What are the challenges facing tenants and landlords in private rental accommodation in the area?

In May 2016 representatives from various organisations with an interest in issues affecting people trying to access accommodation in the Hastings area,  local community members, students and academics all gathered at the Hastings campus. The discussion and presentations centred around some of the challenges that are faced by both tenants and landlords within the private rented sector in the local area and ways in which different agencies can work together to reduce these challenges.

The first to speak was Marylynn Fyvie-Gauld, who has been researching the private rented sector in the Hastings and St Leonards area since 2014 when she, along with Kay Reynolds of the Brighton Housing Trust, were successful in their application to the Cupp seed fund enabling them to work together on this research. The presentation explored some of the legislative changes which have impacted on the current situation, along with offering real examples of how this has affected both tenants and landlords in the area.  (Marylynn’s Presentation)

Next to speak was Tracy Dighton, Chief Executive of 1066 Citizens Advice, who spoke a little about the services they offer and that housing issues are the second highest enquiry, with debt problems being first. Among the most common problems the CAB hear about are those arising from the poor quality of the local housing stock, Fees charged by landlords and agents and changes to Local Housing Allowance making it increasingly difficult for tenants in receipt of benefits to rent privately.  (Tracy’s Presentation)

Following on from the refreshment break were Joe Powell, Housing Needs and Policy Manager and Matthew China, Housing Renewal Manager, of Hastings Borough Council spoke of the ways in which the council is attempting to improve the housing stock through the selective licencing and HMO schemes, as well as protecting tenants from bad landlords and offering training to landlords. They also gave details of their multi-agency approach that attempts to combat homelessness which includes the social lettings agency and loans for rent in advance and deposits. (Hastings Borough Council Presentation)

Jim Proudfoot of BHT spoke next about the Hastings Housing Access Project, which is a scheme targeted at over18s with a local connection who have no dependant children and are in insecure housing situations or homeless. The project works with clients to access more secure tenancies in the private sector and give them the skills to maintain that tenancy. Jim reported that the market has seen many changes in the last 5 years such as under 35s only being entitled to claim LHA for a single room, Right to Rent, along with increased fees and block viewings making finding accommodation far more challenging than previously. (Jim’s presentation)

The final speaker before the breakout session was a student who spoke of her experiences of renting in the private sector and some of the challenges she has faced. Speaking of becoming unintentionally homeless due to domestic violence, being evicted due to landlord wanting to increase the rent by over £200 a month, waiting 6 months for environmental health to take action when a ceiling collapsed and having to pay 5 reference check fees due to grown up children living at home. The account gave an insight into

After breaking out in to smaller groups to discuss the main points which had been raised during the presentations everyone came back together to feedback what had been discussed before moving on to the panel discussion. On the panel were the speakers for the afternoon plus local landlord and letting agent Barry Markham. The main themes that came up during the Q and A were the regulation of letting agents, with mention that by law agents are now required to display fees clearly both on their websites as well as their shops, the issue of increased demand against decreased supply, the cost of tenants living chaotic lives- how does the cost of using preventative measures compare with emergency provision.

Below are some links which may be of interest

Indices of Deprivation Map

Tackling Homelessness:Housing Associations and local authorities working in partnership report

Shelter reports

Changes to Homelessness Law and Practice in Scotland, Wales and England

Renters put at Risk





Seed Fund 2014

2014 saw the first year of the Hastings Exchange seed fund, offering organisations with a community focus and academics the opportunity to gain funding to develop an idea they may have for a project in the local area.

There were 40 enquiries to the fund which resulted in 7 applications, 4 of which were successful in gaining funding.

Below is a summary of how the seed fund programme contributed to these projects  and what other support would have been useful. People highlighted the necessity of resource to help their work happen.  This enabled people to spend dedicated time on their partnerships and projects away from the day to day demands of their work.  The on-going support offered by the programme has helped projects to make changes to their initial plans and keep their project management and partnership on track.


Art at the Heart

Catherine Orbach, Culture Shift CIC | Irralie Doel, School of Humanities

15 community consultation sessions were carried out at local events, with 300 questionnaires completed.   The results of these have identified potential volunteers for the community organisation and helped inform future programmes and activities.  The project has helped to improve access to the organisation’s’ services through a better understanding of the pressures and dynamics of barriers people face that prevent their participation.  The university, through Irralie developed knowledge of local structures, organisations and groups as well as new relationships with community organisations which can inform future development work.  Working together has provided essential resource to support the consultation and bring rigour, through Irralie’s input to methods and analysis to make use of the results.  The project also benefitted from a student volunteer who worked on the data collection and analysis as part of her curriculum, and has developed skills that enhance her employability.

