Guest blog: host a Fun Palace in celebration of community culture

Fun Palaces supports communities across the UK to co-create local cultural events. This year's Fun Palaces weekend is 5-6 October, and your music group can take part. Stella Duffy, Fun Palaces Co-Director, explains.

What is a Fun Palace?

A 'Fun Palace' lasts anything from two hours to a full day and people come together to offer taster sessions of their skills or hobbies. We welcome experts and enthusiasts to share or teach their enthusiasms and passions with their own community. Our definition of 'culture' is whatever helps people connect, including arts, sciences, craft, tech, digital, heritage and sport. Fun Palaces are as different and distinctive as the places they happen and the people leading them.

How does it work and what could you do?

It works like this. Someone shares their love of music by offering to teach a few bars on the guitar, another person teaches some tap dancing steps, someone else shares a passion for wildlife photography, an astrophysicist helps others learn more about the universe, and the karate club shares some simple skills. At the same time: 

  • neighbours talk to each other. It can be hard to start a conversation at the bus stop, but if you teach me a simple crochet technique, we sit down with a chance to chat.
  • sporty people might turn up for the kickboxing workshop and, for the first time ever, be encouraged to play a note on the violin, perhaps realising they could contribute to their local orchestra or band.
  • someone watches their friend's orchestra playing and sharing some techniques and realises that they too have a skill they could share at next year's Fun Palace. 

Fun Palaces

©Uslan Cevet

We have seen a huge array of music workshops, from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to guitar lessons, ukulele flashmobs, drumming workshops, dozens of choirs, as well as sea shanties, forest singers, cover bands and karaoke. 

You can make a Fun Palace as an organisation, as a group or simply as an individual who wants to co-create something in your community. You can also offer your own group to a local Fun Palace – it's a great way to share the brilliant work you're already doing.

We support participants with a toolkit of useful information including template press releases and risk assessments, 50 free posters or flyers for every Fun Palace, workshops to help communities organise their event, support on the phone, connecting with experienced Fun Palaces Makers, and national PR shining a light on the brilliant activities.

Find out more about Fun Palaces here, join in with a local one already set up, or leap in and sign up to make yours!