What We Do
Ideas Test is a Creative People and Places project. We work to enable and support communities across Medway and Swale to live more creative lives.
Togetherness and inclusiveness are key to what we do. We succeed by:
- Encouraging productive partnerships and nurturing networks that support community cohesion and creative development.
- Inspiring and celebrating the rich diversity and history of the area by using collaborative commissioning and co-creation models that give people in our local commnities opportunities to shape the projects we do.
- Removing barriers to participation in a creative life, regardless of class, economic background, race, sexual orientation, neurodiversity or disability of any kind.
- Developing the skills of people we work with whether they are creative sector organisations, artists, freelancers or participants.
- Trying new things and sharing our experiences with local and national organisations, inspiring their creative output.
Wherever you live in Medway or Swale, whatever your earnings, age, religion, race, sexual orientation, education, gender, disability or neurodiversity, YOU drive the Ideas Test success.
Who We Work With
Ideas Test works with local councils, other arts organisations, community groups and local businesses.
But our most important partners are the people we work with in communities across Swale and Medway.
Our aim is to create opportunities for local people to:
- Experience, near to where they live, the life-changing moments that theatre, music, dance, art and creativity can bring them.
- Develop a creative career without moving away from their communities.
We focus on 3 target groups:
- We bring free and low-cost activities to families who often feel isolated and not a part of arts and culture.
- Young people are the future of our communities.
- We give them creative pathways and tools to so they have a place in the future of Medway and Swale.
- The lived experience of 55+ year olds means they have a lot to give their local area.
- Getting involved in our projects gives creative opportunities to share their skills and experience with other generations as well as generating a well-being buzz and gaining their own new experiences.
As an organisation, we aim to amplify lesser-heard voices in every project we do.
How we plan projects
Ideas Test works as a team to create projects with organisations, groups and communities in Medway and Swale
Our ideas could be sparked from research we've discovered, an idea from a team member or participant, an opportunity to work with partners, or a funding opportunity that lines up with our values and mission.
We always start with a method of planning called Story of Change and then involve local people from our partner communities and organisations to co-create and develop the project.
Story of Change
This focuses on 4 different areas:
We're doing the project or event.
The changes we envision for people who take part and how this meets the Ideas Test aims.
we're going to do.
The activities, workshops and/or events that make up the project.
We plan to work with.
People are a vital part of all our projects - The people who take part, our delivery partners, our funders and sponsors.
We're going to do it.
What do we need to do to make it happen? This can range from planning workshops to finances.
Ideas Test reviews and monitors everything we do as an organisation, from our day-to-day work to our projects and events.
We call this monitoring 'Evaluation' and we need to do this so we can:
- Understand what effect our project had on local people and communities
- Identify future project possibilities
- Recognise what we could do even better
YOU are important to us. What YOU have to say is important to us. This is why we ask you to fill out a data postcard, or may ask you questions when you take part in one of our projects or events.
We also work with independent evaluators - people outside our organisation who can look at what we do objectively and so you can be honest in your feedback.
Currently, our independent evaluator is Marge Ainsley. She submits reports to Arts Council England as part of our funding agreement.