Arts and Culture
DELIVERING AN ARTS & CULTURAL VISION
Arts and Culture Statements can be seen here on this website
AN ARTS & CULTURAL VISION
The Core Concept
This development plan for delivering an Arts and Cultural vision to the site of the Shoreham Cement Works is in its early stages. So far we have envisioned an arts and cultural offer based on a mix of venues that provide a wide range of attractions.
The core concept is to provide community based activities alongside a national destination for visitors from the UK and overseas.
In 2014 the contribution to UK economy from museums, galleries, libraries and the arts was 5.4 billion pounds (DCMS, 2016). These attractions are what position the UK as a destination for cultural tourism. Minister of State, Ed Vaizey, MP, explains that culture, ‘seeks to ignite the imaginations of young people, kindle ambition and opportunity and fuel the energy of communities’, (DCMS, 2016).
There is evidence to show that cultural life supports positive mental attitudes and psychological wellbeing. The social impacts of sport and culture are wide reaching, according to a recent report, and play a strong role in community engagement and participation (CASE, 2015). The introduction of The Great Place Scheme brings funders together with councils, cultural organisations, universities and other organisations to develop culturally rich programmes in local communities. These new schemes will support Erringham to establish relationships and partnerships with national Museums and Arts organisations.
AN ARTS & CULTURAL VISION
The Culture White Paper, taking full advantage of its location, demographics and motivations, keeping an educated, high spend, demographic.
The Culture White Paper (2016) refers to three specific benefits of cultural development:
- Intrinsic value: enriching peoples lives
- Social value: improving educational attainment and helping people lead healthier lives
- Economic value: the contribution to economic growth and job-creation.
The site could take full advantage of its location
Tourism and the introduction of public spaces and facilities can strengthen the cultural impact and add vitality to the community. The facilities developed for tourism can help build the local community social life and bring a higher standard of living to the area. Tourism supports the investment in historical conservation and preservation of natural resources, which in turn can support the economic sustainability of an area (unep.org, 2016). By raising awareness of cultural sites The South Down Project’s Arts and Cultural Vision can stimulate feelings of pride in local and national heritage.
Additionally, the government have expressed interest in iconic tourist trails on ‘must see’ routes, and a Coastal Trail for the South East that included the site of the The South Down Project at the Cement Works would be well placed geographically to link East and West Sussex, and be central to the South Downs National Park as a whole.
Demographics and motivations
According to a research study that covered the North East, from 10 years ago, visitors to art galleries and museums tend to be of higher social income groups ABC1, with the main age demographic being 35-44 (Mintel 2006 in Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, 2006).
Typical motivations reported by Walker et al. (2002 in Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, 2006) were learning about historical cultures and celebrating heritage. Another key factor reported was that: “People are more likely to attend cultural events at community locations than specialised art venues”, (Walker, 2002 in Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, 2006). This supports the vision of the The South Down Project, providing art aimed at young people and families as well the high-end provision of a municipal art gallery and museum.
The potential to keep an educated, high spend, demographic
In national terms the South East region is the second most prosperous area after London (Brighton & Hove, 2008). If the two Universities of Brighton and Sussex were combined it would represent the fourth largest higher education institution in the UK. This means that every year thousand of students are deciding whether to remain in Sussex to find work or start their own business.
THE CEMENT WORKS SITE AS IT COULD BE
With its huge scale, discreet location and favourable position at the centre of the National Park, the site is ideally positioned to become a high end arts and cultural destination.
AN ARTS & CULTURAL VISION
The Creative Industries, the Funding Model, The South Down Project Arts and Cultural Strategy.
The Creative Industries
“The creative industries, covering a vast range of activities including architecture, design, digital media, culture and theatre production etc., has the potential to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the local economy and is generally considered to be of importance in contributing to the quality of life which gives the city a competitive advantage.”
(Brighton & Hove, Economic Strategy, 2008)
The Funding Model
We propose a mixed funding model, with private and public funded capital, whilst operating costs will be designed from a mixed revenue income providing a sustainable business model. Additional funds for exhibitions, events and education will attract revenue, also offering hospitality and retail to extend the visiting time.