The partnership are now drafting a case study for the Culture Shift website and have presented their  findings at a Hastings Research Forum.


Community Resilience

Boing Boing | Claire Stubbs, School of Health Sciences

This partnership between Boing Boing and School of Health professions aimed to pilot a ‘resilience forum’. A resilience forum is a networking space that brings together a range of partners, including parents, young people, professionals and academics to learn, discuss and debate ideas and developments around resilience. The forum is now running successfully, with over 35 people attending each session. In particular, one young man with a history of youth offending has been supported to attend the forum and  lead a forum in July focused on his own story.


Doorstep Health, Delivered the Doorstep Way; StreetGames Empowering Young People

Ken Dullaway, Hastings Borough Council | Claire Marriott, School of Pharmacy & Biomolecular Science

A series of meetings provided time and space for partners to identify and develop research ideas. Partners eventually began to design a new health project, linked to the Royal Society of Public Health that focused on young people involved in the StreetGames programme participating in a Health Improvement course held on university premises.  The aim was to develop peer-to-peer teaching activity and support young people to communicate the knowledge gained after the course finished.  This phase of work is currently ongoing.  The course was received positively and involved university media students in supporting and recording the work.  Press coverage of the course made it into the local paper: http://www.hastingsobserver.co.uk/news/local/students-complete-health-awards-1-6682224

The partnership targeted Diabetes UK to fund a PhD studentship – this initial bid was not successful but was highlighted as having high potential impact. They were advised more preliminary data was required, which future partnership working could provide.  New project opportunities are also being identified for students to consider as part of their curriculum on both Hastings and Eastbourne campuses.  The partnership has also led to new networks being developed with academics and students on Eastbourne campus and local community networks that Claire can now connect to.

The partners are now preparing a case study for publication.


Private Rented Sector Model 

Kay Reynolds, Brighton Housing Trust | Marylynn Fyvie-Gauld, School of Applied Social Science

This project has developed a baseline research picture of problems facing the Hastings community who are on low income and need access to the private rented sector. Marylynn has been able to offer guidance and support on conducting research and understanding social policy in relation to housing.  The research conducted involved a series of different methods to gather information and involved volunteers in carrying out interviews and surveys.  The project also included an undergraduate student who focused on shared housing as part of their curriculum.   The partnership has allowed the community partners time away from the day-to-day operation of running a service to look at barriers to housing from different perspectives.  Working with the university has also provided a platform to access landlords and letting agents as the university has a reputation as an ‘honest broker’.  The partnership has also established a placement resource for level five students on Applied Social Science.

The partners are planning a conference paper and report for local stakeholders. The report will also be disseminated through a future Hastings Exchange Forum.  Funds for further research are being actively explored and connections to the Research Office made.


The next round of seed funding will launch in early February 2016. If you have an idea for a partnership project and would like to learn more, contact Ceri Davies at C.Davies@brighton.ac.uk.





Education forum 2015



This was the second education forum, run as a partnership between the Hastings Exchange, the Hastings Community Network and The Education future’s trust, and this time focused on bringing together schools and communities to help improve outcomes for young people.

To this end it started with a coffee and networking session in the gym downstairs, in which local community organisations, service providers and community interest companies working with young people were invited to have a stand. This provided an opportunity for groups such as the RSPCA at Mallydams wood, Education Futures TrustChallenger Troop, 18 Hours, Workingrite, In2Play, East Sussex Young Carers, Quit 51 -stop smoking service, Red Cross, Make Food, SustransHastings Voluntary Action, Hastings Pier Charity and Imagine Nation to make their materials available to those working in schools and to discuss their work with teachers. There were nearly 20 community organisations represented, and participants came from local schools, local and County Council, The University of Brighton and various community organisations, totalling around 60 participants.

The forum itself was chaired by Marie Casey, who currently chairs the Local Strategic Partnership on behalf of Hastings Community Network. She reiterated the purpose of these forums in bringing together different forms of knowledge, different practitioners and community members around a common issue of concern, urging people to use this as an opportunity to build connections with each other. She outlined the format of the morning, starting with a range of speakers from the university and moving to a response from community partners, schools and young people themselves after coffee.

