Strong Island Co.

‘Illustrated Menagerie’ Exhibition at Space Launches Today

This evening sees the opening of a new exhibition at Space at the University of Portsmouth with the artist preview of Illustrated Menagerie. The exhibition is an extension of a project from the first year of the BA (Hons) Illustration course where students select and research an animal of their choice, aiming to illustrate what it is about the animal which catches their interest.

Senior Lecturer, Nicola Hay, runs both the academic project and the Illustrated Menagerie itself which gathers examples of the works produced dating back now to 2009. She describes the unit as:

“A really vibrant, informative, exciting project to work on with the students. The subject matter is always enjoyable and I learn something new and often rather weird every year.”

“I set up the Illustrated Menagerie initially because so many wonderful illustrations, 3 dimensional pieces, sketchbooks, animations and prints were produced every year that I wanted to record them, and gradually this grew to quite an extent so I put it online for the students to be able to see. We got quite a following with the online blog, so the next move was to try to include local artists also exploring this subject matter.”

The Menagerie is thrilled to invite on board local artists My Dog Sighs and Los Dave who have been commissioned to work on the project. As well as producing pieces for the exhibition, the pair will also be delivering a public lecture regarding their working methods and processes, a central theme to the initial project.

Third year student, Jordan Baines, who also has his work in the exhibition, says: “It’s a great opportunity for another audience to see my work, I primarily make artwork for myself, and if I can influence, inspire, excite or inform someone along the way then that’s great! The animal kingdom is such a wondrous and diverse place. So an exhibition dedicated to celebrating those we share this place we call home, is very fitting and worthwhile.”

Exhibition Dates: 2nd to 27th February, 2015, 9am – 5pm weekdays.
Meet the Artists: 30th January, 2015, 4pm – 7pm.
Public Lecture: 11 February, 3pm, EW1.11, FREE, book your place via Eventbrite HERE.

Space, Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue, PO1 2DJ.

To see more of what inspired the ‘Illustrated Menagerie’ exhibition, please visit:

‘Illustrated Menagerie’ Exhibition at Space Launches Today

GASP Exhibition ‘Les Beaux Objets Trouvés’ by Lou Bliss

Tonight is the closing night of the current exhibition at GASP, The Art Space Portsmouth Graduate Residency Award exhibition ‘Les beaux objets trouvés (Things I find beautiful)’ by Lou Bliss. The exhibition is a collection of creations and artist collections preserved and arranged by Lou Bliss which is open until tomorrow but tonight will be the closing event and artist talk, from 6-8pm.

“I have a keen interest in natural history, anatomy and natural forms and this provides my less formal aesthetic language. Works which incorporate themes of mortality and explore the results of decay and/or preservation tend to result from these influences, and often use found, recycled or collected materials to express the ephemeral nature of our existence.

During my residency at Art Space I have further researched the natural processes involved in the life and death of living things, specifically fungi, birds and small mammals. Through the observation and playful preservation of materials present as part of the life cycle of everyday objects I have produced a collection of work exploring the beauty and variety in the often overlooked stuff as it quietly decays all around us. Using techniques such as screen printing and digital media to sculpture and taxidermy, I hope to rouse a curiosity in the weird and wonderful by combining a contemporary art exhibition with a working study environment where engagement and contribution is warmly encouraged.” Lou Bliss.

You can see more of Lou Bliss’ work on her website:

GASP Exhibition 'Les Beaux Objets Trouvés' by Lou Bliss (2)

GASP Exhibition 'Les Beaux Objets Trouvés' by Lou Bliss (1)

Portsmouth Kids in the 1980s TV Programme No 73

If you’re a 70s kid you’ll remember the the classic Saturday morning TV programmes through the years of your childhood. Along with the 80s Saturday morning classics like Tiswas, Noel’s Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and the later shows like Saturday Superstore and Going Live! there was ITVs No. 73 which aired from 1982 until 1988. The show was presented through the years by Neil Buchanan, Andrea Arnold, Kate Copstick, Kim Goody, Richard Waites and now University of Portsmouth chancellor Sandi Toksvig. Despite the show always saying it was from a house in Maidstone Kent the programme was originally filmed in studios over in Southampton before moving to Kent when it became a national TV show. For the first series the opening titles were all filmed down in Portsmouth, featuring local kids.

Joel Ransom got in touch with the story of the filming of the titles for the show, in which he himself appears! Author Graham Hurley (many of his series of detective books are set in Portsmouth) was involved with the show and his son was at St Jude’s school, Old Portsmouth. The class were asked to run up the beach down by South Parade Pier and then down Alhambra Rd where they would eventually knock the fictional door to No 73.