Social enterprises and charities will also seek sponsorship, corporate giving, tax relief, state aid, National Lottery, Arts Council England and private bequests.
The South Down Project Arts and Cultural Strategy
The aim of the Arts and Cultural strategy is to introduce a phased programme of development. The first phase, which would be implemented as soon as the South Down Project had agreed funding and an arrangement regarding land ownership, would incorporate the development of creative studios, artists’ studios and arts and culture events spaces.
These would be supported by a café and a limited retail offer.
The central concept behind this proposal is to initiate the building of a creative industries hub that would attract local makers and artists. Events such as showcasing their work would bring visitors, as well as holding special exhibitions in the art space. The events would support the marketing of the South Down Project’s location as a destination, which in turn would encourage future phased development.
Phase two would focus on a permanent home for a cultural centre to exhibit information about the history of the site as well as exhibitions of photographs about the architecture, wild life, flora and fauna.
Phase three would be the building of the larger municipal art gallery and museum on the main site.
AN ARTS & CULTURAL VISION
A deliverable vision that offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a list of potential amenities.
A deliverable vision for the Shoreham Cement Works that offers a once-in-a-lifetime Arts and Cultural opportunity
At the core of the South Down Project’s Arts and Cultural Vision is the ambition to develop a municipal art gallery and museum that properly and appropriately celebrates the unique landscape and historic site of Shoreham Cement Works, and its role in the landscape, industrial, and social history of the South East, and the South Downs in particular.
The cultural destination created at the Cement Works will be a venue for art events and a catalyst for discussions about the future of the environment. Shoreham Cement Works symbolises modernism. The grey aesthetic reminds us of industrialisation and the major shift in architectural design that took place in the 1930s.
The Arts and Cultural Vision will also acknowledge the major changes happening in society, and our understanding of the environment, at this time. Sustainability is driving a new approach to the way we live, and arts and culture are at the heart of our drive for a new lifestyle.
We must be ambitious about future provision of arts and culture to innovate and push boundaries, and our cultural heritage plays a major role in inspiring new ideas.
The South Down Project will create cultural and social capital for the benefit of both the local community and for visitors to the location and the region. Positioning the site of the Cement Works as a destination for arts, culture and education, the complex will be designed to develop a thriving hub of makers and artists. Special events and a heritage centre will celebrate the landscape and its history. An educational programme will support the creative industry, developing world-class sustainable products for the future of mankind.
In the long term the site will include:
- An International Art Gallery
- An Art Gallery specifically for local Artists and Makers
- A High-End Retail Outlet featuring International and National Artists
- A Heritage Centre
- A Museum
- A Makers Studios and Fab Lab
- Artists Studios
- A Materials Library
- An Exhibition Space
- A Learning Space
- An Auditorium
- Meeting Rooms
- An Education Centre
- Restaurants / Cafés
- Pop-Up businesses and Retailers
- A Kitchen Garden and Greenhouse (on the roof of the café)
- Retail (including the sale of products from the local studios)
AN INTEGRATED CULTURAL OFFER THAT RESPECTS A UNIQUE SITE
Without doubt, the site of the Cement Works is challenging to all its key stakeholders, and only an ambitious and deliverable plan will fully do justice to the site and its surroundings.
The South Down Project is uniquely capable of delivering a high end arts and cultural destination to the site of the Shoreham Cement Works.
The extensive range of influencers, experts and personal that the South Down Project team can bring to the of the Cement Works, means the site has the opportunity to become a world-class destination for arts and culture in the South East.
The size of the site, in combination with the vision and abilities of the South Down Project’s team and advisors, affords a unique chance for the site to fulfil its full potential as an example of innovation in brownfield development.
The Project team have already engaged with a range of influential artists, makers and creators, which has resulted in a number of innovative concepts that work specifically in the context of the Cement Works and its accompanying chalk pit.
An example of this is the 500 seater auditorium which will feature a section of the chalk cliff as one of its walls. This auditorium will have adjacent music and meeting rooms, and its roof will be covered entirely with indigenous down land vegetation.
Elsewhere across the site are a range of custom designed buildings that will educate, and entertain, as well as attract new visitors to the South Downs National Park.
