Scarborough in Minecraft as part of Coastival.

Embracing new technology will be a part of Create’s pathway in the future, alongside other new avenues to explore.

“Create will change in the next 10 years as we move forward,” she says. “I think the whole wellbeing agenda will be quite significant for us. The arts are a strong vehicle for wellbeing and we are seeing creative therapies used in all sorts of ways, from aiding mental health to other illnesses too.

“I also see us working more with young people and in particular unemployed young people, and playing a role in giving people new skills.”

Create’s door is always open to helping people set up an arts-based business, an area Wendy says is poorly served.

“There is less and less business advice around generally now and it must be quite daunting for anyone setting out to try to make a living out of the arts. If people are trying to start their own business we can help – from working out a budget, to cash-flows and business plans.”

Geographically too, Create is looking to grow.

“Our remit is for the borough of Scarborough but that doesn’t stop us looking at opportunities further afield, across Ryedale, the East Riding and beyond,” she adds. “We don’t know what is to come – that’s part of the excitement. We must continue to listen to and to work with young people, because that is where the change is coming. But at the same time we must continue to nurture, protect and promote the traditional arts, by giving them a forum, a voice and a festival to showcase them.”

She is positive about the future, despite that ever-present lack of arts funding.

“That has always been the case,” she concludes. “I think some of the best art and creativity comes when times are hard. What we need are more people in positions of power who ‘get it’, who are passionate about the arts and the contribution the arts make to so much of our world. Things would be so much easier and better then.”

In the meantime, Create will continue to be that advocate for the arts as it looks ahead at the next 20 years.

“I’m proud of what we have achieved,” adds Wendy. “But there’s lots more to come, so onward and upwards.”

The ScAMPS are off to university!

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Unique Scarborough music group ScAMPS has got a place at university!

ScAMPS workshops, which bring together disabled and able-bodied youngsters to enjoy music, has just been made a Public Learning Destination for our local children’s university.

Scarborough and North Yorkshire Children’s University, supported by the University of Hull, has recognised the important work ScAMPS is doing in supporting young people to develop their creative and social skills.

ScAMPS has been running for three years, currently meeting at Friarage School in Scarborough.

There, children of all ages and different abilities join in, learning to sign greetings and learning enjoyable, interactive songs and music, under the guidance of experienced music leader Bridget Cousins.

ScAMPS is run under the umbrella of Scarborough arts development agency Create, which is delighted at the children’s university recognition.

Create Director Wendy Holroyd said: “ScAMPS is a brilliant initiative, over the years bringing together a delightful mix of young people with a very wide range of abilities and disabilities who have been able to find common ground in a love for music.

“We are delighted that the work ScAMPS is doing has been recognised by the children’s university so that those taking part can use the sessions towards their children’s university qualifications – which is brilliant.”

Children’s University Learning Destinations are places and organisations which provide high quality learning opportunities and activities known as Children’s University Learning Activities.

The Children’s University (CU) is a national charitable scheme which aims to raise children’s confidence, attainment and aspirations by rewarding them for trying new experiences and gaining new skills. It does this by encouraging children to take part in learning activities outside of normal class times, both inside and outside school.

The Scarborough Children’s University is run by Children’s University Manager Richard Adams on behalf of the University of Hull as part of its ongoing commitment to outreach and aspiration-raising in North Yorkshire.

Participants receive a ‘Passport to Learning,’ via their school, in which they collect stamps, stickers or signatures from both their schools, and from other participating partner organisations, like ScAMPS, – known as Learning Destinations.

Once children collect enough ‘learning hours’ in their passports, they attend their very own graduation ceremony – complete with scarlet cap and gown - at the end of year 6.   This year the ceremony will take place the Grand Hall at Scarborough Spa Complex.

Richard said: “We are very pleased to make ScAMPS a Learning Desitination and to recognise the amazing work Create is doing to engage children of all abilities in a fun, stimulating and educational activity.

“ScAMPS perfectly fits what we are looking for in terms of a high quality learning opportunity.

“The Children’s University is all about inspiring young people to become eager, independent learners: it’s the University of Fun! Those who take part start to realise that learning takes place everywhere, not just in a classroom. It also helps youngsters find the hidden strengths and talents they didn’t realise they had. Our efforts have initially been focussed on schools in areas of high disadvantage but ultimately I’d like to see every primary school in the North Yorkshire involved.”

To attend ScAMPS or for more details, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • ● ScAMPS is run by Create in association with NYMAZ Youth Music programme for North Yorkshire, Accessible Arts and Media, the National Foundation for Youth Music, and Arts Council England.

NYMAZ provides high quality music-making activities for young people who might not otherwise have the opportunity. NYMAZ is the National Foundation for Youth Music’s strategic partner in North Yorkshire.

Over the years ScAMPS has had a range of other funding partners. Current supporters are the Ernest Cook Trust, the Radcliffe Trust and Stronger Communities.

Youth Music: Music-making is life-changing. Every year, Youth Music provides more than 90,000 young people with the opportunity to make music, helping them to overcome the challenges they face in their lives. Our music projects support young people to develop their creative and social skills, make positive contributions to their community and live happy, successful lives.

We know that many young people still need our help. Join us in our mission to give every child the chance to make music. Visit www.youthmusic.org.uk

NYMAZ: NYMAZ is a youth music development charity which champions the transformative potential of music for children and young people. With a passionate belief in the power of music to change lives, it delivers high quality music-making activities across North Yorkshire, working across a wide range of music genres and styles as well as with the latest music technologies.

NYMAZ music projects are focused on raising aspirations, facilitating personal development, improving social skills, enhancing career prospects as well as increasing enjoyment of music and supporting the progression of the musically gifted and talented. In parallel, NYMAZ runs professional networks designed to enable musicians and practitioners to develop their skills and learn from one another. For further information on NYMAZ please visit our website at www.nymaz.org.uk or contact us on 01904 543382 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NYMAZ Early Years Music Network Conference Rescheduled!

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ake Two: We're pleased to confirm details of the rescheduled NYMAZ Early Years Music Network Conference, which was postponed back in February due to heavy snow. 

The conference will be taking place at Scarborough Spa on Tuesday 1 May, from 10am to 4pm.

We were really disappointed to have had to postpone, given the amount of preparation that goes into such an event, but we look forward to being able to deliver the conference in full in May, with our great line-up of speakers and workshop leaders, so that everyone can join us!

For those who have already booked tickets, all delegate bookings will be honoured for the rescheduled conference. If you find you're unable to attend the rescheduled date, do get in touch and we will issue a refund. And there's still time to book a place for those who hadn't already signed up! Tickets cost:

£35 Standard delegate fee
£30 Full members of the NYMAZ Early Years Music Network
£5 Students (student ID required)

And can be booked at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nymaz-early-years-music-network-conference-2018-tickets-40909001926?aff=es2

Up-to-date information about the conference can be found on our website. We look forward to seeing you in May!

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