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VII & The Space Within Photography Exhibitions at Coastguard Studio Open Tonight

Tonight sees the opening of a brand new group photography exhibition at Coastguard Studio, entitled VII. The exhibition contains work from a group of 7 photography students at the University of Portsmouth and is based on the theme of ‘Territories’. Work on show will be by George Brooks, Kieran Clarke, Charlie Couch, Jake Greenfield, Ben Hatherly, Oliver Phillips and James Turner.

Tonight is the opening night of the exhibition from 7pm-10pm, with the bar available and a DJ. The exhibition will then be available to view for the next 2 days and closes on Thursday the 3rd of December.

Also during this time there will be a second exhibition by fellow students on on the same course in the same space running along side VII, entitled The Space Within. The layout will be Studio 1 for VII and Studio 2 for The Space Within.

Find out more about VII on their Facebook page.

VII & The Space Within Photography Exhibitions at Coastguard Studio Open Tonight

Etsy Made Local Christmas Market at Aspex Gallery

On Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th December (this weekend), a selection of artists, crafters, designers and vintage enthusiasts will set up shop at aspex to offer a selection of items as part of Etsy Made Local, a series of markets taking place across the UK that weekend facilitated by Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade items, vintage goods and craft supplies. The market will be open from 11am to 4pm each day.

The Etsy Made Local market at aspex has been organised by The Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium, a volunteer community supporting and showcasing enterprise, knowledge, innovation and skill in artists, crafters, designers and makers from its local area. The Consortium also organised this July’s Southsea Night Markets; these brought together artists and makers to sell by the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth.

The Consortium’s Etsy team has over 150 members, each a local independent business from in and around Portsmouth and Southsea; 30 sellers were selected from those who applied to sell at Etsy Made Local by a panel comprising experts from across Portsmouth and Southsea’s creative businesses, and will sell alongside the Consortium’s co-founders. Sixteen different traders will be present each day, giving a reason to visit on both days the market runs.

Etsy Made Local will see a phenomenal range of local creative talent on display – and for sale – from such traders as artists, carpenters, cosmeticians, crocheters, graphic designers, illustrators, jewellers, knitters, stationers and textile artists. The market is the perfect opportunity to find personal or unique Christmas presents for family and friends.

“To buy from our Etsy Made Local market will be to place a proud vote of confidence in the creativity, skill and sustainability of independent businesses, makers and sellers. Etsy Made Local also provides a unique opportunity to meet local makers, and understand the inspiration, determination and hard work behind what they do – so, make sure to visit one if you’re able to do so!”Tom West, co-founder of the Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium

Those visiting Etsy Made Local at aspex will have the opportunity to support a local social enterprise as well as local independent traders: Lily and Lime LD, who will serve a range of festive treats over the Etsy Made Local weekend. Lily and Lime LD is a social enterprise café which enables and supports young adults with learning disabilities into sustainable pathways of employment through training and practical learning. They are passionate about changing lives, enabling community cohesion and inclusion.

Use #EtsyMadeLocal and #PortsConsortXmas on Twitter and Instagram to share your experiences of the Etsy Made Local weekend, and visit the Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium website HERE to keep up to date with the latest news.

Find the Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter: @portsconsort and visit The Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium on Facebook.

Etsy Made Local Christmas Market at Aspex Gallery

Footsteps to the Square: A Reflective Journey to Portsmouth Guildhall

Portsmouth Guildhall is a very busy exhibition space at the moment with numerous art, photography and design exhibitions on show within the walls of the building. Footsteps to the Square: A reflective journey to Portsmouth Guildhall recently was placed on display on the first floor and is a collection of B&W photography by Ailsa Brims. Ailsa, an MA Fine Art student from the School of Art and Design, was selected by a panel of judges for a solo exhibition of fine art photography to be displayed in Portsmouth Guildhall from the 9th November to the 7th March 2016.

Ailsa’s work on show consists of a series of 18 photographic images, where she reveals ‘the unseen’ taken during a number of journeys on foot between the historic Portsmouth Guildhall, a major music and cultural venue and home to Portsmouth Cultural Trust, and the Eldon Building, with its history of arts education dating back to the 1960s and currently home to the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries. Both buildings are concerned with education and the production and performance of the arts.