Ed forum 15 Peter Passaro

The first presenter, Peter Passaro from the University school of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics provided an introduction to how Big Data might be used to support the development and thriving of local communities and as a research tool with young people. His slides .(Peter Passaro’s Presentation) entitled ‘What is Hastings?’ showed us what some of the current available big data tells us, in terms of local deprivation, but also pockets of activity, opportunities for employment and movement of young people. He introduced the idea of big data as a research tool and outlined his ideas for local projects involving platforms which openly track the issues raised on social media by young people and use it to dialogue with them on their priorities and aspirations.

He was followed by a short presentation by Tim Coxon, an educationalist from the University who spoke about ‘The Research Mindset’. Using an image from Alice in Wonderland Tim encouraged us to think about how research might help us to frame things differently and suggested ways in which students at the university might be able to help in data collection and supporting local research.(Tim Coxon presentation)

Ed forum 15 Tim Coxon

Nigel Sherriff from the School of Health Promotion provided an example of a recent research partnership between the University and East Sussex County Council which looked at the health education needs of young people and the significance of health and relationship education in schools. He provided examples of ways in which schools in Northern Europe had used community providers to deliver information around sexual health and quoted from his research across East Sussex on how young people feel they need more discussions of these and other health issues in school.(Nigel and David presentation) Final report available here, Summary Available here.

Finally Claire Stubbs from Boing Boing, a local organisation supported by the university and working to improve Resilience in young people outlined the meaning of resilience, provided some strategies for building resilience in young people and illustrated how attention to improving personal and relational wellbeing is crucial in achieving educational outcomes.(Claire Stubbs Presentation)

After coffee and a second visit to the community stands a group of young people and a parent and therapeutic lead, Sally Charles, from the Education Future’s Trust shared some of the work they had been doing together. The parent, Carole, talked of how her son had begun refusing and absconding from school, the worry this had caused her family and the support she had received from EFT in understanding the problems he was experiencing and in finding an alternative placement at New Horizons. The young people gave examples of work they had done individually with therapeutic storytelling and provided a view from inside of the pressures some of our young people are under.

Finally Ian McCrae from Ore Academy Primary School and Liz Miles from Silverdale Primary Academy spoke about the schools’ response to understanding and supporting young people in the area, and outlined a new programme as part of the Ofsted Costal Challenge – Hastings Thrives, that would be introduced into the area in the new year. This Thrive approach would use a neuroscientific approach to diagnosing individual need and supporting young people in overcoming the particular challenges they were facing on an emotional and academic level, and has been shown to transform children in just a few months . The Project will culminate in a Children’s Festival on the 10th June next year to celebrate the local children.

Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye joined us mid-way through the panel for questions, and the panel, coming straight after the introduction of the new Thrive programme, were mainly quizzed on how it might make a difference. One question from the floor asked whether it was not trying to fix a societal problem with individual personal solutions, rather than looking at broader societal causes, but Ian and Liz responded that this was one among several approaches that schools were taking. Other questions related to how community organisations might better make connections with schools, and use their resources to work for common ends. Amber Rudd would not be drawn on whether budgets might be committed to improving broader conditions for young people in the area, confirming that she was there only to listen and to take questions back to Westminster on behalf of constituents.

In summing up Marie reminded the group on how important it was for all sectors of society to work together in times of austerity and for us to look broadly at the resources different groups had to offer, and over a brilliant lunch many new connections begun to be forged.

I left enthusiastic about the potential for these connections, with a sense that the room held a new awareness of the value and potential of different forms of research. It feels important to find a way to sustain both of these, to continually remind schools of the broader resources at their disposal when in their busy, pressured days they may be tempted to try and solve everything alone. Networking, building new connections, working across sectors and disciplines takes time, but I think we all left feeling aware of the potential of this, and a sense that it would be worth the time it took if we are able to draw on the resources and expertise that different groups and individuals have to offer.

Measuring, Evaluation, Impact – making the most of your data


Friday 27th November 12.30-4pm

Room 103 Lacuna Place, University of Brighton, Hastings

The Hastings Exchange would like to invite organisations working in the community to attend a pilot workshop on Monitoring, Evaluation & Impact. The workshop is an opportunity to explore monitoring, evaluation and impact through the practical learning of bringing together a Data Management Strategy. It will explore the concept and contents of such a strategy, the benefits of having one and what it might bring to your group. The workshops will provide space to share experiences of this area with peers.

