The arts, but not as you know it, in Barking and Dagenham.

Creative Barking and Dagenham (CBD) is a six year project (2014 - 2019) for people living, working and socialising in Barking and Dagenham.

The mission of CBD is to enable local people to create, commission and curate outstanding arts and creative activities in their areas, and to promote the borough as a place where exciting art - of all forms - is made and shown.

At the heart of the programme is our Cultural Connectors network - an open and growing network of over 150 local residents who are the decision makers and advocates for CBD.

CBD is core funded by Arts Council England's Creative People and Places programme and supported by Barking and Dagenham Council.

The project is overseen by a group of organisations and individuals with a proven commitment to Barking and Dagenham and a real ambition for the borough's arts scene. These are: Studio 3 Arts (the group's lead organisation and CBD's office HQ); Barking and Dagenham Council, Barking and Dagenham CVS, Barking and Dagenham College and the Barking Enterprise Centre, four local residents from our Cultural Connectors network (Jacqueline Otite, Susanna Wallis, Khushnood Ahmed and Robin Dixon) and Tahlia Coombs, local resident and heritage expert.

One of the objectives of CBD is: To empower the public to make decisions about cultural provision.

This is achieved through steering group meetings and decision-making panels, in which all choices about the CBD programme are made by the Cultural Connectors, working alongside artistic advisers and local stakeholders.

Click here to find out about our processes for steering groups and panels.

About Creative Barking and Dagenham

CBD commissions high quality, ambitious, locally-owned, art projects across Barking and Dagenham, and especially in areas with little cultural provision. We are now in Phase 2 of the CBD programme and this is the vision for the next three years. Between 2017 - 2019 we will,

  • Create over 80,000 opportunities to engage with arts and culture.
  • Deliver 8 festivals reaching 22,500 people and offer 40 commissions to local organisations to develop their own work or project at these
  • Set up 3 adult art schools offering high quality activities weekly
  • Manage a new partnerships funding scheme offering match funding to organisations who share our vision and can convince our Cultural Connectors that their idea is right for our programme
  • Double the size of the Cultural Connectors network to over 250 local people
  •  Offer 24 REACH awards to support high quality arts activities to be offered at community events
  • Provide 2,000 residents with an arts and cultural experience through our highly successful trips initiative
  •  Work with local cultural providers to develop a resilience programme that will strengthen partnership working and individual organisations
  • Share CBD as an example of what local people can achieve working with artists more widely: with over 10,000 arts professionals both nationally and internationally

In the first 3 years of the CBD project, between 2013 -2016:

  • 850 different creative events, workshops, and activities have taken place.
  • 36,000 opportunities to attend or participate in the arts have been taken up in this area.
  • Local Cultural Connectors have voted on the kinds of projects they would like to see here and have been involved with commissioning every artist we have worked with; there are now more than 150 local people signed up as Cultural Connectors.
  • 1,765 volunteers have given their time to help us create great arts experiences.
  • 30 venues across the borough have hosted CBD projects, events, performances, and exhibitions.
  • 80 community groups have been involved in our programme.
  • Over 250 artists and arts organisations have worked with us.
  • 45 different projects have received £470,000 of funding between them. 

Take a look at the magazine we produced showing the result of the first two years of CBD. To find out more about the project and to keep up to date with up and coming events and opportunities contact us or visit our Facebook page. 


Lindsey Pugh - Executive Creative Producer

Premlata Mistry - Community Engagement and Audience Development Manager

Sophie Merriman - Administrator and Projects Manager

Liza Vallance - Project Lead

Grace Duggan - Cultural Connectors Co-ordinator