Synthia Griffin – Arts Development Manager at Brighton & Hove City Council
I’ve worked at the juncture of cultural programming, creative placemaking, regeneration and audience development for over 15 years in my role at Tate Modern and more recently as Board member for Be First; an organisation that is leading the regeneration one of East London’s most exciting new cultural districts. My experience is varied from co-curating Superflex’s Turbine Hall installation, to leading a crucial part of the galleries reopening programming with a choir of five hundred singers to positioning the role of creative placemaking as a crucial part of city redevelopment. I’m thrilled to be joining Brighton & Hove City Council at a time when it’s never been more important to support the creative and cultural industries as they both flourish, as well as support recovery and growth.
The ABCD Recovery Plan is designed to do just this – secure our city’s existing and future cultural offer. A group of diverse and dynamic individuals will be continuing to work in innovative ways to ensure that our city’s cultural life continues to be exciting, creatively diverse, and accessible. I recognise what a challenging year it has been for artists and freelancers and I will be working hard to support a successful recovery across the city. I have encountered a great deal of passion, resiliency, and commitment from the many people I have met so far and have been made to feel very welcome! I’m looking forward to helping to harness creative ambitions, driving forward new initiatives, and bringing partners together.
Along with audiences and artists, I’ve been drawn to Brighton & Hove as a cultural epicentre, with its reputation for fun, culture, heritage, and natural beauty. The city is also part of the wider cultural ecology of the South-East and attracts a ground swell of thought-provoking creative work and partnerships from the Thames Estuary to Margate, Folkestone, Hasting as well as Chichester. My ambition is for Brighton & Hove to play a greater role in the collective creative thinking shaping the region. I’ve already had some inspiring discussion with organisations and practitioners to advance this idea and I welcome the opportunity to generate further dialogue about the potential of the city and its role in leading across the South-East.
Interesting things happen when there is a cross-pollination between music, art, dance, performance and poetry particularly when it uses the city as inspiration. I’m looking forward to enjoying the wealth of creative programming taking place across the city this summer and autumn. I will be joining my fellow Brightonians, breathing in the air, clearing my mind, and letting the creative thoughts flow – and looking forward to sharing how the thoughts shape the next collaborative steps for all of us.
Author: Synthia Griffin, Arts Development Manager, Brighton, and Hove City Council
Ewelina Gomola – Arts Development Officer at Brighton & Hove City Council
I come from a dance background, so I am familiar with freelancing, resource seeking and how challenging being a creative professional can be. Unfortunately, after suffering a knee injury, I had to put dance aside and direct my focus in a slightly different direction. Wanting to stay in the creative sector, I decided to explore community and applied art practices, which ended up being the best decision I could have made. I was introduced to the potential of art and performance, and what a transformative effect it can have on people’s lives.
My interest focuses on art practices that challenge societal norms, stereotypes and question traditional ways of thinking. I am particularly interested in the idea of privilege. Brighton & Hove is just the right place to immerse myself, meet like-minded people, and contribute towards the revival and further development of creative industries within the city.
My experience comes mostly from working on small projects across London. I have worked with Somerset House on projects exploring and promoting women in the arts. I was involved in putting on community festivals in Hackney and supporting local artists. I also had a chance to be involved in a project in Kabul, Afghanistan, where I explored the potential of art and creative practices to empower women and promote arts as an educational tool.
Contributing towards the arts and creative industries sector, especially in a place like Brighton & Hove is the beginning of an exciting journey for me. Joining the Arts Development Team at a time when cultural recovery is a priority is a big challenge and opportunity to contribute to the bigger picture.
There are lessons we can learn from the pandemic and apply all reflections in our future practices. Aiming to be inclusive and diverse in our approach, is a way to try to make sure that every community within the city has a voice. The ABCD Cultural Recovery Plan is trying to do that and put artists and creative businesses back on their feet. Being part of these conversations, I have been moved by the passion that there is towards the City’s recovery and reputation.
Author: Ewelina Gomola, Arts Development Project Support Officer, Brighton & Hove City Council