You can watch the credits from the 1982 series 1 of No. 73 on YouTube HERE (sadly the video is set so it cannot be embedded) and see lots of other footage from around the city. Below is a behind the scenes photo of the class running up the shingle beach from the filming.

Portsmouth Kids in the 1980s TV Programme No 73

Open Meeting for Making Space for Cycling

The next meeting of Portsmouth Cycle Forum will be at 7pm on Thursday 12th February 2015 in Park Building, University of Portsmouth on King Henry I Street. The meeting will take the form of a debate, discussing how to make the main routes in Portsmouth safe and welcoming for cyclists. Portsmouth has an exceptionally high rate of cycle casualties and most of these casualties occur on major roads which have 30mph speed limits.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum recently launched their cycle strategy, A City to Share, which proposes that road space be reallocated from motor vehicles to bicycles to enable a step-change improvement in cycle casualty rates and the number of people getting around by bike. Exactly what changes need to be made to find and repurpose that road space were not specified.

For this meeting Portsmouth Cycle Forum have invited their members to propose ideas for how these 30mph roads can be changed to make them safer and more attractive for cyclists, whilst still offering good motor vehicle access to the city. 3 or 4 ideas will be selected for short presentations on how to eliminate conflict between cyclists and motor vehicles on Portsmouth’s 30mph routes – each idea will then be opened to debate.

The meeting is open to all.

Strong Island Sounds Podcast with Longlive Radio Episode 27

Charlie is back with the 27th episode of Longlive Radio for the Strong Island Sounds podcast:

Hey! Welcome back to the first show of 2015! After a super long break from the radio show, I thought it was about time to get back amongst it. This week I’ve put together a playlist of people I went to see live last year. I went to a few festivals so it could have gone on forever but I decided to stick to the standard 15 tunes and just cherry pick. Thanks to everyone who came along to the gigs with me.*

Hope you enjoy the show as much as I enjoyed the gigs!

Cheers, Charlie x

*(Chris, Russ, Phil, Laura, Tim, Peta, Tim, Simon, Tamsin, Craig, Sam, Lizzie, Morgs, Owain, Rosie, Teddy, Sharpy, Laura, Tom, Jenty, Keith, Max, Jade, Turku, Jen, Jo, Simon) It was a blast…

01) The Doors Of Then – Tim Burgess (Islington Assembly Rooms – 16th Dec 2013)
02) Long Distance Call – Phoenix (Brixton Academy – 5th Feb 2014)
03) After The Disco – Broken Bells (Shepherds Bush Empire – 14th Mar 2014)
04) Heroine – Suede (Royal Albert Hall – 30th Mar 2014)
05) Have Love, Will Travel – The Sonics (Koko – 6th May 2014)
06) I Live On A Battlefield – Nick Lowe (Union Chapel, Islington – 10th May 2014)
07) We Came Far – Paqua (Shacklewell Arms – 1st July 2014)
08) I Walk The Earth – King Biscuit Time (Camp Bestival – 1st Aug 2014)
09) Blue Moon – Beck (Bestival – 4th Sept 2014)
10) Boney M Down – Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas (Else, Berlin – 10th Aug 2014)
11) Better Than Mine – Allah-Las (Oval Space, London – 24th Sept 2014)
12) It’s Gotta Be About Me – The Jim Jones Revue (The Forum – 4th Oct 2014)
13) Second Chance – Caribou (Koko – 8th Oct 2014)
14) Wanderlust – Wild Beasts (Academy, Liverpool – 30th Oct 2014)
15) We Are Unhappy – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (St John At Hackney Church – 19th Nov 2014)

Listen to the podcast episode below, or you can listen, subscribe and download it from iTunes. You can also find the latest Strong Island Sounds podcast episode on the Strong Island homepage under the comments section too.

Strong Island Sounds Podcast with Longlive Radio Episode 27

Spaces Available at White Elephant

White Elephant over in Eastney is a studio/workspace/exhibition space and they’re looking for people who might be interested in taking on one of their spaces for a studio or as a selling stall. You would be joining a team that already includes artists, editors, photographers, designers and more.

You can visit White Elephant at 48b Cromwell Road or give them a call at 02392 177311.

