The Albany are excited to be a part of Here and Now, a nationwide project led by Future Arts Centres and supported by Arts Council England, marking the National Lottery’s 25th birthday.

Here and Now will examine communities’ hopes and dreams, aspirations and fears. Many participating venues will be looking at the role of the arts centre in a community, as a hub, as a space for expression, as an arena for discussion and reflection. Throughout 2020 there will be exhibitions, performances, parties, installations, films, food and more popping up around the country, telling the story of the place and the people, and celebrating the impact arts and The National Lottery has had and could have on community life. Click here to find out more about the Albany’s Here and Now project, A Question For The People of Deptford!

​With artworks as wide-ranging as an immersive Midlands Asian wedding experience to explorations of the concept of “home” for disabled and D.deaf communities, Here and Now is a hugely diverse project that establishes a new democratic template for arts commissioning, moving away from top-down approaches and towards a level playing field, so everyone can feel involved in arts and culture.

The initial brief for artists and arts centres was created during a week-long residency in 2019. A diverse group of renowned artists, representing varied artforms and communities, developed a creative framework for the programme, see below for the video brief they created.

The brief was then sent to the 40 arts centres across England, each with a genuine connection to their local community and a focus on cultural democracy, integral to their sense of place. Recognising the power imbalance in the traditional commissioning process, the Here and Now brief begins a process of handing over power and challenging centres, artists and audiences to try something new.

Here and Now promises to be the most representative large scale art project ever seen in England, with 45% of projects led by artists identifying as working class, 28% led by artists from BAME backgrounds, and 17% of projects led by disabled artists.

Trust builds successful communities. With Here and Now, you will find something beautiful, new and unexpected. You may know someone who was involved in making it. You may have heard about it from someone you know and trust. You may experience a unique local occasion. All of these things will have come from your community, from people and places to whom you can relate. Here and Now will only ask that audiences are open and honest. The projects work under the idea that everyone involved should not be “grateful”, but truthful.

Gavin Barlow, CEO and Artistic Director of the Albany, alongside Annabel Turpin, CEO and Artistic Director of Arc Stockton are Co-Chairs of Future Arts Centres, a network committed to championing the unique importance of arts centres at a local, regional and national level.