An ambitious community programme for East Sussex to coincide with Turner Prize 2023 - which takes place at Towner Eastbourne - is announced today and has been supported by a £480,000 award through the Arts Council’s Place Partnership Fund, made possible thanks to National Lottery players.
The funding will support Towner Eastbourne and a range of local partners to make a step change in the provision of cultural and creative opportunity in Eastbourne, particularly for children and young people.
The project, which will be headed up by newly appointed Project Director Sarah Dance, will provide a link between multiple partners including Towner, East Sussex County Council, who have also financially supported the project, and others in community, creative and tourism development organisations.
The project - named Eastbourne ALIVE, will seek to empower young people to create a new legacy for Eastbourne through a wide range of projects and creative activities, and development of artistic practice and creative skills. It also aims to broaden access to art and culture through inclusive participation in high quality cultural experiences and creative activities in and around Eastbourne. There is also an ambition in the project to widen opportunities for Young People to engage with art and culture both inside and outside school.
The project has been devised to capitalise on the opportunity of the Turner Prize and ensure that Eastbourne residents, particularly Young People and those living within the most disadvantaged communities, take the opportunity to define and celebrate their town and their experience of living in Eastbourne.
It will deliver creative programmes and public realm commissions that will be developed by arts and community partners. This will include Compass Arts who will curate a visual arts exhibition in Eastbourne seafront hotels. This open submission programme will be a platform for vulnerable and disabled artists, publicly communicating Eastbourne’s support for inclusion & diversity to its visitors, and challenging perceptions. Devonshire Collective will co-curate new work with Young People and marginalised communities to change perceptions of spaces across the town with commissions, events, talks & films inspired by the Turner Prize.
Towner Eastbourne will also deliver an ambitious schools engagement project providing exclusive access to the Turner Prize exhibition, artist-led activities and a digital/printed toolkit for Year 9 students across Eastbourne. The toolkit, which is being co-produced with students at Turing School and artist Richard Phoenix, will be introduced at teacher CPD sessions, which will encourage teachers to promote creative learning throughout school cultures for the benefit of lifelong health and wellbeing. Developed in partnership with the Coastal Schools Partnership, the aim is to increase Young People’s confidence in engaging with contemporary art and to develop their artistic practice and skills.
The project will also seek to measure the impact on health and wellbeing. Eastbourne ALIVE will work with East Sussex Public Health to measure the impacts on Young People’s emotional wellbeing and mental health through the projects. The final results will be included in the East Sussex Public Health report, & presented at the 2024 Annual South East Public Health Conference.
Developing pathways towards creative industry careers will also be part of the project. Working with Talent Accelerator, a package of skills development & training opportunities at Towner will open pathways towards careers in the creative industries including events for parents/carers about the sector and ways to support Young People into roles; building the regional talent pipeline to drive economic sustainability.
Sarah Dance, Director, Eastbourne ALIVE, said, "I am delighted to be appointed to this project. Our ambition is to place the town’s image firmly in the hands of Young People, harnessing their creative energy for years to come.”
Joe Hill, Director and CEO Towner Eastbourne, said, "Celebrating the once in a lifetime opportunity of the Turner Prize in Eastbourne, we will work with 3000 young people in their places and spaces throughout the town, to foster pride and ownership of their creative town as well as all years 9 in and around Eastbourne. Our partnership will develop creative skills pathways and our public health colleagues will measure the real impact of this work on young people’s wellbeing."
Hazel Edwards, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “We’re delighted to support Eastbourne ALIVE - the project will provide a huge range of creative opportunities for many children and young people, all connected to the world-famous Turner Prize. We know that creative opportunities can have a powerful impact on children and young people’s lives - supporting their confidence, encouraging them to develop and embrace new ideas, and helping them to build connections. The creative skills development and career pathways embedded in this project will ensure that there is an important legacy to Towner Eastbourne hosting the Turner Prize. Eastbourne ALIVE is one of hundreds of projects across the country supported by Arts Council England each year thanks to National Lottery players, who raise £30 million each week for Good Causes. Each project helps us ensure that more people, in more places have the opportunity to experience, participate in, and enjoy amazing culture and creativity.”