Strong Island Co.

About

Born from a simple conversation between Paul Gonella & Tristan Savage over some drinks on Albert Road, the idea for Strong Island came from our passion about where we live and the fact that we would often miss certain events, gigs, exhibitions etc and had no real source to find out about them in one place…

We launched 8 days later on the 27th September 2008 with some of our own photos and videos alongside scans of flyers we picked up and articles we dug out about the city.

Unfunded and independent we’ve managed to keep the original ethos of quite simply being a resource designed to promote, showcase and inform people about Portsmouth and Southsea’s cultural scene. Be it past, present or future we’ll do our best to keep you up to date with photos, interviews and articles about the city. However, we really couldn’t have made it this far without our readers, contributors & the people who make up this fair city. From foraging for articles to write back in 2008, to being inundated with all manner of related information now.

Strong Island has really taken off since this humble beginning, with both of us operating, maintaining, updating and writing posts in our free time outside of ‘normal’ working hours.

“One thing we set out not to do from the start is pretend we know what we are talking about with particular subjects, when we simply don’t. Due to this the team has grown and grown, with people coming in and volunteering their own time to help add their own particular knowledge on subjects yet all tied in with a love for the city and it’s culture. ”

Another principle of Strong Island is to try and not only show people what is new and what is happening with the city now but also highlight some of the city’s long and fascinating history. We also strive to create original and captivating content ourselves or with our guest writers. You can find out about who writes for Strong Island HERE.

In recent years Strong Island began to work on cultural events that brought together different aspects of the city’s culture and community in new and exciting ways. In 2011 we worked with the University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth City Council in curating and managing the Strong Island Round Tower Exhibition, which brought a local landmark back to life and saw art, design and photography by local creatives viewed by over 3,000 people in two weeks – possibly the busiest exhibition of local art in Portsmouth ever. In 2012 we held our Primary exhibition which asked local people to try and photograph their city and it’s people with their mobile phones with a theme of primary colours. The exhibition opened on Albert Road with well over 500 photographs taken by over 100 people making it a huge community arts project, certainly the biggest in recent years in regards to engagement. As well as art exhibitions we run our annual Homebrew competition with the winning beer brewed by Irving and Co local brewers and distributed and sold in Hampshire and West Sussex. In 2012 we also had our first stage at local music festival Southsea Fest, with the stage packed out for the whole day. With all of our events we strive to engage local people, seek out new and interesting ways and locations to showcase local culture and we hope that all helps make a Strong Island event something different, something special.

2012 has also seen Strong Island grow dramatically in some new directions. In January we started Strong Island Media which brings together our own creative skills and services in offering graphic design, photography, film production, web design and education/training. So far we have worked with many different clients all over the South Coast and London with M&C Saatchi, Anglepoise, Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire County Council & Chichester Harbour Conservancy as a few examples. In May we launched Strong Island Clothing Co and dramatically expanded our clothing range and accessories with us selling online and at a range of events. We take great care in making sure all of our items are of the highest quality, created with care and craftsmanship and all have a sense of individuality, be that screen printed by hand or hand crafted accessories. In September we launched Strong Island Recordings, a boutique record label that strives to find, promote and release the best in underground guitar music. Strong Island teamed up with local DJs, label owners, promotors and A&R and as a collective work together to pull together our different skills and resources to make things happen in a dynamic new way. We’re working with local bands and bands from London and Hull and developing connections with bands from both the UK, Europe and beyond.

2013 sees us striving to grow these different threads of Strong Island but with a particular re-emphasis on making the Strong Island website grow, develop and continue to be the best cultural resource within Portsmouth. 2013 will see a new redesigned website and will also see us with our first real bricks & mortar home, in the heart of Albert Road. More on that soon…

Welcome to Strong Island.

Tristan & Paul

Interview with BBC Solent Radio about the Strong Island website

Interview with Claire Sambrook on BBC Radio Solent about the Strong Island Exhibition at The Round Tower.

Feature on ITV Meridian News on 25th April 2011 about the Strong Island Exhibition at The Round Tower.

Features

Strong Island Summer Portsmouth Photography Walkshops

Through Strong Island Media we have delivered photography workshops over the last 3 years to over a thousand people of all ages and abilities across the south coast. Working with Chichester Harbour Conservancy, University of Portsmouth, Making Space, Hampshire Cultural Trust plus many schools and youth groups we’ve developed Walkshops, where rather than sitting down in a classroom you actively learn different photography skills and techniques out and about with your camera, with support from a professional photographer.

We’ve delivered dozens of these Walkshops from Worthing through to Bournemouth and as far north as Surrey but for the first time we’re now offering them to the budding photographers in Portsmouth. We’re blessed with a visually rich and diverse city, with harbours, beaches, woodland, wildlife and lots of heritage to explore through photography. These photography workshops throughout the summer will take place at different locations around the city and will involve a leisurely 2 hour walk with fun & creative photo activities allowing you to find out much more about your camera and how to get the best from it in the future. We’ll be looking at composition, perspectives, textures, leading lines, creating narrative and also how to take control of aperture and shutter speed.

