Every year, for the last five years, Strong Island has taken on a large creative project aiming to engage with people from all over the city of Portsmouth. We had the Strong Island Exhibition at the Round Tower, the PRIMARY photography project & exhibition, Creating Balance, Creative Cargo and for 2015 we’re running Creative Census.
The creative industries in the UK have grown dramatically in recent years, become a power house of economic growth and innovation in the national economy. As of January 2015 the Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy for the creative industries has increased 25.8% since 2008, with the creative industries contributing £8.8 million to the UK economy every hour*. In recent years the creative sector in Portsmouth has grown dramatically and for the very first time we want to take a measure of the sector in the city.
The first Portsmouth Creative Census aims to measures the size, shape and make up of the creative industries workforce in the city. It also aims to identify emerging trends and question what are the resource needs and funding issues that could benefit the industry by helping it to grow and flourish in the future. The census aims to look at any individual, organisation and business who is either based in the city or works primarily in the city (check the Creative Census website full details on if you can qualify for the census). We need your help to leverage local, regional and national bodies to address your issues and build a stronger creative sector.
The census aims to engage with people working in different creative sectors such as Advertising, Marketing, Architecture, Crafts, Design (product, fashion and graphic), Film, TV, Video, Radio, Photography, IT & Software (including web design & application development), Publishing, Museums, Galleries, Libraries, Music, Performing & Visual Arts and more. If you work within these different strands of the creative industries, we really want to hear from you!
Creative Census Portsmouth 2015 launches today, with the census open for contributions throughout June to August 2015. Once the census is closed we’ll collate all of the data and working with statisticians, experts in the sector and graphic designers we’ll produce a presentation with all of the information created by the census. We aim to release the presentation by December 2015.
Creative Census Portsmouth is a Strong Island project, in partnership with Portsmouth City Council and the University of Portsmouth. To find out much more about the project please visit:
* DCMS Creative Industries Economic Estimates – January 2015
Tucapel Pablo Carvajal Woodruffe (Pablo), 31, a local Southsea resident and talented Artist has this week revealed several new pieces that he has secretly been working on. His work is beautiful and bright and he commissions pieces for individuals with a passion for his style, painting the recently wedded local couple, Alan and Katie Robertson with their son Noah.
When asked that oh so common question of why do you love to paint? Pablo responded, ‘I paint because I love the colours, Sometimes I paint with an end goal in mind like if i’m doing a portrait or capturing an image but when I paint for me, I mostly just paint to see the colours and watch how they will blend together each time. My inspiration is from the houses in chile. Particularly one house in particular but the houses there make the landscape seem like one giant painting and wether it’s from a distance or so close that I can touch the bricks, I fall in love with the colours every time.
We asked Pablo if anything in Portsmouth inspired him or helped him with new ideas? He told us ‘the sites of pompey not so much but the general creativity of the people and their commitment to show their art around the city, or the fact that we make moves to push creativity in business by promoting the artists to sell their works on the seafront for example. It makes me as an artist feel like there is potential to be able to do what I love as a job. I hope to be able to live off of my artwork, in all aspects of it, not just the paintings, I’m working on another project that I think will really interest people. With my new project, I’m finding that I am aiming for it to be deliberately done for the public rather than being so selfish about what I want and sticking to what I know, I do like to learn and this is a great way to do it.
Pablo is planning some future exhibitions and with a description of a style as one where he mainly feels for vibrancy and waits for that to come out on paper we are excited to see where his art goes next.
Portsmouth and Southsea is a tremendously creative place and the collaboration of new and upcoming artists only maintains that wondrous atmosphere that we are all proud of.
Keep your eye out for ‘Pablo not Picasso’ and get in touch with him for commissions or to find out where you can spot him and his work.