Participants will:

  • Explore how organisational values can and should form part of your Data Management Strategy
  • Map your current data management practice against your current organisational needs and objectives
  • Identify ways in which you can develop your data management strategy through a range of different approaches

These workshops will be led by Mary Darking (Social Policy Lecturer in School of Applied Science) and Carl Walker (Psychology Lecturer, School of Applied Social Science). Mary and Carl have considerable experience in this area and led on the East Brighton Gateway Partnership which brought three adult learning organisations based in the community and voluntary sector together around the issue of data gathering.

As part of a partnership between Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP) and Community Works, these workshops have already been piloted in Brighton & Hove. In response to requests from Hastings-based organisations, we are now working with Hastings Voluntary Action to pilot a workshop as part of the Hastings Exchange.

Are these workshops for my group/organisation?

These workshops are designed for established groups/organisations who are already in the routine practice of gathering data and monitoring their activities. So you are not new to the world of monitoring and evaluation and you have experience in reporting on your activities.


Please complete your booking online:

This workshop is free to attend and places are limited.

Tea/coffee and biscuits will be provided but not lunch.

Further information

Any queries please contact Abi at Hastings-Exchange@brighton.ac.uk

University of Brighton information:

Hastings Exchange

Cupp: http://about.brighton.ac.uk/cupp/

Hastings Voluntary Action: http://www.hastingsvoluntaryaction.org/


Hastings exchange logo black                    HVAlogoCol

Education Forum – ‘How can Schools and Communities work together to improve outcomes for young people?’

Friday 20th November, 9.15-12.45pm

Ark Helenswood Academy, The Ridge, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 2AF

Book by 16 November – email A.Callaghan2@brighton.ac.uk

The Hastings Exchange, Education Futures Trust and  Hastings Community Network are holding a joint forum to look at the question: ‘How can schools and communities work together to improve outcomes for young people?’

Forums are designed to bring together different forms of knowledge, from practitioners, community members and academics, to look at issues that are important in the town and to work together to identify solutions. While we know that schools, parents, academics and partners are all concerned to improve outcomes for young people the spaces for working together are often difficult to find. Some voluntary organisations in the town that support children and families often have little contact with schools, while academics who research in this area often struggle to share their research with those that might make the best use of it.

This forum aims to highlight the work of the town’s voluntary and community sector, relevant research from the university and hear and respond to the needs and concerns of schools, young people and their parents.

The event is free and parents, professionals and community members are particularly encouraged to attend. Community organisations are invited to bring information with them and will be offered a stand at registration to display these and to talk about their work.

View the programme for the day here

There will be refreshments throughout and the event will end with a networking buffet lunch. For bookings please contact A.Callaghan2@brighton.ac.uk no later than 16 November.

As this event is taking place in a school building whilst students are there, everyone attending must have booked in advance.


Hidden Histories of the Great War: Uncovering the Untold Stories of Service and Resistance


This year’s heritage forum uncovered some of the hidden histories and untold stories lying behind the traditional narrative usually associated with the Great War.

First to speak was author and historian, Ann Kramer, whose recently published book on conscientious objectors during the Great War, Conscientious Objectors of the First World War: A Determined Resistance (Pen and Sword, 2014) has done much to reveal the ‘determined resistance’ of individuals who refused to engage in armed combat. Ann spoke of the different sort of bravery demonstrated by individuals such as Fenner Brockway, which has often been overlooked in the standard historical account. Ann’s talk offered an insight into the experiences of the many men who refused to be conscripted and kill their fellow man for various political, religious and humanitarian reasons.

Next we welcomed renowned social historian, Stephen Bourne, who spoke about his most recent and award-winning book, Black Poppies: Britain’s Black Community and the Great War (The History Press, 2014). Described by The Independent as ‘a powerful, revelatory counterbalance to the whitewashing of British history’ (11 September 2014), Bourne’s work enriches our historical understanding of this neglected aspect of the First World War. Telling the story of several individual soldiers who served in World War One Stephen gave background to their lives off the battlefield as well as on it and incorporating the experiences of some  women who played there part as well.

After lunch Dr Nicola Smith spoke of the important role played by women during the war, in particular those women who were part of the remount service. Nicola’s presentation gave the audience insight to the world of the women who trained houses for use as part of the war effort, focusing on the lives of a few key individuals who worked with the service.

Next to speak was Dr Julian Freeman who focused on the importance of art during the war and the role of the War Artists scheme in capturing eye-witness accounts of the war though an artistic medium, showing the audience examples of some of the work created during that period.

