Community Arts North West (CAN), founded in 1978 is a Manchester based, arts development organisation working in partnership with communities, artists and agencies to encourage, create and produce cultural programmes of work. CAN’s main priority is to create access to cultural production for people that are excluded or on the fringes of mainstream cultural resources.
CAN currently coordinate the North West regional hub, The Greater Manchester Refugee Arts Partnership (GMRAP). This partnership was set up in 2003 to respond to the needs of refugees to further develop their arts activities. Its’ membership is made up of arts organisations, refugee support agencies, public sector agencies and individual refugee practitioners who embrace the evolving cultural landscape of Greater Manchester and who believe in the power of the arts to create change.
In 2005, based on GMRAP’s collaboration Exodus emerged. Exodus is a dynamic programme of participatory cultural productions, working with refugees and host communities across a range of traditional and contemporary art forms.
Now managed by CAN, Exodus has been significant in creating a voice and cultural expression for refugee communities new to the region, as well as generating a national profile and recognition in the field of refugee arts. Its diverse programme includes an annual festival, live band nights, new writing, original theatre and live performance. Exodus also includes training and capacity building programmes which have seeded an impressive range of independent creative projects contributing a fresh, new culture to Britain.
Through the Platforma programme, CAN aims to develop the membership of the Greater Manchester Refugee Arts Partnership to ensure that it is representative of the region and particularly of key artists who have emerged as a result of the Exodus programme. We aim to provide an information and practise sharing hub for the region and to build links with neighbouring hubs for practise sharing and creative development.