Follow Pablo on Facebook and on Etsy
Collecting is something that goes way back to the early edges of the modern human psychology, a motivation to draw objects together that have a sense of meaning for the collector, that can illustrate aspects of an identity through representations of places and times past. Pretty much everyone has succumbed to the urge to collect at some stage in their life, be it stamps, stickers, shells, postcards, geology, fine art, sculpture and even aeroplane sick bags and My Little Pony. Beyond individuals, other groups create collections too, from small groups and trusts through to councils and right up to nation states. Portsmouth, like many other cities all over the UK and the World has its own collection of objects that represent its past, its culture and the people who have called it home.
The Portsmouth Collection began with the foundation of the Portsmouth museum service, established by order of the council back in 1892. The Victorians had a strong tradition of philanthropy which allowed the collection to grow from inception with people donating objects and art, the collection in essence owned by the then town (we became a city in 1927) and its people.
The collection was homed at The Market House & Guildhall on High Street in what is now Old Portsmouth, designed by Benjamin Bramble and opened on June 28th 1838. The building was the civic centre with council chambers plus an open market and even an early police station too. The building quickly ran out of space for city officials so the new Guildhall in Guildhall Square was opened in 1879. With this move the building became the city’s museum and home to the collection.
Market House and Guildhall by Calcott, published by Charpentier.
During the blitz in 1941, the city suffered with a huge loss of life and much of the city damaged and broken. On one air raid on the city the museum was bombed, with much of the city collection destroyed. Around 750 objects were saved from the destruction but it is impossible to know how much of the collection was lost as well as what these objects were specifically because all records were destroyed too. Only a handful of paintings were saved and some still show signs of burn damage. These objects that survived (to this day cataloged with ’S’ numbers to signify salvage) were the basis for a new museum service in 1945 with the end of the war.
Market House and Guildhall after the bombing.
From 1945 the museum service looked to acquire material relating to the history of Portsmouth and the natural history of the local area but also aimed to collect decorative art and modern British art. Under the theme of ‘The History of British Taste’ a national appeal was launched for donations to the collection from both individuals and organisations.
‘Outskirts of Portsmouth Dockyard’ charcoal drawing by W.H. Clarkson.
The Portsmouth City Collection 70 years later is now both vast in size and scope. The collection contains archaeology, art, literary history, local history, military history and natural science with many of the objects donated or bequeathed to the city. The collection can be viewed at the city’s different museums including: Portsmouth City Museum, Charles Dickens’ Birthplace, The D-Day Museum, Southsea Castle, Cumberland House Natural History Museum & Eastney Beam Engine House. Even with all of these museums and exhibition spaces no more than approximately 15% of the City Collection is on display at any one time.
With our next article we’ll be exploring the role of a curator for the museum service. If you want to see some of the finest items on the collection be sure to visit the A Hard Choice exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum. Many items on show in this exhibition were acquired by Rosalinda Hardiman over the last 35 years during her curatorship.
This Sunday there is a free guided tour around the exhibition by Rosalinda from 3pm to 4pm. Find out about some of the stories behind the objects on show and Rosalinda’s reasons for choosing them. Pre-booking is advised.
Throughout this year you can find out more about the Portsmouth City Collection and the many works of art and objects in contains with a Twitter account, simply follow: @PortsCityCollec
‘Portsmouth Harbour’ by Edmund T. Crawford.
‘Combat’ by Jack Canty.
As mentioned back in December, the volunteers of the South Parade Trust are teaming up with the academic might of Portsmouth School of Architecture in order to bring you all an exciting new project:
“The South Parade Trust would like to invite all interested locals and supporters to attend a public consultation event where YOU will be able to give your thoughts on how South Parade Pier could be re-developed. In partnership with the University of Portsmouth School of Architecture and overseen and planned by Catherine Teeling, a senior lecturer at the school, Masters students from the School of Architecture have begun a project that will explore creative ideas and strategies for the regeneration of South Parade Pier.
The project will develop solutions for reuse of the pier that respond to the community’s desires and interests and supports the SPT vision that the pier can once again become both a hub for the local community, a functioning business and an asset for the City.
