Ignite Imaginations is an arts-based organisation that aims to encourage vibrant and creative communities within the city of Sheffield.

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Ignite Imaginations, formerly Art in the Park, is a leading creative arts provider currently celebrating its 10th year of delivering high quality visual arts and creative writing to over 5,000 people annually in Sheffield. Ignite Imaginations run events and workshops using creative writing and visual arts as a vehicle to increase confidence, skill and a sense of community.
Ignite Imaginations is built upon a principle of innovation to bring new, bespoke and ambitious artistic projects and opportunities to communities both rural and urban. This is achieved by working in partnerships with other art-based organisations and artists to create projects that are meaningful, relevant to communities and informed by both partners and participants alike.

Ultimately, Ignite Imaginations aims to leave a legacy in the communities that they work with. This involves delivering community celebrations, exhibitions, publications or temporary or permanent changes for every project. Ignite Imaginations believe in long term and meaningful intervention and activity.

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To help make this a long-lasting legacy Ignite Imaginations offer  ongoing training, support and skill shares to volunteers and artists as well as opportunities for internships, work experience and graduate placements to help make a projects achievements sustainable in the future.

Ignite Imaginations as an organisation works with a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Having worked with over 9000 children and young people over the past 10 years it prides itself on being a learning destination for Sheffield Children’s University and Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Award trained.

When working with young people Ignite Imaginations aims to support young people to pursue their passion or enterprise. Ignite Imaginations aims to increase skill, confidence and aspiration for local children and young people.

An example of this is Sheffield Children’s festival:

For five years Ignite Imaginations have been delivering innovative workshops within schools as part of Sheffield Children’s Festival.

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“From a huge sensory den made with pupils from special schools and behavioural units, 1000 primary school pupils creating 1000 golden polymorph starlings that flew in the Sheffield Cathedral and 1000 model magic nudi branches that swam in the depths of the Winter Gardens,  to 300 fantasy film flowers growing in the Botanical Gardens and 400 poems and stories for all to hear online; we have created art works in collaboration with Sheffield children and young people that have produced professional art installations for the public to enjoy.”
Ignite Imaginations have also worked with over 8000 adults over the past ten years, from older people in sheltered housing schemes to adults accessing mental health services. Ignite Imaginations aims to use high quality art-based experiences to promote a sense of community and pride over where one lives, works and socialises and prove our theory that everyone can be an artist and create something to be proud of! Whatever your age!

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One testimonial of an Ignite Imaginations project in Denby Dale and Penistone stated that:

“…A feeling of community developed – I have got involved in other things in the village through meetings at this group. The sense of teamwork and mutual support developed especially while we were doing the quilt project, we really did turn into the “Denby Dale Textile Girls” So to summarise – I went along not knowing anyone and thinking that I had no creative or artistic skills at all, and I came away with a whole bunch of new friends and the knowledge that playing can be fun, some skills are easy to learn with the right teacher, and enthusiastic beginners can produce something worth looking at….”

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Ignite Imaginations ran a three year project in Denby Dale and Penistone working with over 600 individuals through photography, textiles, visual arts and poetry classes. This project is a great example of Ignite Imaginations mission: ‘to ignite imaginations by increasing access to high quality creative activities.’

I asked Luisa Golob (Chief Executive of Ignite Imaginations) what does ignite imaginations mean to you?:

“It means creative workshops, exploration, opportunities for everyone, meaningful activity, volunteering, supporting artists, celebration. I have been here for 8 years and I love every day of my job…its inspiring and creative for me- even doing budgets!

And what keeps you inspired/motivated in challenging times to keep on working?:

“That the directions, development and delivery is within our control and we as a team can work with whoever and wherever we see fit- we can therefore we flexible and navigate our activity to support communities where we are needed.”

If you are interested in learning more about Ignite Imaginations or would like to volunteer on one of their wonderful projects, the links below may be of some interest to you:

http://www.igniteimaginations.org.uk/

http://www.igniteimaginations.org.uk/get-involved/

With thanks to Luisa Golob

R.M