This collection of B&W street & architectural photography really draws the viewer in, with glimpses of the familiar captured in creative new perspectives using reflections, shadows, etc. Struck by the daily hustle and bustle of people, rushing-by at the start and end of each walk, Ailsa captures images using mindful photography techniques inspired by Zen. Completing a course that developed this practice, Ailsa was encouraged by photographer Lee Aspland to use the camera as a tool for meditation, to create personally resonant photographs. The images imply an emotional context as part of the physical journey, creating a portal for us to explore our own feelings.

Researching a wide range of artists and photographers for the project, including American photographer Vivian Maier, Ailsa describes using photography in her fine art practice: “I have a very simplistic camera technique, not allowing settings or my logic to get in the way of my eye, my heart and the view I see ahead. I set the zoom to be close to how the human eye sees and most other settings are automatic. I proceed with my body to be closer or further away, or physically move up or down to capture the image. I prefer to monochrome the photographs when I process them at home, because to me the images focus on shadow and shape, which is enhanced by a black and white theme. I rarely crop or process a picture further allowing each image to reflect the moment.”

The exhibition is open to viewing from 9am – 5pm every weekday and 10am – 2pm on Saturdays in the Freda Swain Business Lounge and is well worth a look if you enjoy photography.

See more of Ailsa’s work and blog posts on what goes on in the creative process by visiting Ailsa’s website:

Southsea Sangha Winter Solstice Raffle

Southsea Sangha is an alternative, open access, peer led Buddhist meditation group influenced by the Vipassana tradition of Buddhist meditation and the Against the Stream movement founded by Noah Levine in the U.S. Based at Portsmouth Yoga Studio on Albert Rd, the group are having a Winter Solstice Raffle to raise money for their two locally associated charities, and the prizes on offer are pretty awesome!

The ever expanding group which meet every Sunday 6-7pm and 6-8pm on the last Sunday of each month, is run and supported entirely by generosity and donations from the community. When their expenses are covered, they make donations to both PARCS (Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service) and The Lighthouse Soup Kitchen.

To raise extra funds for both of these local charities this winter, friends of the Sangha (community) from several of Southsea’s exciting businesses have donated some great prizes for the raffle.

Tickets are only £3 and available online HERE, winners are announced 14th December.

Full list of prizes:

– New Southsea Sangha T-Shirt
– Southsea’s Pie&Vinyl meal voucher
– My Dog Sighs T-Shirt
– 5 yoga lessons at Portsmouth Yoga
– Play Dead Tattoo Studio Voucher
– Wild Thyme Wholefoods Hamper
– Lucy Schorn Photography 10 x 12 mounted print
– Budds Herbalist Gift Basket
– Southsea Coffee Co. Meal voucher for 2
– Collection of Southsea themed handmade greeting cards from Angela Chick Illustration
– 2 Icebreaker Festival 2016 tickets
– Wedgewood Room Comedy Club Tickets
– A place on a Strong Island Workshop

The group have hosted several in international Dharma Teachers, and are hosting their 1st day long meditation retreat in March next year hosted by teacher Martin Aylward. Details to be announced soon.

Southsea Sangha RAFFLE PRIZES

Southsea Sangha at Portsmouth Yoga

Photos from My Dog Sighs Quiet Little Voices Exhibition

There is still time to make it down to Play Dead on Highland Road in Southsea to catch My Dog Sighs‘ latest exhibition Quiet Little Voices, which runs through until the 4th December. Below are photos of just some of the work on show.

“I WAS THERE!” Exclusive Film Preview at Portsmouth Guildhall This Wednesday

This Wednesday (18th November) sees the exclusive preview screening of the I WAS THERE! short film. The I WAS THERE! project is a collaboration between Strong Island Media and Portsmouth Cultural Trust, with the aim to collect memories of Portsmouth people’s experiences of seeing live music at this historic venue as it celebrates 125 years. With loads and loads of fantastic memories collected via social media and with interviews in the late summer at the Guildhall the film brings all of these together. This project sits next to its bigger brother, the incredible Access All Areas exhibition located in the Guildhall.

The screening takes place this Wednesday on the first floor of the Guildhall at 7pm in the Freda Swain Lounge. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance from the box office ( since audience numbers are strictly limited.