Students bring a range of expertise to the project from Sustainable Architecture, Historic Building Conservation, Urban Design and Interior Design, however for the ideas to truly represent the future vision as the ‘Peoples Pier’ this live event has been organised for the community to ‘Have Your Say’ on its potential future, to get your thoughts and ideas on what this could be.
Catherine Teeling, Senior Lecturer at the Portsmouth School of Architecture, had this to say:
“This is an exciting project, we try to use local structures for the students and what better than an iconic structure such as the pier. We are also very proud to partner with the Trust on this event, it will be of huge value for the students to speak to the local public and hear their thoughts on how South Parade Pier can be re-imagined for the 21st century”
Vanessa Cooter, travel and tourism lecturer at Highbury College, added: “This is a great example of how the Trust can engage directly with local organisations such as the University and use their skills to collate and quantify local opinion on their pier. We all have an interest in how it is rebuilt in the future, this project will deliver bold and exciting plans which may one day be implemented or at least demonstrate what would be possible with imagination, innovation and drive.”
We hope that as many of you as are able to will visit us during the day at the Royal Beach Hotel opposite the pier and contribute to the Students projects which will, we very much hope, deliver exciting visions for the future use of South Parade Pier. More details will be announced in the coming weeks in the lead up to the event. We hope you will be able to come along! We want to hear from YOU!”
This public engagement event will be held on the 21st of February 2015 at the Royal Beach Hotel, from 9am to 4pm.
Trojan Cars located on Francis Avenue in Southsea has an incredible heritage, with the site being Portsmouth’s oldest garage and going back many decades. Trojan also specialise in vintage cars with a constant collection of historic British and American cars, motorbikes and scooters, many of which you may have seen on the local streets and also featured in photography by local photographers. A little while back Trojan Cars commissioned Portsmouth artist LosDave to produce a huge mural covering the garage’s street facing walls.
The striking, colourful mural is now almost finished and is sure to catch the eye of people travelling through central Portsmouth. The mural itself contains elements in keeping with the the garage’s vintage cars & bikes with a rich, deep american sunset palette forming the backdrop, distinctly LosDave’s work on a huge scale.
Below are some photos from a recent visit to the mural.
For those who aren’t aware, South Parade Pier is Grade II listed building which means Portsmouth City Council has legal powers to order repairs, however they have declined to use them. The pier has had no major repairs since new owners bought it in 2010 and is now in a state of progressive collapse and boarded up by Portsmouth City Council due to it being unsafe. New operators have claimed since February that they own the pier but have not actually purchased it, according to latest information from the Land Registry.
South Parade Trust have organised more than 12,000 people have now signed a petition for listed building repairs to be ordered at the pier. The Trust announced the petition milestone this week after a phenomenal weekend of canvassing at the Victorious Festival. They collected nearly four signatures a minute throughout the entire weekend.
South Parade Trust are a community group calling for full, immediate, end-to-end repairs at the pier to allow the restoration of safe public access to the whole pier. Chairman Leon Reis explains “Before Victorious, nearly 8,000 people had signed our petition – a great success in its own right. But today the total is 12,195,” he said.
“It is important to note that 12,195 signatures is equivalent to more than 8% of the entire 147,000 Portsmouth electorate registered with the council – enough to swing the entire council elections next May if people voted for candidates supporting full, end-to-end repairs to the pier.
“The council continues to spend £3,000 of ratepayers’ money every week on security at the pier but does not try to recover it from the owners of the pier, nor does it attempt to enforce either of the two court orders against the owners that PCC spent ratepayers’ money on going to court to win.
“South Parade Trust only need 1,000 signatures to automatically generate a delegation to the full council and a debate on this issue, and we will continue to collect signatures until we are ready to present the petition to the council. One question the council has still to answer is: how many signatures from local people do we need before they will start to listen to what the people of this city want?”
If you have not signed the petition then you still can online via www.SouthParadeTrust.org/petition. Please take the time to sign it and share with friends.
You can follow the South Parade Trust on Facebook and Twitter @PeoplesPier1.
