Arguably the central feature of NH’s success has been the ability to establish close links with and secure the trust of local communities, using a wide and inclusive definition of ‘culture’. External Evaluator’s Report, 2020.
At the core of everything we do is our respect for artists and the communities we work with. We don’t want to ‘bring culture’, we want to work with communities and artists on high-quality creative projects that matter. We are experimental; always trying to learn from successes and failures, and share that learning. We want to extend understanding between people and across sectors.
We know that participatory and community-led art is a highly skilled practice, which not all artists are able, or want, to do. Even if we don’t always know what the end will be, we trust in the skill of artists and the knowledge of communities to get us there.
We recognise that every community is uniquely formed by landscape, place, culture and heritage, and that the people in them are experts on the issues they face. There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ way of working with communities, but building trust and relationships always takes time. We want to stick with people and places for as long as they need, but we also aim to get to the point where we aren’t needed anymore.
You can read more about the principles we work to here: NH Principles