All you have to do is bring along your camera to take part. It can be anything from a digital compact through to an SLR and if you want to shoot 35mm film, cool! If you don’t have your own camera we have a selection of digital compacts you are free to borrow for the workshop. We can even offer 35mm SLRs for you to use if you like. Even if you just bring along your cameraphone you’ll learn loads that’ll make a big difference to your mobile photography.

Walkshops are 2 hours long (from 10am to 12pm) and cost £10 either in advance (booked online) or in person at the start of the workshop. Group size is limited to 15 per workshop. All ages welcome.

Walkshop dates and locations are as follows:

20th June – Old Portsmouth, meeting at the Round Tower
4th July – Southsea Seafront, meeting at Clarence Pier
18th July – Hilsea Lines/Foxes Forest, meeting at Hilsea
8th August – Eastney, meeting at Hayling Ferry Point
15th August – Southsea Castle
19th September – Southsea Seafront, meeting at Rose Gardens

You can book online on any of these walkshops right HERE using Eventbrite & PayPal. For more information give Paul a call on 07752 007101 or email paul@strongislandmedia.com.

Seal Primary Academy

Conservancy Sunset Workshop

Chamberlayne Photography Workshop

Strong Island Calendar 2016 #SIC2016

Yet again we were overwhelmed with the interest and success of our 2015 Calendar. I hope that you are all enjoying them and it is inspiring you to get involved and submitting your photo’s for inclusion for next years calendar.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2016 calendar. If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via calendar@strong-island.co.uk. If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2016.

There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth. We would love to see more submissions from all over Portsmouth not just our favourite Southsea landmarks so please share this with friends who you think might be interested in getting involved.

Along with Instagram we also recommend you check out the Faded App. I’ve had a play with this App and you can create images that surpass anything that Instagram can produce. I especially love the overlay function.

We have a couple of our 2015 Calendars left but if you are interested then get in quick as these are likely to go within the next week or so! You can get your copies from the Strong Island shop HERE.

Strong Island Calendar Poster B 2016

Created Local Special: Immy Smith and the Brain Tumour Research lab at the University of Portsmouth

We’ve featured many local artists, photographers, filmmakers, designers & makers under the Created Local series for many years (over 100 in the last 6 years), profiling work touching on many, many different subjects. Immy Smith’s background, artwork and working environment is something a little different.

Immy Smith is a rare creative, working in what initially might be thought of as two different worlds: one foot in science, the other in art. With a PhD in Pharmacology plus a strong arts background Immy has recently been working in the Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories at the University of Portsmouth on a 10 month residency which looks at how to foster better and more creative working relationships between medical science and the arts. The residency, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, aims specifically to create a sense of collaboration with not just laboratory staff but also the patients effected by brain tumours, which kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

“The project I’m working on here at the Brain Tumour Research lab is a Leverhulme artists residency where I work in the lab making art alongside science researchers. Our project aims to tell the story of brain tumour patients, scientists and clinicians, through art. We want to make these stories accessible and share the unique challenges of brain tumours with a wider audience to help raise awareness of this devastating disease.” – Immy Smith

Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories

Working within the laboratory environment sees the research staff and artists working in a shared space, with artwork becoming a part of the laboratory environment. The relationship allowing for artistic insight in to the latest treatment research and the scientist an appreciation of creative processes and different patterns of thought. The project has included workshops with scientists as well as patients, collecting stories and aiming to “fill the gap in understanding”; having perspective on cancer analogies, unique sensory & cognitive effects of these tumours due to their location in the brain and patterns of cells and diagnosis & treatment. The creative work aims to engage with all and to broaden the horizons and enhance the skills of both artist & scientists, through this particular interdisciplinary research.

Staff at Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories

Immy’s work includes ‘Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity’ which explores heterogeneity between brain tumours, through making art at the lab bench. The ingredients used are primarily inks – ultramarine and magenta. Other constituents include water and lab filters. Every filter contains both colours. From this limited palette of ingredients are made an array of unique patterns – more than 120 of them. The components are few but the outcomes are complex, heterogeneous:

“The cellular components of your brain are primarily neurons and glial cells. Neurons get a lot of the limelight, however glial cells – including astrocytes and oligodendrocytes – play a crucial role in brain function, and neurons are lost without them. Other constituent cells include pericytes and endothelial cells in the brain’s blood vessels, microglia (immune cells), and ependymal cells (which line brain ventricles). From a limited palette of cellular ingredients, all the fascinating machinery of your brain is created.” – Immy Smith

Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity

Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity

Another part of work produced during this pilot project are Immy’s Ugly Objects experiments:

