The ABCD Plan identified a number of challenges and opportunities in relation to creative space in the City:
- The impact of Covid-19 lockdown closures puts many of the City’s existing cultural spaces, particularly vital grassroots venues, at risk of permanent closure. Emergency financial support has not been universal and additional funding and new sources of income are needed to cover overheads and preserve infrastructure.
- Availability of workspace is historically a challenge for the Creative Industries in Brighton & Hove (with artists leaving the city due to lack of affordable workspace and the closure of independent venues) but this period in time presents an opportunity for change. How can existing cultural spaces and other potential spaces in the City address the needs of the sector more effectively?
- What spaces can be repurposed?
- What opportunities, through coordination across the City, and across Greater Brighton, can improve access to space for cultural workers and artists?
- How can the audience experience be enhanced through collaboration across the organisations running cultural buildings in the City?
The Space to Grow Working Group is an opportunity to bring people together across stakeholder groups to have a joined-up discussion, and look at short, medium and long term ideas and actions.
The Working Group aims to
- Be solution focused, and go beyond just articulating the problem again.
- Explore new models, learning from examples of good practice locally and nationally.
- Look beyond the City, with the geographical restrictions on Brighton & Hove, any strategy needs to look at the Greater Brighton area with Brighton & Hove at its heart.
- Be cross-sector, bringing together the creative & cultural sector, the council and commercial and private sector partners, with everyone acknowledging that they have a part to play.
Three main areas have been identified for the working group to focus on,
- Protecting existing space and assets – what are the immediate threats and how might they be countered.
- Immediate / short term access to space – where are the potential opportunities including temporary use, who are the groups who can respond in the short term and what support might they need.
- Looking at future development in the medium / long term – what is needed, from a number of perspectives, including what will help raise the national profile of the city and contribute to a long term vision.
Brighton & Hove City Council and ABCD have been successful in raising funds from the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership to support significant research and consultancy that will gather evidence of demand, understand the pressures on supply and construct a robust business case that can support future projects.
There will be a core working group made up of
- Creative & cultural sector reps – 3 members
- Council officers – 3 members – representatives from Planning, Estates and Culture
- Business connectors – 2 members
- Additional people will be invited to join specific meetings, bringing expertise in, for example, property development, meanwhile use, sustainability, community wealth building.
The group will meet monthly from May – December 2022. The creative & cultural sector reps will be selected via an open application process, and there is funding to support 2 freelance places. If you’re interested in finding out more, see the listing under Opportunities. The deadline for applications is 12 May at midday.
Regular updates on the progress of the Working Group will be shared here on Culture in Our City.
ABCD Programme Manager