Photo by Luke O’Brien
Some fantastic news has been announced today by Portsmouth City Council that the ARTches project to turn the Hotwalls arches in Old Portsmouth into a collection of artist studios and exhibition space has received key funding totalling £1.75 million from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund. As we have previously covered in the last few years (you can read our previous articles, dating back to 2010, and opinion on the project HERE) the ARTches project will revitalise an area that despite being one of the highest footfalls in the city with locals and visitors throughout the year has been chronically underused and for many years closed off. The Strong Island Exhibition at the Round Tower in 2011 with many thousands of visitors in just two weeks showed that this area has fantastic potential.
Many cities and town across the south and the UK have projects and areas that actively aim to support and develop creativity in their local area by providing low cost artist studios, acting as stepping stones in the career progress of the creative industries including art, craft, jewellery, etc. Local examples include Making Space in Leigh Park, The Arches in Southampton and, The Sorting Office in Eastleigh. These projects provide a sustainable model of supporting artists with studio facilities, exhibition space, business and marketing support and more. Sadly despite Portsmouth’s active and fast growing creative sector we do not have such a local resource to benefit not just local artists, crafters, photographers, jewellers and more but also bringing in income in to the local economy. The creative industries are the fastest growing sector in the UK economy, generating £8 million an hour that generates direct and indirect employment for many, the ARTches project will be a key driver in developing this sector in Portsmouth in the future, with PCC estimating over 23 jobs to be created as a result of the funding and 82 positions indirectly.
The project’s planning permission decision previously proved to be controversial with petitions for and against the development but with the active support of English Heritage permission was granted and with this new funding plus £100,000 from PCC and the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) contribution of £40,000 the ARTches project is quickly becoming a reality. We’re looking forward to seeing more news on the project soon, including more details on the business plan, the artists to be engaged with for studio space, etc.
“Time and tide wait for no man” is a 13th century proverb that goes back even further in ancient English and the sentiment remains the same almost 1000 year later in the case of Portsmouth & Southsea’s South Parade Pier: the laws of the land say it can’t be demolished but these laws mean nothing to the rain, the wind and the sea. After years of seemingly wilful neglect by the current owners, a mixture of handwashing and legal nonchalance by Portsmouth City Council, elusive, hokey-cokey ‘new’ owners and a winter of the worst storms in memory the treasured landmark at one of Portsmouth & Southsea seaside’s busiest points may well not be structurally able to survive another bad winter.
South Parade Trust have created a petition calling on Portsmouth City Council to act and force the owners of South Parade Pier to “…carry out urgent, end-to-end repairs to prevent further ongoing structural collapse, using Section 48 of The Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, as recommended by English Heritage”. You can re-open a toilet and fill a pothole but once the pier is gone…it is gone forever. If the small Suffolk seaside town of Southwold can have a vibrant pier, so can we. If Hastings can restore a pier to its previous splendour (from burnt out ruins), then so can we. If Penarth can have a community pier with resources and facilities for locals and tourists, then so can we. No more excuses, time to act.
The petition has only been online a matter of days and already has almost 3000 signatures at the time of writing, there is absolutely no reason why it cannot get to 10,000 or even 100,000 seeing the number of people who live, work & visit the city of Portsmouth and Southsea. It takes 10 seconds to sign and another 10 seconds to share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Forgetting the heritage, forgetting a restored pier being a community asset, forgetting the pier being a tourist attraction…culturally & artistically the pier is one of the most photographed locations in the city. Photos taken on mobile phones all the way to remote drones, photos taken at all times of the day and year from land and sea…all of these photos shared online to what must be millions of people. Imagine that lost to a storm surge and shoulder shrugging owners and PCC…
Below are just three photos I’ve taken of the pier of literally hundreds in the last few years, I imagine just locally there must be thousands and thousands of photos by local people, even more by visitors to the city. People are inspired to take photographs by special places and locations, lets try and keep one of ours and to bring it back to life.