Studio Spaces Available at White Elephant

Community Fusion Sponsor Pledge for Made with Hartt

The last year had been a roller-coaster for Community Fusion, their project Made with Hartt was launched in December 2013 making history in Cascades Shopping Centre as the first charity shop and ‘Empty shop scheme’ shop. The shop quickly became recognised as a great place to launch creative work in the city centre plus a cut of all sales came in directly to support the charity and boost volunteering opportunities for primarily young adults aged 14-25.

Made with Hartt distributed an estimated 1 tonne of free books to the community and free story time was offered to children on Saturdays. Over 25 volunteers came through the Made with Hartt project learning new skills, gaining qualifications and attending training days. Many of the volunteers moved on into paid employment after spending time in the shop.

Phase 2 of the project was launched in May 2014 in form of a market held once a month in the Wedgewood Rooms. Table fees from local artist, crafters and designers were all contributions for Community Fusion. The Wedgewood Rooms donate the space free of charge in support. All these efforts were rewarded with winning the title of Green Business of the year from the Venus Awards and the national finals are later this month.

In late November 2014 Community Fusion lost the shop in Cascades to a new tenant and sadly after a 2nd shop fell through Community Fusion have been left without a base to trade from. Recently an opportunity came about to be based on Albert Road on a long term lease but funds are needed. The charity needs to raise £5000 to make this dream possible. The new shop promises to continue its great work and also launch creative workshops and have meeting/creative/workshop space available for the community to use.

If you are interested in donating to this cause please contact Jenna Boyson via EMAIL or donate directly HERE.

The next Made with Hartt Market is on Saturday 24th January from 11am to 4pm at The Wedgewood Rooms. This is a monthly market usually on the last day of each month but January sees it one week early. Local artists, crafters and designers come together to showcase their work, take custom orders and raise awareness of their talents.

Find out more about the Community Fusion events HERE.

Community Fusion Sponsor Pledge for Made with Hartt (1)

Community Fusion Sponsor Pledge for Made with Hartt (2)

Community Fusion Sponsor Pledge for Made with Hartt (3)

Ashcroft Arts Centre Looking for Group Leaders for New Youth Arts Project

Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham have recently received funding to run a new Heritage Lottery Fund Young Roots Project entitled No Facebook? OMG! The project will be an exciting opportunity for 45 young people aged 14-18 to explore the impact and development of technology since the 1970s and work together to produce an exhibition or installation based on their research and experience.

Ashcroft Arts Centre are looking to recruit two dynamic group leaders to run groups in local (Fareham & Gosport) colleges or 6th forms. This will be a great opportunity for creative individuals to work closely with young people to inspire and equip them throughout the project. These are paid positions. You can view the full job description and project details HERE (PDF).

If you are interested in the role please email Lorna at Ashcroft couple of paragraphs explaining how your skills and experience fit the requirements by 26th January. If you have any questions please email Lorna too.

School Media Project
Photo from Ashcroft’s previous schools project.

Portsmouth Tricorn Centre: A Photographic Inspiration – New Strong Island Website Launched

For the 2014 Portsmouth City Museum exhibition, Tricorn: Controversy in Concrete, marking the 10 years since the demolition of the Portsmouth Tricorn Centre we asked the people of Portsmouth to submit their photos of the city’s iconic Brutalist structure. Over 500 images were submitted by more than 30 photographers, of these 100 were put together in to a community photography panel that went in to the exhibition.

From the outset the Tricorn was considered a likely source of creative inspiration for photographers throughout its history and the submitted photography for us proved this opinion. The light and shadow, the lines and corners of the building, all were captured in creative ways by photographers both from Portsmouth and the rest of the UK. Many of the images were shot with 35mm and medium format film.

We wanted to, for the first time, bring all of this beautiful imagery together online with a new website, we’re happy to say that the website is now complete and live. This website is home to an ever growing selection of the best imagery of the much loved & hated building that dominated the city skyline from 1966 to 2004.

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed their photography. If you would like to submit your own images please EMAIL us. The website can be found at:

Portsmouth Tricorn Centre: A Photographic Inspiration - New Strong Island Website Launched (1)

Portsmouth Tricorn Centre: A Photographic Inspiration - New Strong Island Website Launched (2)

Free CPD Workshops for Aspiring Artist Educators at Aspex Gallery

As part of aspex Gallery‘s upcoming New Educators programme with the University of Portsmouth, they are offering free spaces on the following CPD workshops for artists, supported by Artswork. Places are all strictly limited to 15 per workshop, so please follow the links below to reserve your place using Eventbrite.

