Words: Rosie Clark
Photography: courtesy of Warren Draper, Rachel Horne & Rosie Clark.
I’ve started this piece about 10 times now and honestly don’t quite know where to begin. It’s a really weird time and there is a huge feeling of loss and grief rippling through the creative industries right now so it feels a bit callous and crass to shout about a life line and opportunity Doncopolitan has been given, but that’s what this is for us, a lifeline. We got the news that our Emergency Arts Council Funding application was successful last week. Receiving this news felt very different to a usual funding decision. It was complicated, relief mixed in with joy and then a very quick follow up of overwhelming and utter guilt. We know that this fund comes with a lot of responsibility and we take this very seriously. Without this fund Doncopolitan would have had to cease all activity during the lockdown period and for months following, we probably wouldn’t have made it. Due to the current model of arts funding in the UK, Doncopolitan has had to work from a project to project model, meaning if we don’t have any activity or a particular commission or project we have been able to successfully fundraise for, no one gets paid and we have no way of really creating a future strategy and development plan for the organisation creating a hand to mouth work environment. We hope to find time to work on this over the next 6-12 months.
Over the past 12 months Doncopolitan has had a bit of a re-shuffle, it’s been hard and for more background on this please listen to Rachel Horne’s podcast ‘Sounding the Horne’ made with Raj Madaan. (https://anchor.fm/soundingthehorne)
I met Rach when I started at Cast nearly 2 years ago and pretty much instantly knew I respected her and wanted to help Doncopolitan, we’ve become friends and now have the opportunity to work together on this next stage of the organisation. Rachel is an incredible human, she’s passionate, driven, determined and creative. At times she has had to navigate the complicated and often top down bureaucratic creative industries on her own in Doncaster. But what Warren Draper and her have created with Doncopolitan is unique, it’s special and deserves to continue. There are 10 years of hard graft, commitment, blood, sweat and tears and achievement ingrained in Doncopolitan’s history.
Warren has been leading on Bentley Urban Farm and this project needs his full time focus. He has also recently launched a Patreon where you can support his work at Bentley Urban Farm and find out about his latest projects.
Rachel has been working at St John’s Hospice for the last nine years alongside running Doncopolitan. She has continued working through the pandemic supporting families to stay connected through art therapy and virtual visiting. In September she will start her MA in Art Psychotherapy at Goldsmiths Uni.
The money we will receive (£24,510) will be used in true Donc fashion to support the incredible talent on offer in Doncaster, to champion, promote and help amazing people doing incredible things in our communities and to celebrate Doncaster’s culture and creativity. Something that has always been evident with Doncopolitan is its loyal following; people love it, we have been overwhelmed with the support and kindness people have shown us not just recently but historically. This emergency funding will allow us to survive as an organisation, to continue working at a manageable level and deliver a digital version of our Doncopolitan Culture Crawl Festival offering paid opportunities to local artists, freelancers and allowing organic and genuine creative collaborations to take place.
This emergency Arts Council funding will allow us to survive as an organisation, to continue working at a manageable level and deliver a digital version of our Doncopolitan Culture Crawl Festival, offering paid opportunities to local artists and allow organic and genuine creative collaborations to take place. If you’re not familiar with our Doncopolitan Culture Crawl, check it out.
We will let you know what we are up to and how our plans develop via our website and social media. If you have any questions please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel and I will be working with a new core team of creative producers – please meet:
Skaii Bonham – Skaii is a Doncaster based Director and Actor. Her work often has a female focus and theme. She has experience working as a Marketing Officer for Doncopolitan, helping to expand our online following and create new and exciting content. @skaiiblu
Charlotte Felters – Charlotte is a local Producer and supporter of all things creative in Doncaster and beyond. She has worked with Cast theatre and Doncopolitan helping curate and project manage their Culture Crawl Festivals. Charlotte has a unique humour and voice which has secured her a social media following and helped her build connections within the town. @felter_skelter
Bethany Rutt – Beth is a South Yorkshire based marketing wizard; she gets all kinds of excited by audience stats and is passionate about supporting artists and helping them to meet their goals, whatever they may be. She has worked at Cast as Marketing Officer for 3 years. She has vast experience creating marketing and communication campaigns for touring work. @bethlouiserutt
I can’t wait to start working with this incredible team and with an organisation that is truly committed to local talent.
Love & Unity,