The Ideas Kitchen started as a community project at the Barbican Centre in 2016. It was initially developed to find and support grassroot ideas in the community that can feed into the Walthamstow Garden Party in Lloyd Park. The project was developed alongside a community board of local organisations including BeBop Baby, Gnome House, The Mill and X7eaven Performing Arts.

The Walthamstow Garden Party is the Barbican’s flagship event in the borough and is produced in partnership with CREATE, Waltham Forest Council and a host of local arts & community organisations, ranging from Stow Film Lounge, to Walthamstow Youth Circus, E17 Designers and Wild Card Brewery.

But behind the headlines the event supports and facilitates a year-round programme of activities in the community – like The Ideas Kitchen – which engages local artists, creatives and organisations to develop their skills, ideas and projects in the borough. The Ideas Kitchen creates a safe and supportive environment where local people can pitch ideas to their community, who then vote for the project that they think would benefit their local area the most. It’s the perfect platform for someone to test out a new idea and build up a support network of residents who want to see them succeed. Over the last year, The Ideas Kitchen has supported three local artists including a cartoonist, a family sing-along-band and a didgeridoo player.

As we move into the second year of the project, we are very excited to form a new partnership with Apex Arts, the oldest arts charity in Waltham Forest. This transition will see the Barbican, the Community Board of local organisations and the Apex Arts Board merging together to co-deliver The Ideas Kitchen. In a practical sense, this means there will be more human resource and funding available to support even more local people to develop ideas that benefit the community.

We are proud to have initiated The Ideas Kitchen and to be partnering with such a diverse range of organisations to grow this project into a sustainable offer for the borough. Our long term vision for working in Waltham Forest is to support the local creative sector, to develop quality arts experiences which are accessible to all. The Ideas Kitchen is a prime example of this vision and we are keen to continue our offer support and build on this platform for growth, both within the community and at the Barbican.

Read more about the Walthamstow Garden Party, The Barbican’s community engagement work and Apex Arts.