Grimsby Festival
Research and Development Project

CultureWorks is currently leading on a ‘research and development’ phase for a Grimsby Festival, supported by Arts Council England and set to celebrate Grimsby’s place in the world.

The consortium has undertaken a programme of work laying the foundations for a large-scale collaborative festival for the town, incorporating a range of themes.

The R&D has to date brought together local, regional and national cultural producers, artists and community stakeholders in order to establish a vision, framework and delivery plan for an ambitious, contemporary combined arts festival, that strategically delivers on ‘Place’.

Draft aims of the festival in line with local strategies are to:

  • Raise the profile of the region
  • Increase local arts capacity, engagement and participation
  • Contribute to economic development and health and well-being outcomes

Managed by CultureWorks, the R&D phase will:

  • Help the consortium and wider partners to decide how best to approach delivery of a significant large-scale festival
  • Explore potential artistic content including the commissioning of new work (local, national and international)
  • Deliver a phase of artistic activity and community engagement
  • Strengthen local historical knowledge
  • Produce a festival development plan including a fundraising strategy and audience development plan, readying us for a festival delivery
  • Strengthen local historical knowledge

As part of the artistic engagement activity, three Northern artists were invited to work with CultureWorks to explore local themes – these include Place, Heritage and Grimsby’s Founding Story

Project 1
Large Scale Puppet Making

Renowned Parade specialists Handmade Parade worked with students from the Skills Hub study programme in Freeman Street, to develop and create a giant puppet.

The workshops included open discussions about Grimsby’s past present and future and the collaboratively-created puppet developed into a Viking Fish that represented Grim coming back to Grimsby to ‘see what it was like now.


Project 2
Wayne Sables – Heritage Voices and Contemporary Opinion

Culture Works commissioned film, digital and dance artist Wayne Sables to engage with local people in a range of community group settings and to create a film installation inspired by his findings.

Wayne discovered huge passion for and pride in the town and drew out strong reminiscence of the fishing industry.

Project 3
The Sound of Grimsby – Maja Bugge

A group of 10 local children worked with improvisational Norwegian cellist Maja Bugge to capture the ‘Sounds of Grimsby’. Supported by a local artist, Maja Bugge led a walk in the area to Town Centre spaces, when the children were encouraged to listen and record the sounds they ‘found’.

These found sounds formed the basis of a new composition created by Maja and performed at Freeman Street Market, in a sharing event where Wayne’s installation could be viewed alongside the puppet.