The final speaker for the day was Catherine Harvey from the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery who spoke of how the war affected the local area and the people who lived here at the time and the museum’s project Hastings Remembers: Local Stories of the First World War, a Heritage Lottery funded project with an ambitious programme of community engagement, public activities and exhibitions revolving around local historical sources and life writings related to the Great War.

Finally the audience were invited to join the organisers at the museum to view a presentation by participants of Out of the Doll’s House. A joint Museum and Women’s Voice community history project, it explores women’s experiences during the Great War.

This forum gave a voice to the stories of individuals in a time of conflict that can so often get lost in the wider narrative of war.


From Revolution to Evolution: What Next for the Digital Creative Industries?



image courtesy of ustwo

The University of Brighton is marking the launch of its new Journalism and Digital Media Hub by bringing together industry and academics involved in the digital creative industries for an early-evening gathering of short talks and discussion. The aim of this event is to consider the future of the digital creative industries and ways in which universities and industry can work together in advancing the sector. The digital revolution has taken place – but how can the creative industries evolve?

Digital creative industries offer enormous promise to contribute to economic growth and social development. The creative industries is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK and, according to the CBI, contributes 6% of GDP and employs over 2million people. The media and communication fields are now in a constant state of adaptation and innovation due to rapid technological development. The University of Brighton has responded to these shifts by launching the Journalism and Digital Media Hub. The Hub has combined existing and new degree courses linked with the creative industries and will be launched in September from the Hastings campus. The Hub considers industry partnerships as vitally important to producing employable graduates, and knowledge exchange and collaboration as crucial to social and economic development. https://www.brighton.ac.uk/studying-here/subject-areas/journalism-and-digital-media.aspx

To reserve your place, please visit the De La Warr Pavilion booking page


4.00-4.10pm: Welcome and introduction the Journalism and Digital Media Hub

Simon McEnnis (Senior Lecturer in Sport Media, University of Brighton)

Helen Kennedy (Deputy Head of School of Art, Design and Media, University of Brighton)

4.10-4.35pm: Key note speaker: Making Universities Fit for Business

Jon Dovey (Professor of Screen Media at the University of the West of England)

Jon will talk about the challenges and lessons from teaming creative businesses with academics for prototype development, sharing the wide range of impacts that emerge and how to understand creative ecologies as a methodology rather than just a metaphor.

 4.35-4.50pm: The Tech Revolution in the Newsroom

Catalina Albeanu (News Editor for journalism.co.uk)

New technologies can help journalists do their jobs better and faster, but do they also add more tasks to the to-do list? This talk looks at ways media outlets have adopted technology in the newsroom and what this means for the skills and expertise required of new hires.

4.50-5pm: Podcasting: An Evolution of Traditional Broadcasting

Lance Dann (Course Leader of Broadcast Media Top-Up, University of Brighton)

5.00-5.15pm Coffee


5.15-6.00pm Panel discussion: What Next for the Digital Creative Industries and Higher Education?

Chaired by Helen Kennedy (Deputy Head of School of Art, Design and Media, University of Brighton)

Jon Dovey (Professor of Screen Media at the University of the West of England)

Paul Sermon (Professor of Visual Communication at the University of Brighton)

Joe Macleod (Closure Experiences and former Global Design Director at ustwo)

Juliet Tzabar (Managing Director of Plug-in Media)

Catalina Albeanu (News Editor at Journalism.co.uk)


6.00pm: Networking and refreshments

 To reserve your place please visit the De La Warr Pavilion booking page



Jon Dovey image use this one  Jon Dovey is Professor of Screen Media at the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries, and Education at the University of the West of England, Bristol. In 2008 he launched the Digital Cultures Research Centre which he Directed until 2012.

He was a Knowledge Transfer Fellow at Bristol’s Pervasive Media Studio from 2010-12, co-authoring the Pervasive Media Cookbook (http://pervasivemediacookbook.com/). In 2012 he became the Director of REACT (Research and Enterprise for Arts and Creative Technologies) one of four Hubs for the Creative Economy funded by the AHRC.

He is co-author of Game Cultures Open University Press 2006 and New Media – A Critical Introduction Routledge 2009.


Catalina Albeanu hi-res image  Catalina Albeanu manages the Journalism.co.uk media training portfolio, organising open training courses designed to help journalists, freelance writers, charities and anyone who publishes online keep up with the latest trends and use the new tools available to build on their core reporting and writing skills.

She also writes news and features about technology and the media, and produces podcasts looking at the latest apps and tools that could help journalists with their day to day tasks.