Portsmouth City Museum are holding a Tricorn study day on the 21st June that includes many different talks about the structure & its design (including one by the architect Owen Luder) plus talks on the possible use of the space left behind from the demolition of the building in 2004. The line up for the day is as follows:
09:50 – Introductions
10:00 – Celia Clark: Brutalism as a style – the fate of Brutalist buildings around the world
10:55 – Coffee break
11:10 – Roger Tyrrell & Nicola Crowson, University of Portsmouth: ‘The Iconic’ – a comparative analysis of the Tricorn and the Sydney Opera House
12.05 – Owen Luder: The Tricorn – the architect’s perspective
13:00 – Lunch in the Activities Room (ground floor, east end)
13:45 – Ron Tate: The Tricorn – a planner’s perspective
14:40 – Univ. of Portsmouth architecture students: Reusing the Tricorn footprint I
15:25 – Tea break
15:40 – Univ. of Portsmouth architecture students: Reusing the Tricorn footprint II
16:25 – End
A place at the study day, which includes a buffet lunch, tea and coffee, costs only £20 with Portsmouth Leisure Card Holders & students at only £12. To book a place phone 023 9283 4737 and pay by credit or debit card.
Photo by Jon King
Currently one of the most contentious planning proposals in the city is the proposed new home for Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup headquarters, located on The Camber in Old Portsmouth. The story has been developing quickly over recent weeks and we have heard people’s opinions on both sides through messages on our Facebook and with emails. I think there is no doubt that having the city home to one of the best sailing teams in the World would be a huge boost to the city on many levels, be that employment, new skills and prestige. Personally I think the plans for the building are striking too, a new landmark for Portsmouth and also a symbol of the city’s development for every single passenger of every continental and IOW ferry that leaves and arrives in the harbour.
Concerning the design, which will fill much of the current Camber carpark, it is safe to say that this modern structure wrapped in curved ‘sails’ caught in a strong wind will cause controversy due to the close proximity of the historic Point and the streets of the Old Portsmouth district. Personally, I think architecture in these situations can work in two ways, either feel in keeping with the existing period design or be the opposite, a meeting of diametrically opposed styles that work together, combining the heritage of the city with dynamic contemporary architectural design. This has worked in numerous significant developments in recent years (even intimately such as the Great Court at the British Museum)…in a way this bringing together of the two styles can be representative of a city wishing to celebrate its heritage yet strike new ground with a view to the future too. Despite there still being questions regarding issues such as public access to the very popular Bridge Tavern (maybe the idea of the return of the bridge over the water isn’t a joke after all?) and the problem of parking in an area designed long before the car, the change of use from an area once piled high with power station coal could help power the city in new ways.
It seems like opinion is once again polarised from this development, in recent days councillors of all political persuasions have come out in support of the proposal plus a planning committee has also shown support yet many local residents are raising concern about possible problems with the proposal. Strangely pre-development work has already broken ground on the site too with businesses moving location to make way for the new building. A little worrying considering no formal approval has been given, but if the local businesses are happy about the changes, maybe that is a move in the right direction if a little presumptive. For me…it was important to see what opinion the Portsmouth Society might have on the issue and last week saw them also show support too. With that support in place and with Ben Ainslie’s apparent desire to choose Portsmouth over two sites in Southampton it looks very positive.
There is a consultation meeting this evening at 7.30pm at Cathedral House (next to Portsmouth Cathedral), after the first was postponed due to too many people arriving for the space available. At the meeting Sir Ben Ainslie will be making a presentation of the proposal in person and people are encouraged to attend to both raise any concerns but also to show local support for the plans. The final planning consent decision is very quickly approaching and the building is planned to start very soon so we could be seeing the very best racing yachts in Portsmouth Harbour and out on The Solent in the very near future.
One real concern regarding this development is if it will have any detrimental impact on the ARTches project, I would really hope that this local area is able to take both developments on and the council will ensure that this doesn’t become a situation where they only offer one out of the two large scale changes to the Old Portsmouth area to appease residents.
There is a petition showing support for the proposal, you can find out about it HERE.