With a rebrand comes a story of how and why we got here. This is ours. Whilst the ending might already be spoilt, we want to lay out our journey as an organisation, starting at the very beginning, and give you some context for the decision behind Blueprint Arts.
We began our journey back in 2007, setting up Blueprint: Film Foundation as a response to the lack of arts opportunities that came with living in a rural part of Lincolnshire. From our experience growing up, we understood firsthand how difficult accessing the creative industry was for those without certain privileges, and we wanted to create opportunities for people to engage with things they otherwise wouldn’t.
Our focus was clear; we wanted to provide accessible arts opportunities, and, with our team made up of film and media specialists, it made sense that our projects should reflect our passions and our skillsets. Therefore, a lot of our projects between then and now have been film-focused, working with local community groups and education establishments to deliver filmmaking programmes.
This has been a wonderful journey. And we have had the opportunity to work with some incredible people through our activities. Coaching young people through all steps of the filmmaking process, we have developed short films in a number of different projects, including initiatives with the University of Lincoln, Film Nation Shorts in association with the Olympic Lottery, and Lincoln Film Festival.
We are also incredibly proud of our work with community groups of interest in Lincoln, such as women’s shelters and refugees, which have resulted in short films and multimedia installations.
Branching out of running courses, but in keeping with our film and media focus, we also developed projects such as Hidden Histories – an attempt at making the excavation of local histories inclusive and accessible through an interactive app of video, photographs, narration and text – and Flix in the Stix – a pop-up cinema initiative set up to provide the most rural communities in Lincoln the opportunity to come together and enjoy a film of their choice.
As our organisation and our team began to grow, the scope of our work followed suit. With connections and interest forming outside of Lincoln, we began to work with groups in North and East London, developing our Creative Ways into Work programme.
This project fronts one of our most important principles: that participation in the arts offers not only the space for overall wellbeing and happiness but the development of specific technical, creative and essential skills that are adaptable for a number of different environments. With a focus on employability, Creative Ways into Work looked to support the development of skills in young people that could support them both in the classroom and into the working world.
We started to make connections in different parts of the country, with partners, members of our Board and our team either moving to or based in places outside of our original Lincoln home. As we have always wanted our work to reflect our team, it seemed fitting that our outreach did just that. We began setting up more and more projects in London as well as Lincoln, meeting new communities and building new projects around their interests and needs.
In 2019, we made the decision to relocate the whole organisation down South to Kent. With our team located in different parts of the country, and our outreach expanding beyond Lincoln, we decided that a change of location let us continue to explore new places. At the same time, we would still sustain our Lincoln links through projects such as Flix in the Stix.
As a result, there was a whole new community to begin to understand and work with, and we wanted to remain completely open to what they needed, rather than copy and pasting pre-existing projects. We gave ourselves time to build connections with local groups, and began to plan how we could integrate within the local community.
…And then the pandemic happened. It’ll come as no surprise that it put a humongous spanner in all of our works, as it did with everyone. We had just moved to a new location, raring to go with all sorts of new projects and activities, and then they all had to be put on pause.
However, with an increase of time and space came reflection, and we were able to sit back and consider how far we’d come, and where we were now. We realised that, with a team that continued to expand, all with varied interests and skillsets, our focus had naturally shifted slightly.
We were still running many projects that focused on film and media. However, some of our biggest projects, such as the Japan Festival – a multidisciplinary display of Japanese culture through a week-long programme of workshops, performances and exhibitions – embraced all art forms.
With an interest in bringing a range of projects to Kent, we decided that with the relocation came the perfect opportunity for a rebranding – and there was born Blueprint Arts.
…the beginning, again
Blueprint Arts encompasses all of our interests, skillsets, and plans for the future. We feel it allows us to continue with our film and media focused projects, whilst also exploring other potentials.
We want communities to feel supported in their interests, and we hope that ‘Arts’ provides an open invitation for people to suggest any type of activity they want us to provide.
It is an exciting moment for us, and we feel that this is more than just a name change, but a new way of working and pushing to achieve our shared vision.