There will also be a theatrical performance based on the memories at the Portsmouth Guildhall in January 2016, we’re working with drama students from Admiral Lord Nelson School and Old Salt Theatre and we’ll release more details on this special event soon.

Find out more about the film screening HERE, on the I WAS THERE Facebook page and the screening event Facebook event.

I WAS THERE! Musical Heritage Project With Portsmouth Guildhall

I WAS THERE - PC with Thin Lizzy tour book 2

I WAS THERE - Claire Tickets

I WAS THERE - Claire Parry

Wyldest Drop Their Latest Song ‘Dark Matter’

In advance of an official EP release in early 2016, ‘Dark Matter’ was premiered this morning by Wyldest on Indie Shuffle, released by Hand in Hive record label. If you’ve caught this awesome band play recently (such as Southsea’s Dials Festival in October) you’ll recognise this song from their sets, with it’s inertia building, stark swirl of dream pop elevating to a heady and heavy showgaze finale.

The song was produced by Guy Massey (Palma Violets, The Libertines, Idlewild) and is from the EP of the same name.

Have a listen below & buy the son via iTunes HERE. and be sure to follow on Twitter/Like on Facebook Wyldest to keep up with more news of the release, upcoming live shows, etc.

Never Not Working: University of Chichester Looking for a Fine Art Technician

We’ll now be posting up details of different employment opportunities in the creative and cultural sector now under the Never Not Working title, keep an eye out for jobs and please send us details of new positions in the Southsea, Portsmouth & Hampshire area if you would like to get the word out. We’ll have a Never Not Working section on our new website dedicated to these job opportunities when that launches very soon.

University of Chichester Technician – Fine Art.

Working 40 weeks per year (0.524fte), days: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
£22,685 to £24,775 per annum Part time £11,886 to £12,982 per annum.

This post will be responsible for the specialist support of print and paint as well as more multidisciplinary approaches to Fine Art. You’ll act as one of the first points of contact for undergraduate and postgraduate students to ensure the highest level of customer service to provide general technical support and practice supervision. This includes the setting up of studio spaces, exhibition set ups and ensuring the safety and maintenance of the workshop facilities, supporting the MA provision across the summer period and Graduation / Otter Gallery exhibitions.

You’ll need a passion and aptitude for supporting Students, a degree in Fine Art or equivalent relevant experience including a thorough understanding of safe working practices in relation to hazardous materials, and practical knowledge and experience of the materials and their uses for both printmaking and painting. This post will require a current valid First Aid Certificate or willingness to successfully undertake within as soon as possible.

Informal enquiries about the recruitment process are welcomed by Steve McDade, Head of Department – Fine Art at

Closing Date: Tuesday 24 November 2015.

For the full job description and details on how to apply please visit HERE.

Never Not Working: University of Chichester Looking for a Fine Art Technician

Rickyfitts Release New Song ‘Pleasure Guilt’

Heavyweight two-piece Rickyfitts have just dropped a new song entitled ‘Pleasure Guilt’, a heady dose of their grunge v thrash trapped-in-a-falling-elevator style ready to have smiling, sweaty pits of people breaking themselves. This new material will be on their very highly anticipated new E.P. due soon. Have a listen of the new song below.

If you missed the guys breaking off a new one at the Edge of the Wedge during the Dials Festival in October and their subsequent shows in London at The Old Blue Last and up in Dalston then fingers crossed there’ll be news of new shows soon.

To keep up with Rickyfitts be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and a Like over on Facebook too.

Rickyfitts at Dials Festival 2015, photo by Strong Island Media.

Dear Bill Bryson Book Reading at Blackwells Portsmouth This Evening

At 5pm this afternoon in Blackwells Portsmouth you’ll be able to catch a reading of Dear Bill Bryson: Footnotes from a Small Island, by local author Ben Aitken. The reading runs from 5pm to 6:30pm and is followed by a Q&A plus music with Gentle Bren.

Dear Bill Bryson is an irreverent homage to the much-loved travel book Notes from a Small Island, wherein Ben Aitken retraces Bryson’s giant American footsteps as precisely as possible – same hotels, same plates of food, same amount of time in the bath – before finishing outside Bryson’s house on Christmas Eve.

