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Shining a Light on the Creativity of Chesterfield

Kakou and Chesterfield Cultural Education Partnership

Kakou is an engineering social enterprise that aims to bridge the gap between the sciences, creative arts and social wellbeing. We believe that the arts contribute significantly to the artistic, cultural and economic life of communities; building social cohesion, making places special as well as improving the health and wellbeing of individuals.

Kakou was one of the first businesses to move into the new Incubation Hub at the University of Derby's St Helena's Campus. Since then Kakou, has grown from strength to strength.

As well as providing engineering design consultancy, we also deliver regular STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) activities in local schools and community settings.

Last October, we launched our Social Fuse platform to showcase organisations that have STEM expertise and knowledge, and act as a matchmaker between the public, private and third sector to develop joint projects that will engage young people and the general public with STEM.

The initiative reflects a drive over recent years by the education sector, to integrate career-related learning into education in order to address a shortfall in young people with STEM qualifications entering the workforce in manufacturing, engineering and technology-based industries.

We also believe that creativity in education is as essential as STEM, Maths and English, and that its importance has been ignored for too long. Being creative and developing creative skills supports mental well-being and resilience during childhood, adolescence and later life and this should be nurtured.

At the start of lockdown we released our Chesterfield Pride - St. Helena artwork, a giant canvas of the St. Helena campus (home of the University's College of Health and Social Care), made with the help of the students, teachers and staff of St. Helena, and the festival-goers of Chesterfield Pride 2019. Prints of the canvas are available from our online shop, with the proceeds of sales being donated to #ProtectYourNHS - the charity of Chesterfield Royal Hospital. (Pictured above)

During Lockdown, we have been working in partnership with Chesterfield Cultural Education Partnership to deliver workshops and activities.

As a response to the Cultural Education Challenge set by Arts Council England, the Partnership was set up to improve educational, cultural and social outcomes for children and young people through strengthening interaction between cultural organisations (including libraries, arts and heritage) and schools, in places where it is most needed.

Through this partnership, we have run the Fusion Music project – an ensemble of musicians, singers and BSL sign-singers from across Chesterfield and surrounding areas coming together to create a virtual lockdown music group; and we are working in collaboration with the Don Catchment Rivers Trust on their Hidden Heritage Secret Streams project – rediscovering the nature and heritage of the River Rother.

Our new project is A Climate of Change, which runs until March 2021. We’re inviting the young people of Chesterfield to send in their artwork (poetry, drawings, photography, and music) that captures their experience of Lockdown. It’s a chance for them to express how the social, cultural and environmental changes seen over the past year have affected them.

The artwork from this project will be exhibited at our Cultural Lockdown exhibition in 2021, alongside other works produced by the Chesterfield Cultural Education Partnership.

For more information visit:

Words & Image: Kakou


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