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Project information

The Holburne Museum: Art in the Community

Getting involved with creative activity is fun & rewarding: it can encourage confidence, develop skills, improve self-esteem & change lives. The Holburne’s Art in the Community programme offers art and volunteering activities to people who don’t normally have the opportunity to engage with art

The project is an ongoing part of the Museum's daily work

Charity information: Holburne Museum, Bath

Holburne Museum, Bath logo
  • Need


    Bath is viewed as an affluent area, but within it there are polarised communities with a real and urgent need. People who are long-term unemployed, older people living alone, young people with low academic achievement or homeless people. People who may not usually engage with the cultural and work environments of Bath due to a lack of confidence, isolation, no formal work training, undeveloped skills or a perception that 'it is not for them'; leaving them feeling disconnected from society.


    The project addresses some of these issues by giving people the opportunity to develop their own creative art skills, develop leadership skills, improve employability and enable them to make new connections in their own lives and with new people.

    The Holburne has seen through previous community projects with vulnerable people that involvement in art and volunteering can have a real and lasting impact on the lives of participants.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Offer people access to creative art activity not normally available to them


    » Run weekly, free creative art workshops for homeless and recently re-housed people at the Museum and local homeless shelters for a year
    » Run taster workshops leading to regular free art workshops to other isolated communities and vulnerable groups of people in the Bath area
    » Exhibit artwork created by participants at the Museum, as part of Bath arts festivals, in the Bath library, and at support and community venues

    What success will look like

    Success will be...50 homeless people taking part in workshops and exhibiting their work

    Aim 2

    Give people the opportunity to improve their employability and work skills


    » Develop skills for the workplace, commit to regular attendance, observe timekeeping, and interact with the public by volunteering at the Museum
    » Agree clear work plans and tasks that respond to identified areas for personal and work based skills development
    » Following volunteering the Museum can be a referee for participants apply for jobs

    What success will look like

    Success will be... vulnerable young people becoming community leaders

    Aim 3

    Reduce isolation and improve mental health for older people and people living alone


    » Through the opportunity to take part in creative art workshops
    » By offering volunteering at the Museum that enables people to break their daily routine and meet people
    » Volunteers will evaluate their experience in terms of practical outcomes and personal wellbeing
    » Work with other organisations to provide art activity and access to volunteering for their isolated and vulnerable clients

    What success will look like

    Success will be... homeless people and vulnerable adults volunteering at the Museum and able to use the experience to apply for paid work

    Aim 4

    Improve public tolerance and understanding of issues around homelessness and isolation


    » Hold Art in the Community exhibitions of participants artwork at the Museum, public library and as part of Bath arts festivals
    » Participants by choosing the themes for these exhibitions will gain a voice in the wider community to express their feelings and stories
    » Participants who volunteer will work with other Museum volunteers allowing them to develop relationships with people they may not normally meet
    » By celebrating the creativity participants through exhibitions and public artworks

    What success will look like

    Success will be... older and isolated people volunteering and as a result will have shown an increased personal sense of wellbeing

  • Impact


    Through similar projects that use art to create change we have seen long term impact and success. Now we want to offer the opportunity to more isolated adults who need and want change. “We have noticed a reduction in disruptive behaviour among some of our younger service users once they have engaged with the Holburne’s art project. Levels of trust are increased. One particular client has opened up about their mental health issues and is accessing ongoing support” Matt Hana, Julian House Shelter


    The transient and volatile nature of vulnerable people’s lives means that some attend regularly for a period, whilst others come and go. We have reduced this risk and increased commitment by fostering close relationships with partners and by offering activities regularly over a sustain time period. This way people trust the Holburne to be there for them and as a result we generate a higher level of commitment with difficult to reach groups and create lasting results.


    We will invite funders to see exhibitions, unveilings of public artwork and inform them of inclusion in festival programmes via email updates. The project will also feature in an annual Learning and Communities Report with case studies of the people who have taken part.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £22,300

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      Amount Heading Description
      £10,000 Community Coordinator Running the community project and art workshops, plus training and expenses
      £2,300 Professional artists To run master-classes at workshops introducing new artforms
      £2,500 Education & Outreach Officer Manage community co-ordinator and oversee activity
      £3,000 Exhibition marketing & staging Presentation of exhibitions and promotion materials
      £4,500 Workshop materials & food Art materials for workshop, public artwork and food for participants
  • Background


    Workshops will be held at the Holburne’s community space (The Gardener’s Lodge) and at community centres and day centres in Bath. Volunteering will be offered at the Museum.


    People who have similar needs having found themselves disconnected and/or lacking confidence through:
    - Being homeless or those recently re-housed
    - Being older - residents of retirement age and above, many of who live alone
    - Looking after young children
    - Young people who have low academic achievements
    - Isolated people living in disadvantaged areas

    Beneficiaries will come from across the Bath region.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Holburne’s long and developed experience of running community art projects and volunteering activities has successfully engaged those who might avoid formal learning or training. The projects provide friendly and unthreatening routes into social interaction and skills-building for vulnerable people by being enjoyable and giving participants the chance to improve self-esteem, engage with others outside of their immediate community and develop skills.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Education And Outreach Officer

    They will manage the project, working in partnership with organisations working with vulnerable adults and young people

    Spencer Hancock

    The Holburne’s Visitor Services & Volunteer Manager will develop and monitor work plans for volunteers.