The new arts and cultural destination will feature working spaces for artists and makers, as well as exhibition spaces, Art Galleries, high end Retail, Museums, Education Centres, pop-up Retail and a brand new South Downs National Park Visitor Centre.
THE CEMENT WORKS SITE AS IT IS TODAY
Looking east, showing the deserted and decaying Cement Works and behind it, the deep scar of the chalk pit stretching 1,000 metres into the South Downs National Park.
Arts & Cultural Vision for the Shoreham Cement Works, Status Report, 7th May, 2017.
Arts & Cultural Vision document
The first draft of the South Down Project’s Arts and Cultural Vision has now been completed in the form of this document. The chief purpose of this Arts & Cultural Vision is to act as a catalyst and thought leadership piece for all the key stakeholders and influencers who could either contribute towards, or benefit from, the delivery of a high-end arts and cultural destination at the Shoreham Cement Works.
This document gives an outline of the artistic, cultural, employment, economic, tourist and geographical contexts for an Arts and Cultural destination at the Shoreham Cement Works.
It includes contributions and statements from key influencers in arts and culture, as well as analysis of the potential beneficial implications of bringing such an ambitious cultural scheme to the region.
The South Down Project is currently working with 30 students at Brighton University. The students are studying BA Hons degrees, and under the tutelage of Susan Bishop are writing marketing plans for Events, Retail, Hospitality and Tourism for a high-end Arts and Cultural destination at the Shoreham Cement Works.
They presented their work to the South Down Project in mid-May, and then completed their studies by the end of May.
he student judged to have produced the best work will then be given the opportunity to spend a day with a marketing consultant who specialises in producing Apps for mobile devices. With input from that specialist, and from the South Down Project team, the student will devise and plan an App that will work to publicise the opportunities associated with a high-end Arts & Cultural destination at the Shoreham Cement Works.
We contacted the Tate, and have now had two meetings with Emma Morris, Executive Director of the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, who has been asked to represent the Tate in the context of the South Down Project.
It is the belief of the Tate that the site of the Shoreham Cement Works, positioned as it is between Bexhill, Brighton and Chichester, is identifiable as a “Cultural Cold Spot” in the coastal arts and culture offer of the region.
The Tate operates a “Plus Tate” programme that specifically supports regional arts and culture, and we are working to assist the Tate’s stated ambition of enlarging its footprint in the regions, by supporting the development of new galleries, and enlarging the touch-points of the public with the enormous reservoir of work available through the Tate’s archives.
A permanent collection
We have been advised that it could be beneficial for such a high-profile destination to have its own permanent collection at its core.
Accordingly, we are in the early stages of seeking a prominent Sussex or South Downs based artist who is looking for a permanent location to site their work, and be the “anchor” around whom we could base a permanent collection.
We have already established lines of communication with a select number of well-known artists.
An International Gallery
It is a part of the ambition of the South Down Project to assess the viability of creating an international art gallery at the site of the Shoreham Cement Works.
Through our network of contacts, we are working to assess the appetite and potential for an international gallery, possibly sited in an adapted version of the current Cement Works building.
The intention is to make the site a destination for British, European and International art, fine art, installations, moving image and performance art.
A high-end retail offer
Through the contacts of the South Down Project team, it has been confirmed that a number of artists, art agents and galleries would be very interested in taking space or discussing other opportunities regarding the use of the Cement Works for high-end arts and cultural retail.
Amongst those retailers interested, is the owner of the largest single collection of Frank Brangwyn prints in the world. He also has a huge collection of John Piper and Eric Gill prints, as well as extensive ranges of works by similarly well-known 20th Century British artists.
The retailer in question is personally acquainted with the South Down Project, and has confirmed that if we created a suitable retail space, he would use it.
The Museum of British Folklore
The Museum of British Folklore have approached the South Down Project with a proposal to build their permanent museum on the site of the Cement Works.
The Museum has already had a number of London based shows as well as exhibiting at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne.
Currently, they have an archive but no actual ‘home’, and Simon Costin, their Director, and a well known set builder, has met with the South Down Project team to discuss how such an ambition might be achieved.
The British Folklore Museum have fully endorsed the arts and cultural vision of the South Down Project, and wish to develop a working relationship with the team in order to deliver their Museum. They already have an architect, and a design, and wish to make the building as distinct and innovative as the Award Winning new Ditching Museum.