Catalina is also involved with shaping the agenda and organising panels and workshops for the news:rewired digital journalism conference in London, ran by Journalism.co.uk. The event brings together media professionals to discuss innovation in the newsroom and share practical lessons and tips from their own experiences working with new technologies and processes

Before joining Journalism.co.uk, she was a freelance multimedia journalist in London, covering the city’s dynamic technology start-up scene. She completed her journalism training at City University London, and was a trainee for Olympic Broadcasting Services during London 2012.


Lance Dann image  Dr Lance Dann (http://www.lancedann.co.uk/)is a researcher of transmedia and participatory storytelling at the University of Brighton. His research explores non-linear narratives and the possibilities offered by digital and web-based radio. Lance comes from an industry background and worked as a radio producer, artist and writer, producing numerous works for BBC Radio and independent stations internationally.

He won a Prix Marulic for his production of Moby Dick for BBC Radio 4, a Silver Sony for his production of the safe sex campaign Love Safely with Kiss 107.2 and a TFT award for Digital Innovation for his transmedia project The Flickerman. Between 1998 and 2007 he was a sound designer for the acclaimed experimental theatre company The Wooster Group working on their touring rep of shows and producing a series of radio pieces broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Lance has founded the Art group Noiseless Blackboard Eraser and is an Associate Member of the New York theatre company and acts as Commissioning Editor for the London radio station Resonance 104.4FM.


Juliet Tzabar  image   Juliet Tzabar has been working in media production since 1995, moving across to produce interactive content in 2000.  Making interactive content for leading digital businesses, she has specialised in delivering interactive entertainment projects with a broadcast tie-in, largely focused at the children and families audience.

Juliet worked as a producer at Victoria Real on the company’s ground-breaking broadcast-related digital projects such as Big Brother, River Cottage and CBBC’s Xchange.

Joining Plug-in Media as a partner at the start of 2007, Juliet has overseen the company establish itself as one of the UK’s leading digital agencies. More recently she has been overseeing their move into original IP development, capitalising on their experience within the kid’s content sector to originate, produce and publish original IP across multiple platforms.

Juliet serves on the advisory committee for the Children’s Media Conference and is on the board of Wired Sussex. In 2011 she was a finalist in the Women in Technology Entrepreneur of the Year award.


Joe Macleod 2014 - image   Joe Macleod has been working in the mobile design space since 1998 and has been involved in a pretty diverse range of projects. At Nokia he helped develop some of the most streamlined packaging in the world, he created a hack team to disrupt the corporate drone of PowerPoint, produced mobile services for pregnant women in Africa and pioneered lighting behavior for millions of phones.

For the last four years he has been key to establishing ustwo as the UKs best digital product studio, with 180 people globally in London, New York and Sweden, while also successfully building education initiatives, curriculums and courses on the back of the IncludeDesign campaign which launched in 2013.

Joe has recently established Closure Experiences, a new business looking at issues around consumption, consumerism and designing the end of things.


Paul Sermon image  Paul Sermon (http://www.paulsermon.org) is Professor of Visual Communication at the University of Brighton. He has worked for over twenty years as an active academic researcher and creative practitioner, primarily in the field of telematic arts.

Having worked under the visionary cybernetic artist Professor Roy Ascott as an undergraduate Fine Art student, Paul Sermon went on to establish himself as a leading pioneer of interactive media art, winning the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Linz, Austria, shortly after completing his MFA at the University of Reading in 1991. An accolade that took Paul to Finland in the early 1990s to develop one of the most groundbreaking works of his career Telematic Dreaming in 1992.


To reserve your place please visit the De La Warr Pavilion booking page

For more information please contact us at the Hastings-Exchange@brighton.ac.uk

De La Warr Graphic exhibition image  The exhibition ‘Towards an alternative history of graphic design Schmuck, POP, bRIAN, Assembling’, will also be open before and during the event, located in the pavilion’s 2nd gallery on the first floor of the building. The exhibition sets out a new way of looking at graphic design history by focusing on four publications from the late 1960s to mid-1970s: Schmuck, POP, bRIAN and Assembling, so why not arrive early and take a look. For more information visit



Cultural Regeneration through Heritage: Hastings, Heritage and Local History

In October 2014 during Hastings week over 70 people gathered to hear about various aspects of heritage, with a particular focus on local history and community involvement. Representatives from many local heritage groups were present and spent the afternoon listening to a packed and interesting programme of speakers including academics, students,  as well as from Hastings Borough Council, Hastings Pier Charity and Heritage Consultancy Services.

