Guy Russell talks to Rachel Horne.
So what is culture?
Culture means different things to different people but in its broadest sense, it’s behaviours or rituals that define a particular group of people. You might like opera, northern soul, listening to country music or grime. It’s all culture.
Throughout history we’ve always created and expressed the world around us, from 5500–2350 BC we played drums, danced round fires, painted caves, built and erected stone circles. The way we create as humans defines our culture. For me culture can be anything and we created Doncopolitan to show there’s no such thing as a cultural desert. We were sick of being told that people in Doncaster didn’t get the ‘arts’ and that we didn’t have culture here.
So do you think Doncaster is ready for events like this? Is there a market?
When we started Doncopolitan, I knew it was something that needed to happen but wasn’t sure if it would work. I’ve been supporting and working with artists and creatives in Doncaster now for 8 years. People have been talking about doing an event like this since 2010. It’s long overdue. It’s only going to work if we get it right. There’s an Artwalk in Wakefield that’s really successful. If it can work in Wakey it can work here.
You mention the Artwalk in Wakefield how did that come about?
The Wakey Artwalk was founded by Jonathan Lang who went to the States and was inspired by an arts walk in Chicago (need to check this). He decided to recreate the event in Wakefield, which now takes place 6 times a year. The idea is that artists and creatives open up their studios for members of the public to check out their artwork and meet local people and visitors. It’s basically a chance to see your town or city in a different way, it’s a different kind of night out. People often feel inspired meeting artists, it’s interesting finding out about their artwork. It can be anything from traditional painting to bizarre performance art. It will certainly be a night to remember.
How did Culture Crawl come about?
Basically, I was sat in a few meetings with local businesses where everyone was talking about culture and how important it is for our local economy. I just knew it was the perfect opportunity to push for the event to happen. I’m really excited to be curating an event of this scale that will bring so many people together. It’s about trying to boost the night-time economy for local business too. It also gives businesses an opportunity to get behind local artists through collaborating and commissioning their work.
What date will this be happening?
The first pilot event will happen 23rd of July. We chose this date because it coincides with DMBC’s culture week, summer holidays and university students are back home. It’s a Tuesday night from 5pm onwards so we’d like to encourage people to come out after work, with friends and colleagues, similar to mad friday but not as mental.
Is it a bit risky putting something on mid week?
There’s not much to do mid week so it’s the perfect opportunity to make something happen. It will bring a new vibe to Doncaster that will change many people’s mindsets and open their eyes to the culture of Doncaster. Similar to the Wakefield Artwalk many people will travel so in turn it will make Doncaster a better tourist attraction and boost the local economy.
What will people do on the Cultural Crawl?
People will get the chance to have a look in cultural venues such as Cast, C-View (old Art College) and The Point, these venues are usually closed in the evening so people who work wouldn’t be able to visit during the day. It’s about trying to boost the night time economy for local business too. I know it’s a school night but it will be something totally different. It’s not about getting blindo and waking up with a hangover.
How many venues will it run across?
Hopefully between 15 and 20, so there’ll be plenty to check out. Most art spaces will finish at about 9pm followed by live music in some of the pubs and venues involved. We’re really excited L-Cafe is already behind the event. We’ve got SPzero76 coming up from Bristol painting a mural on the side wall of the cafe. It’s going to be huge. Electro Music is working with Graphic Design lecturer Simon Gnomes on a Blues inspired exhibition with live blues. It’s too early to say but hopefully we’ll be curating two pop-up spaces in empty shops as well. I love curating. Everyone hates seeing empty shops in the town centre so we’re excited at the prospect of transforming a few spaces into pop-up arts venues.
How do I get involved? How to find our more?
If you’re a creative and you’d like to get involved just email email@example.com. We’re always keen to meet new creatives and support how we can. We’ll be publishing regular updates online and producing a Culture Crawl map which will be out in June with our summer issue of Doncopolitan.
Link to the event is HERE