People United have an incredibly simply goal; to create a more kind and caring society through the arts. In our society, it sometimes seems difficult to ‘be kind’ despite how easy it should be. People United, founded in 2006, are a charity that not only celebrates and demonstrates kindness through art, they also explore how art can help spread the values of kindness through thoroughly researched ideas and principles. They commission artists and work with groups and individuals on creative projects, they support artistic endeavours, create research and can help change communities.
It’s a big thing, to say that you’ve helped change an entire community, but People United have helped to completely transform Newington, Ramsgate. They were approached by a resident-led group in Newington to develop a large-scale participatory arts project, The Best of Us. The Best of Us was a three year project that helped those within Newington express their best characteristics through a many different artistic activities (such as film, photography, dance, sound, song and urban art). During the Summer of each year, People United and various bodies within Newington helped to put on Best Fest, a wondrous showcase of Newington and their talents (this ranged from various crafts, choir singing and a Kindness Investigatory Sensory System). There was also a short film produced about The Best of Us project created by Tim Knights which can be viewed below.
People United, despite their national and international impact, have an incredibly small team including founder, Tom Andrews, Chief Executive, Tina Corri as well as Frances, Becky, Sarah and the ever growing number of volunteers! They are all based in the Canterbury Innovation Centre on the campus of the University of Kent, Canterbury. Having personally worked with People United, I know the amazing work that these individuals put in to each project that they do. Last year, I helped People United put on a 24 hour arts marathon to help raise money for their upcoming arts projects. Not only did a majority of the team and artists participate in artistic activities (and making a wonderful art zine) for the entire 24 hours, we also raised over £2,600.
On the 22nd of September, People United launched their new research report at Tate Exchange. This report drew upon the 10 years of experience and research that People United had conducted in order to prove that the arts can lead to kindness and therefore change lives. Having been a volunteer at the report’s launch, it is clear how much of the research that went into that report is in the People United team themselves. From the volunteers to the staff to those who they help, People United treat everyone they work with like they are part of the family. To view the research report ‘Changing the world through Arts and Kindness’ click here: http://peopleunited.org.uk/res…
But this isn’t written from an impersonal point of view, People United are very important to me personally. They’ve helped me grow and change over the past couple of years, and it’s crazy how quickly that family connection builds with them. If anyone reading this ever gets the opportunity to work with People United, jump at the chance!
For more information about how the arts can help spread kindness, or to get involved visit: peopleunited.org.uk