The keynote speakers for  the afternoon were Professor Fred Gray and Jason Wood. Fred from the University of Sussex started the afternoon with a talk entitled ‘Whose Heritage?’ which asked a range of questions from what is heritage and who defines this? to who or what is responsible for preserving and protecting heritage? Looking at the role played by organisations such as The National Trust, English Heritage and The Heritage Lottery Fund showed that whilst the buildings and grounds managed and maintained by these organisations offer an understanding of history from a certain perspective, there are many sections of the past that are hidden from view. (Fred Gray’s presentation)

Following on from Fred, was Jason Wood the Director of Heritage Consultancy Services who’s talk  ‘Democratizing Heritage’, The focus of Jason Wood’s keynote address was how to bring academics, local historians and heritage professionals together as a persuasive force for economic, social and cultural regeneration. He explored this theme through two ongoing case studies ‘Beyond the castle’ and ‘Breaking ground”. ‘Beyond the Castle’  is a project focusing on the area around Lancaster Castle. . The other case study ‘Breaking Ground’ looked at Bradford’s Park Avenue football ground, where in 2013 the first excavation of a football goalmouth and goalpost was conducted. This led to enthusiasm from a variety of people to see the old ground further investigated and utilised. Both case studies showed the benefits of reaching out to local people and engaging them in heritage projects in interesting and innovative ways, suggesting that similar initiatives would be of benefit if applied in Hastings heritage  projects.(Jason’s images as PowerPoint), (Jason Wood – Democratizing heritage keynote)

Hastings based Joint Honours Student, Kristin O’Donnell talked the audience through her essay entitled ‘Consuming Heritage: How Visual Culture Contributes to a Sense of Place’. Which explored “how consuming history as a leisure pursuit can inform identity” and how “As the consumption of history has become increasingly commodified through its association as a leisure activity questions of authenticity have become increasingly present in academic discourse”. Using The smugglers Adventure/St Clements Caves as a case study, Kristin looked at the Disneyfication of heritage sites.(Kristin’s PowerPoint)

Through their presentation ‘History, Performativity, Locality and Identities: Sussex Bonfire Nights’ Professor John Nauright and Dr Thomas Carter of the School of Sport and Service Management, talked to the audience about their research into the tradition of bonfire nights and societies in Sussex.

Beatrice Rapley,  Learning and Education Manager at Hastings Pier Charity , gave the audience an insight into the importance of the community in her ‘The People’s Pier: Heritage as a Catalyst for Regeneration’ presentation, . Beatrice talked about the history of the pier, about when the pier was almost completely destroyed by fire in 2010 and the subsequent restoration project and the community involvement with that project. (Hastings Pier presentation )

Other speakers were Dr Paul Gilchrist who talked about ‘Heritage Trails and Coastal Regeneration’ and Dr Nicola Smith who discussed  ‘Commemoration and World War I’.

The final presentation for the afternoon came from Kevin Boorman. ‘”1066 and All That”: How 1066 is Used to Market Heritage in Hastings’  looked at how an historic event can be used as a marketing tool. The Head of Communications and Marketing at Hastings Borough Council talked about how The Battle of Hastings can be used as a way of attracting overseas visitors to the town.

Young people and mental health, Self-harm and suicide in Hastings Forum


On the afternoon of Wednesday October 8th 2014 during the week of World Mental Health Day around 40 people from the community, local organisations, students and academics gathered in a room with a view  over the town at the University’s Hastings campus to discuss the mental health of young people in the town.

Starting off with an overview of the situation in the town was Graeme Potter from Hastings Borough Council, the presentation looked at several surveys and reports from the local area which showed various aspects of life which can impact on young peoples mental health (Graeme’s Presentation).

Next we heard from Mark and Jenny about their own experiences dealing with their mental health, including what can lead to someone to self-harm or contemplate suicide and strategies that can be put in place to to try and stop those situations arising (Jenny presentation)

Offering some insight from an organisation dealing with preventing suicide was Miranda Frost of Grassroots Suicide prevention who offer courses to the community to help them spot and assist those who may be having suicidal thoughts.(Grassroots presentation)

Dr Palo Almond and Professor Gillian Bendelow shared information from two research projects that looked at the role of the internet in supporting young people and the impacts of Section 136 that took young people at risk into custody.

