The Burnley Creative Alliance (BCA) is an informal network for artists and creatives of all disciplines, facilitated since 2007 by Burnley Arts Development at Burnley Leisure. Our community is made up of 300+ active supporters and friends, and has been growing steadily for the last 10 years.
We have a voluntary steering group of artists from the network who meet monthly to plan events in the town, build partnerships regionally across the arts and assist each other in continuing our professional development.
BCA has taken the lead in delivering Burnley’s annual Light Night festival, the town’s first co-ordinated open studios (Openings), professional development workshops (Fire Up) and has just commissioned a report into Burnley’s creative potential (Burnley is an Art Festival).
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Bursting with creativity!
Burnley Is An Art Festival
It was created as a part of Burnley’s first open studios weekend in September 2019, off the back of dozens of responses and discussions with local creative practitioners.
The resulting ‘Cultural Narrative’ is a first step towards understanding what artists and makers really need to create an impression in the town, in terms of support, resources, infrastructure and opportunities. It also asked audiences what they wanted to see and what they already enjoyed locally.
There are a few recommendations and links at the end of the report. There is much more to be done before these ideas can create a joined up and cohesive strategy, but we think it’s an important step towards giving Burnley’s artist community a leading voice in the town’s identity and potential creative economy.
The report opens in another window and can be downloaded as a PDF.
Journey into the Night Sky
Light Night is an established feature of Burnley’s calendar, with artists, musicians and the whole community coming together to take over the streets with colour and light!
Now entering its 4th year, Burnley’s Light Night is proving to be a real crowd puller with an estimated participating audience of over 2,500 cramming into the town centre. It is a significant contributor to the town’s growing grassroots creative community, lead entirely by the Creative Alliance and local artists from the town.
Light Night is initiated annually by Burnley Leisure and Burnley Creative Alliance, with funding from Arts Council England. Its success is built on an ongoing collaboration with our neighbours at Handmade Parade and regular support from Charter Walk Shopping Centre, Burnley Borough Council and the Central Library.
To stay in touch with all things related to Burnley Light Night, visit and like our Facebook Page for the Lantern Squad.
Openings – Burnley and Padiham’s first ever co-ordinated open studios – drew over 70 artists and makers who threw open their doors for studio visits, workshops and special events. This was the first time in many, many years, that the creative community came together and organised its own open studios.
The event – hopefully the first of many – took place in September 2019. Burnley Creative Alliance were supported by Arts Council England, Burnley Leisure and dozens of local businesses and venues, making the weekend such a brilliant success.
Burnley Central Library, Burnley Mechanics, Transform Crafts, One Sixty, Gawthorpe Hall, Mooch Cafe, Burnley Youth Theatre and Towneley Hall.
Including contributing artists and performers:
Winston Plowes (poet in residence), Amy Lee Tempest, Jai Redman, That 0282 Place, Hannah Whitlow, Kayt Hughes, Phil Evans, Glassmonkey, Daisy James, Hannah Kay, Jane Richmond, Sophie Gibson, Pendle Crafters.
Change is the Only Constant!
The Changing Exhibitions gallery has been recently refurbished with generous support from Arts Council England. Exhibiting artists are welcome to submit proposals for exhibitions in summer 2021 to Burnley Creative Alliance.
Burnley Mechanics’ Summer School
Burnley Leisure and Arts Development have run annual Summer Schools for budding young artists and performers from Burnley Mechanics for a number of years.
The School is hugely popular with many returning year after year for a week of creative fun and activities.
Usually the Summer School happens in August for a week and is open to children aged 7-11 years. The school is hosted by arts professionals from Burnley Youth Theatre and the Creative Alliance.
Ignite Your Creative Career
Burnley Creative Alliance is proud to be involved with Fire Up, an ongoing series of 8 (so far!) professional development workshops for artists at Burnley Mechanics.
The Sessions are popular and always over-subscribed, drawing participants from all over the North West.
Fire Up is part of an ongoing programme of work led by Burnley Arts Development to improve opportunities for artists locally and develop the town’s arts offer. This includes micro-commissions for local artists, PowWow networking socials (hosted with partners Creative Lancashire) and 1-2-1 surgeries with industry experts.