Arts & the Curriculum
Monday 2nd February 1-4pm

A crash course in the curriculum for artists looking to develop their work in education settings. Alison Beane, Executive Headteacher of Mary Rose Academy and Cliffdale Academy, Portsmouth and teaching staff from Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance will deliver a session which will give you an overall understanding of the curriculum to enhance your workshops and tailor your offer to schools.


Arts and Literacy Masterclass with Ed Boxall
Tuesday 3rd February, 10am-12.30pm

Ed Boxall is an artist, writer and creative educator living in Hastings, England. He works in many areas such as printmaking, small scale book publishing, poetry, storytelling, songwriting and education. As an experienced Artist-Educator in schools, colleges, galleries and museums, Ed has a wealth of experience in delivering workshops and storytelling performances which provide first-class arts engagement and aid learning in Literacy. In this hands-on master class Ed will provide you with tips in how to devise workshops for education settings, which support the national curriculum with a focus on Literacy.


Arts and Numeracy Masterclass with Filskit Theatre
Tuesday 3rd February, 1.30-4pm

Katy Costigan & Sarah Gee of Filskit Theatre, have been working with Aspex since October 2014 to deliver a pilot arts and numeracy project with three schools in the city. Through weekly workshops the school groups have been developing visual art performances linked to their topic subjects. In these workshops Katy and Sarah have developed activities, which aim to increase the pupils attainment in numeracy, to demonstrate how the arts can be used within the classroom for cross-curriculum learning.

In this master class Katy & Sarah will share with you their learning from this project, some information about the areas of curriculum they focused on and activities that were particularly successful.


Free CPD Workshops for Aspiring Artist Educators at Aspex Gallery

Next »


Lights Out by Pete Thorne

Following on from Tristan’s post about pics from early Saturday morning during the power outage.

Very impressive series of photographs taken on Albert Road during the black-out by Portsmouth photographer Pete Thorne.



Moonlit Junction

See more on his Flickr Stream.

Friday, Saturday & Sunday in Southsea

We couldn’t possibly of asked for better weather this weekend. From straight out of the door after work on Friday till finally retiring to our couch on Sunday evening the sun was blazing and Southsea was rich with activity and happy people. We spent pretty much the entire weekend outside on the seafront, changing the vista every now and then and sinking more than our fair share of corner store beers. Let’s hope it keeps up for at least a while longer hey. Check my Flickr for a few more Sunny Southsea photographs.






RETROSPECTIVE – Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea

“Since Strong Island began back in 2008 we have amassed an incredible amount of historical information about Portsmouth & Southsea’s past. These articles are not only from our own interest and passion about the city, but also from readers that have sent us some amazing facts. So much has changed in such a relatively short amount of time and the fast pace of life around us can make it easy to forget the importance of this cities history.

Retrospective‘ takes a look back at some of our previous posts incase you missed them in the past or you’re one of our new readers. One day myself and Paul hope to create a stand alone archive here utilising all the books and photos we have collected that haven’t made it on to Strong Island as of yet. With permission of course! So much to do and so little time. Enjoy.”

This is one seriously awesome vintage photography collection from Pop Olive33 that I found on Flickr a while back (sadly no longer active). Check out Osborne Road and Guildhall. Just incredible. It’s hard to imagine a time when traffic flowed through Guildhall, and that was only in 1968 and the shot looking west down Osborne Road is amazing. Trams, horses, grand buildings, a traffic cop, ladies & gents. It’s all going on…

Originally published Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

It’s going to be a Strong Movember – Closed at £725

Righto chaps, it’s time to clean shave your boat race and get that mighty moustache on the grow in support of Movember for The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. For 30 days of November you can help support and raise awareness through selflessly parading your top lip for charity.

You can sign up yourself, as I’m sure many of you already have, or you can join the Strong Island team and seek out sponsorship as a team. Through the Strong Island Movember page you can ask people to join the group, make donations, upload photos and post updates via the MoSpace page, Facebook and Twitter.

Head over to if you would like to get involved and grow a Strong Moustache to help raise awareness, or simply head over to and sign up to personally raise money.

The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers – prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

Poster: Tristan Savage

Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea

Awesome vintage photography collection from Pop Olive33 that I found on Flickr a while back. Check out Osborne Road and Guildhall. Epic. Hard to imagine a time when traffic flowed through Guilders, and that was only in 1968 and the shot looking west down Osborne Road is amazing. Trams, horses, grand buildings, a traffic cop, ladies & gents. It’s all going on. To view the full collection head over to Pop Olive’s Flickr photostream HERE and the Portsmouth set HERE.

Strong Island Clothing Co.