The discussion that followed the presentations highlighted two main themes that were of most comcern in the local area

  • The need to address this as an issue of urgency in the Hastings and Rother area
  • The importance of community and peer groups in prevention and support.

Some of the points raised by the event included

  1. A joined up approach at a strategic level and a joint vision for the town. It was acknowledged that there were pockets of good practice locally but that services were also being cut. Brighton was formerly the second highest suicide city in England and is now 11th and moving toward being designated as a suicide safe area. This is real evidence that things can be turned around with commitment and strong leadership.


  1. Support for community and peer groups, important support often comes through peers as young people may not want to speak to adults or service providers, Groups such as BMX bikers and football supporters do however bring people of different ages together and offer valuable mentoring for young men. These groups could do with training in suicide prevention


  1. Linking research more closely to real life issues, sharing the data that emerges from research in ways that people can use. There is useful research from Hastings, East Sussex and further afield, this needs to be better communicated with new research focusing on issues that are likely to have a direct impact on the town.


  1. Increasing the number of safe places for people at risk of suicide, these are dwindling and research shows the harmful impact of taking someone with a mental health problem into police custody for safety. It is also not cost effective to use the cells to contain someone with severe mental health needs

The need to address the low self-esteem in the town generally through a range of different interventions


Handouts that were available on the day can be viewed by clicking the links below

Cognitive Functioning In Adults And Young People With Schizophrenia

Preventing suicide: A global imperative



‘Education and Accountability – going to school in Hastings in 2014’

 On June 19th 2014 around 60 people from the local community, including representatives from schools and various groups with an interest in education gathered to hear from several speakers on the impact of the changes within the education system on a local level, in particular the academies.

To start the afternoon there was a welcome from Juliet Millican from the university’s Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP) and some scene setting from Steve Manwaring of Hastings Voluntary Action. Following on from this was Carole Dixon, the Chief Executive of Education Futures Trust Identifying current concerns for the education of the town, the main one being the higher than average level of disadvantage among the local population and the impact this has in educational terms, which has connections with the recently published government white paper.

Ed and acc forum image

Next up was Martin Kaliszewski who looked how the picture in Hastings at both primary and secondary level compares with the rest of the County and the National Picture, alongside what the impact of new measures being planned for 2016 may be(Martin Kaliszewski presentation)

The Heads of three of the local academies were next to offer their contribution to the event from the perspective of the schools themselves, with Theresa Phillips from Hastings Academy showing us how the picture is improving for their pupils since the academy took over (Theresa’s Presentation) and Mark Phillips talked us through his experience at William Parker since it became an academy. Following on from this Francis Robinson talked from a primary perspective, with a PowerPoint showing her pupils enjoying many educational experiences playing in the background, of the many positive things happening within her school, but accepted that there are still challenges to be overcome.

This followed with some questions from the floor such as

What about the possibility of co working with the voluntary sector?
This was heartily welcomed by the heads who thought this would be of mutual benefit.

What differentiates academies?
Relation with sponsors, not money but help with strategic and organisational development, Specialist support from subject experts can more readily be delivered

What is relationship with Local authority for supporting the most vulnerable?
The response was that co-work is going on in a context of inadequate overall resourcing

The next part of the afternoon involved a presentation from Yvonne Hillier and Mandy Curtis about research they were involved with which aimed, amongst other things, to ‘Identify the barriers to learning and the levers to secure success’ and used parents as researchers in this process.(Mandy and Yvonne’s Presentation).

Check out Dave Wolff’s (Director of CUPP) blog post from the event below (This may require signing up to the CUPP blog pages).

Dave Ed forum blog post

The final part of the afternoon saw the delegates split into smaller groups to explore the question ‘So What do we Know and What do we Need to Know? ’, the groups discussions were then fed back to the rest of the room, with the feedback from representatives of the Hastings Youth Council being a particular highlight.

Following the event Hastings Community Network published a position statement which details the main points raised by the event and future actions planned by HCN, the paper can be viewed here. The position paper was circulated to the Local Strategic Partnership and has contributed to Hastings Borough Council’s ‘Overview and Scrutiny review of the council’s role in raising educational achievement in Hastings and educational outcomes for the town’s children and young people in an academised context’, the final report can be read here. Since the forum there have also been increased links between the schools and local community groups, with at least two representatives for community groups attending each of the head teachers breakfast forums, which meets 6 time a year.

Please let us know about any partnerships or connections that were sparked as a consequence of attending this event, if attending the event impacted your organisations approach or focus or if it resulted in anything else you feel was significant.