Rodhus - building new Makers-Spaces
Richard Ainsworth from Rodhus, the successful Brighton based creative hub, is very interested in building new makers-spaces at the Shoreham Cement Works.
His organisation already has a proven track record of acting as a creative hub, with aspirations for a Fab Lab to further encourage innovation and collaboration.
He sees the opportunity at the Cement Works as a chance to expand his ideas to include both new exhibition space and educational activities.
The Phoenix Gallery
As a part of our natural outreach to local arts organisations, the South Down Project team have been in consultation with The Phoenix Gallery, Brighton.
The Phoenix has assisted us by introducing us to a number of individual artists, all of whom are very keen for additional work spaces, as well as new exhibition spaces.
There is an acknowledged crisis in Brighton and Lewes with regard to affordable art spaces. Artists and makers are now being forced out of the market, adding further to the lack of viable studio space, and in particular, any properly built, specifically for purpose.
The South Down Project have met with Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton festival, and he confirmed that in terms of support for the Project from Brighton Festival, we are “knocking on an open door”.
Andrew further confirmed that he saw the Cement Works site as a highly suitable location for the Brighton Festival to hold events, adding that he saw the site being usable both before, and after, completion of a development.
This opens the possibility that the Cement Works could make an early start in establishing itself as a high-end Arts & Cultural destination.
Andrew has offered the South Down Project the opportunity to present our Arts & Cultural vision to the Arts and Creative Industries Commission, Brighton & Hove.
Brighton Fashion Week
Brighton Fashion Week has grown to become Europe’s leading event for breakthrough design talent, attracting young emerging fashion designers from all over the World.
Liz Bishop (CEO), and Siobhan Wilson (Director), Brighton Fashion Week, have met with the South Down Project, and told us that they consider our Arts & Cultural vision for the Shoreham Cement Works would make the site an ideal location to host the Brighton Fashion Week as an exciting “new destination”.
Liz Bishop added that the site would be able to meet the future requirements of Brighton Fashion Week to have a venue which can encompass not only the catwalks but a trade show and facilities for fringe activities.
Photographers, artists and makers
Since the start of the South Down Project over three years ago, the team have discussed our Arts and Cultural vision with numerous photographers, artists and makers, including some very well known, high profile, practioners.
Our vision has met with universal approval, with many photographers and artists wanting to gain immediate access to the site in order to make a record of it in its present condition.
Many are keen to record the site as it is developed, creating a once-in-a-lifetime archive of images and film showing how a deserted rural chalk pit can be transformed into a vibrant cultural setting.
A ‘natural’ site for art & culture
Without exception, everyone in the Art world that we have spoken to talk to wishes to either use the site straight away, or wants to work with the South Down Project to deliver a part of the high-end Arts & Cultural destination.
A range of innovative projects have been mooted, and the South Down Project team will be developing ideas and concepts with a range of key collaborators over the coming months.
We also look forward to reporting progress with a number of organisations who are interested in discussing the opportunities the site offers for culturally based commercial events, including London based events companies who are desperate for the opportunity to run small festivals at the site.
Arts Council England
Through our connections at The Museum of British Folklore, we have been introduced to Arts Council England, who have seen an early draft of this Arts & Cultural vision.
As the national development agency for the arts in England, The Arts Council have taken an early interest in the South Down Project, and have identified that they too believe that the site represents a ‘cold spot’ in the cultural map of the South East.
Early discussions with the Arts Council have been very positive, and we are now working with them to explore ways of developing a strategy to deliver an Arts & Cultural offering to the Cement Works site
Without doubt, the funding element of such an ambitious regional Arts & Cultural project is going to be extremely challenging.
Sir Nicholas Serota (who moved from Director at the Tate to Chair of Arts Council England in January) has said “The regions need more galleries”, but simultaneously admitted the enormous difficulties associated with funding.
The South Down Project team are fortunate that their networks now have two potential Cultural Philanthropists who have the capacity to deliver our scheme.
We will be working with both of them to bring this extraordinary opportunity to fruition.
Susan Bishop,Curator, Arts & Culture, South Down Project.