The book is published by Portsmouth based Not Bad Books and was funded by a slightly left-field Kickstarter campaign that promised backers some unlikely rewards. Consequently, Aitken is now legally obliged to read his book to a guy called Steve from Kentucky while the latter takes a bath.

Dear Bill Bryson Book Reading at Blackwells Portsmouth This Evening

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Snow, Snow, Snow

Snow hit Southsea pretty hard last night and it snowing again this morning. Good luck to everyone battling the elements to get to work, college, school, etc today. Here are a few photos from last night, if you have any please pop a link to them in the comments, we would love to see them.

Adam Wintle (see more here):

Adam Wintle

Adam Wintle

Elizabeth Bick (see more here):

Elizabeth Bick

Elizabeth Bick

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

Local Photographer – David Jacobs

Based in Chichester but a constant visitor to Southsea, Portsmouth, Hayling and all of the Chichester harbour area, David Jacobs’ photos capture the warmth of the local light and and the inspiring natural views of the local landscape and coastline. To see more of David’s photos be sure to click ‘Read More’ below and check David’s Flickr.



Local Photographer – Harvey Mills

Okay, so it’s not quite on the Island, but hey, when the content is this good we can forget about the extra few miles. Harvey Mills shoots Murray Cross chomping the Langstone 13 set on the Havant roundabout with ease. Perfect timing and composition from Harvey.

Check out Harvey’s webiste and also his Flickr. Below are photos of Charles and Southsesa’s buttery own Bored teamrider Adam Keys.

Old Ships and The Point

Continuing from the HMS Vanguard photos from earlier this week, this one shot from above shows the scale of the ship and her guns, which are as big as the pubs! The second photo is of HMS Victorious passing out in the 50s, with the old power station in the background. Hard to believe such a huge, dominating landmark like that is now just a memory.

Click on the images to see larger versions. Photos are taken from the wonderful Portsmouth From The Air book by Anthony Triggs.

Portsmouth – Not The New Malta

Do you remember our post about Portsmouth, The New Malta and the advertising campaign that has been going on? The Telegraph has written a short article in response to the campaign. Check it out HERE and follow it up in the comments. Unfashionable, now come on Telegraph.

“We probably get about two weeks of sunshine at best, and you are more used to seeing people fighting than socialising in a quaint café,” said Tim Courtnell, a life-long Portsmouth resident. “The beach at Southsea is a mixture of shingle and Stella Artois cans on most days, and you wouldn’t think of swimming in the sea.”


It’s nice to be nice!

A new reader of Strong Island recently sent us this email. Glad to hear we’re doing things right and feedback of all kinds is always welcome, as is beer. Of course.

“Hi all at Strong Island

I just wanted to email to say as a recent visitor to your site how great it is to see something that celebrates the creative, cultural and positive life of Portsmouth and Southsea (and I don’t even skate or cycle!). ‘Strong Island’ sums up the spirit of this place so well. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the site go from strength to strength and maybe impacting on some of the decision making that goes on.”

Best wishes



Meg and Lynda hug it out with the help of Andy.

Old Cycle Race

At some point between the wars this was taken during a cycle race at the Alexandra Park velodrome up in Tipner, which is still there.

Cycle Race
(Click on image to see a larger version)

Local Photographer – Matt Shaw

Louise from the Girls Who Ride crew gave us the heads up on the amazing photos of local photographer Matt Shaw, including some great images on Portsmouth, some in HDR too. Be sure to take your time going through Matt’s Flickr and here are a few to wet your appetite:

Created Local – Mikey Ayling

Good friend of Strong Island and many Southsea locals, Mikey is quite the talent. He’s always been into art, design, photography, fashion, skateboarding, music and well, let’s just say all the cool stuff. He recently began his second year in Graphic Design (Communication Design) at Portsmouth University and he’s killing it.

Matt Sills from the Wallspace Gallery has helped Mikey produce 3 prints, on sale now, of which the ants ‘Tower Block’ is a limited run of 100 Giclee print and the others, ‘Do You Dream’ and ‘Love Life’ are open edition screen prints.

Get down Albert Road and grab yourself one of Mikeys prints. Seriously, these are like hotcakes I’m sure of it. Oh, and pop past The Little Johnny Russells Market on your way and grab some bargains.




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