“Some of the scientists here expressed a wish to depict brain tumours as something ugly – rather than using images of cells which are often quite beautiful. While this project is about using recognisable or non-exclusive imagery (so I wouldn’t use scientific images of cells anyway) it raised many interesting ideas. I previously discussed the scientists feelings of the dread and awfulness, that they associate personally with brain tumours as cancers. Another interesting idea was; what is ugly? Is what we perceive as ‘ugly’ in any way universal? What are common features in people’s descriptions of ugly? Can we use this as something recognisable, something not exclusive to science or art, with which to communicate about brain tumours? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I know it’s harder to draw ugly than you might think.” – Immy Smith

Ugly Objects

Ugly Objects

Immy is working towards an upcoming public exhibition, with permission to use the event to fundraise for the charity Brain Tumour Research. We’ll let you know more details on the upcoming exhibition and the work included soon. For now, if you are interested in finding out more about Immy’s work you can visit her websites below:

connectingnarratives.tumblr.com
immysmith.com
imaginingscience.com

Immy Smith

Common People Ticket Competition

It’s less than a month until Common People takes place on Southampton Common. Artists performing include Fat Boy Slim, DJ Yoda, De La Soul, Band of Skulls, Grace Jones and Isle of Wight’s Plastic Mermaids. As well as friends of Strong Island Dead Rabbits, Rickyfitts and The Boy I Used To Be playing the Uncommon Stage.

Rob Da Bank and the team behind Common People have kindly donated a pair of tickets for us to give away. All you need to do is email stuart@strong-island.co.uk with your answers to the following questions before midnight this coming Sunday. The winner be contact directly and announced on social media soon after.

1) Which South coast football team is Norman Cook aka Fat Boy Slim known to be a big supporter of?
2) Castle Road’s Pie & Vinyl will be in attendance at Common People. Name any of the artists signed to their record label?
3) Can you name the James Bond film in which Grace Jones starred?

To avoid disappointment you tickets are available from Ticketline from £30 and reductions for children and teens.

Common-People-line-up

To stay up to date on all things Common People you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter @cpeoplefest and Instagram @commonpeoplefestival.

Strong Island Calendar 2016 #SIC2016

Yet again we were overwhelmed with the interest and success of our 2015 Calendar. I hope that you are all enjoying them and it is inspiring you to get involved and submitting your photo’s for inclusion for next years calendar.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2016 calendar. If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via calendar@strong-island.co.uk. If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2016.

There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth. We would love to see more submissions from all over Portsmouth not just our favourite Southsea landmarks so please share this with friends who you think might be interested in getting involved.

Along with Instagram we also recommend you check out the Faded App. I’ve had a play with this App and you can create images that surpass anything that Instagram can produce. I especially love the overlay function.

We have a couple of our 2015 Calendars left but if you are interested then get in quick as these are likely to go within the next week or so! You can get your copies from the Strong Island shop HERE.

Strong Island Calendar 2016

The Strong Island Photo of the Year Competition 2015

Throughout 2013 we ran a photography competition open to everyone where each week a photo selected from the weekly submissions was chosen as the Strong Island Facebook header image and placed on our Facebook page for a week. We had some incredible images from all over the city, from landmarks such as South Parade Pier to the Spinnaker Tower, to the stormy waves of the sea, the Warrior at night…so many incredible photos we were privileged to share. At the end of the year we asked you, the Strong Islanders, to pick your favourite from all the weekly winning images, and by tallying up all the Facebook likes the winner of the Strong Island Photo of the Year was the below photo of South Parade Pier by Catherine Taylor. Many of the the photos that came in were also submitted to our very successful Strong Island Calendar for 2014 too.

This year we’re running the Strong Island Photo of the Year competition, and again welcome any submissions sent to us in a variety of easy ways. The first is to email the photo to us at contact@strong-island.co.uk. Just include your name, the photo submissions, link to your website/Flickr/etc and let us know if you would like them also submitted to the calendar too. You can also submit images on Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #SIPhotoComp2015 and we’ll keep an eye on any photos added. You can also tag us in to those tweets and photos too but be sure to use the hashtag so we know you’re entering them. The photos can be of anything, anywhere, as long as it is within the city. You can enter as many images as you like each week and they don’t have to have been taken that week they are submitted. By submitting the photos you’re giving us permission to share them (obviously) but we’ll only share them in relation to this competiton and we’ll ensure we credit you and link back to your website, Flickr, etc. Make sure you only submit photos you yourself took and have creative ownership/copyright of.

Each Friday we’ll post up our weekly winner on Facebook as our Facebook Header and also post up on Strong Island a selection of images we really liked from that week too. Each week the winner will win some Strong Island goodies. In December the final overall winner from all the weekly winners, after all your votes, will win a big pile of Strong Island goodness including a mug, tees, prints, etc and the image crowned Strong Island Photo of the Year 2015! Not just that, we’re also have an exhibition in Strong Island Co at the end of the year/start of 2016 of the best submitted images and the winning image.

You can start submitting your photos right now!

South Parade Pier by Catherine Taylor
South Parade Pier by Catherine Taylor, winner in 2013.

Strong Island Clothing Co.

Departments