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.

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

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 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.

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

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


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 ( 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 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 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, 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 ( 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 ( 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

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


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.




Hastings Computing Project Exhibition 2015 – Showcasing students’ skills

Computing exhibition image

Students studying computing at the University of Brighton’s Hastings campus are showcasing their work to local businesses before they graduate.

The event is designed to attract potential employers, providing them with opportunities to examine students’ work, ask questions and find out more about the skills students gain on the course.

The university’s Digital Games Production and Internet Computing students study subjects including programming and game theory, and use cutting-edge technologies such as Oculus Rift as part of their course.

Many also choose to undertake a paid year in industry, supported by the university. This year, students studying computing at the campus secured both of the highly competitive placements offered nationally by the BBC within the news (interactive content) division.

Jon Mcclellan, Digital Games Production course leader, said “Our students acquire a huge range of skills suited to roles across the wider interactive media industry; for example in web, games design, mobile, interactive television, public displays or perhaps other platforms we can’t yet imagine. This is a great opportunity for employers to discover new talent.”

Topics covered by the student projects include monetisation and internet traffic building techniques, pathfinding in video games, facial motion capture: A design and feasibility study and measuring physiological responses to game design.

Graduates from the digital computing courses at the Hastings campus have gone on to work with international companies including the BBC, NETbuilder, CGI, the International Baccalaureate and Immersive Album.

The event is open to local businesses from 2pm on Wednesday 27 May, and will be held in the Havelock Road building of the Hastings campus.

If you are a business who is interested in attending the event please register your details here, so that we know you are coming.


Business Growth by Design

DLWP imagine


Business Growth by Design was held at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, East Sussex, on Tuesday, April 28.

This cutting-edge event  provided business people with the latest insights into how good design, collaboration and innovative thinking can lead to greater financial success.

Organised by the University of Brighton in partnership with Locate East Sussex, it featured presentations from leading speakers and opportunities for networking, collaboration with complimentary drinks.

Esther Brown, the University of Brighton’s Economic and Social Engagement Manager, said: “This is the first in a programme of events for local businesses and entrepreneurs, to share knowledge and help foster successful relationships that aid business success.

“Business Growth by Design’s thought-provoking seminars are aimed at producing new collaborations between educators and local companies, and we hope as many business people will come along to learn more.”

Philip Johnson, Director of Locate East Sussex, said: “Business people across all sectors can discover ways of achieving increased success for their organisation by attending this event which focuses on the benefits of good design, collaboration and innovative thinking.

“Design is the fastest growing creative industries sector in the country and the speakers include  design practitioners who have extensive experience of working in commercial environments.”


The speakers were:

Dr Carlos Peralta, Senior Lecturer in the University of Brighton’s School of Art, Design and Media, who  explained the benefits of collaborations between designers and scientists.

Professor Gillian Youngs, the University of Brighton’s Professor of Digital Economy, who  discussed how the digital economy provides new opportunities for innovation.(GillianYoungs presentation)

James Byford, Research Fellow from the Fusebox knowledge exchange project, who  introduced an experimental new start-up programme for innovators.

Simon Riley, CEO of MakerClub, a Brighton start-up and alumni of Fusebox24, who  talked about 3D printing and the importance of teaching digital skills to young people.(Simon Riley’s presentation)

Steve Baldry, Group Personnel Development Manager at Marshall Tufflex, said: ““In a tough economic environment finding the next big thing is an ever increasing priority.  However, finding ‘it’ remains as hard as ever. To aid us in our search we need a steady stream of ideas, and our hope is that this event will provide a source for a new stream to start flowing.”

Stewart Drew, Director and CEO of the De La Warr Pavilion, said: “Since 1935 the De La Warr Pavilion has been an icon of great design and now, more than ever, its principals of good design, collaborative working and creative thinking are having a huge impact on its financial success. As a catalyst for cultural regeneration along the coast, we are delighted to host this key event and look forward to sharing ideas with our business partners from the area.”

To find out what others had to say about the event look here at the Sussex chamber of commerce blog post or the article in the Eastbourne Herald or Hastings Observer


About the partners:

Locate East Sussex is a business support service funded by the county, district and borough councils of East Sussex

Marshall-Tufflex, based at Churchfields Industrial Estate, manufactures and supplies top quality cable management systems for a global market.

The De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill is a grade one listed modernist building housing a contemporary art gallery and auditorium.


Community Led Regeneration, Lessons from the Past for the Future


On Wednesday March 25th local residents, community organisations and academics were among those gathered to explore what we could learn about community led regeneration in the local area and how what has been learnt from past projects can be used to inform future initiatives. The afternoon began with a poster display featuring examples of  regeneration initiatives from Burton St Leonards Society , HastingsTrust, Hastings Greenway, Hastings Urban Design Group, Nick Wates Associates,  Hastings Borough Council, Groundwork provided 3 posters featuring Hastings Country Park Visitor Centre, Fishing boat restoration project and Combe Valley Countryside Park  with The White Rock Trust offering a poster as well as a model of the White Rock Area, made by local artist John Knowles.

White rock model at forum

As everyone moved to the lecture theatre the speakers for the afternoon kicked off with some scene setting from Steve Manwaring who talked about the particular issues faced by Hastings as a town, some of the regeneration which has already taken place and what questions should be asked before commencing future regeneration projects. Questions such as “How can we ensure that everyone benefits from the regeneration of Hastings?” and “How do we support those we identify as being at risk of “missing out”?”(Steve’s Slides). This was followed by Professor Andrew Church talking about the aspirations for the afternoon(Andrew’s slides). .

Frank Rallings talked about current and future initiatives and legislation and how these initiatives have been implemented both locally and in other areas of the country. The presentation explored different aspects of The Localism Act 2011, from neighbourhood plans which aimed to give people a greater say in how their neighbourhoods are developed, to requesting that a building or piece of land become an Asset of Community Value. Following on from this Frank looked at some Community campaigns locally, where these have been successful and the sort of funding that has been awarded for various projects and community Interest Companies such as Hastings Pier and the Saltdean Lido, as well as the other funding streams that might be available for future projects(Frank’s slides).

Next we heard of Jess Steele’s experiences of community led regeneration in her earlier career in Deptford and with projects such as Hastings Pier, The White Rock Trust and Rock House more recently in Hastings. Continuing on the theme of people having more control over the development of their surroundings, Jess talked of regeneration being “The unleashing of resources to nurture transformational local change” and of the ways in which these resources could be accessed(Jess’ slides).  Following on from Jess was Monica Adams-Acton, Head of Regeneration and Planning policy at Hastings Borough Council, who offered a more council focused perspective. Following this there was comment from the audience that the council could perhaps had over ownership of assets such as the lido site to the community.

jo presenting

Revisiting her PhD findings, Dr Jo Orchard-Webb talked about the possible barriers and opportunities for meaningful community engagement with formal regeneration initiatives in Hastings. Showing the audience a rather confusing looking diagram of the various groups and sub-groups, who are part of the decision making process for local regeneration, Jo spoke of the institutional congestion that can be hard for the community to negotiate. She also spoke of the danger of the community being represented by just a few ‘usual suspects’ and how this reliance on community stars may lead to a disconnect with the wider community(Jo’s slides).

Nick Wates then introduced the idea of a timeline to map regeneration in the Hastings area, which could stretch back as far as memories allow and in to the future. This timeline is based one carried out in the North East Hastings area, which had been used to map developments in that area of the town and had proved to be a valuable tool for building a collective memory and could be used as a planning tool for thinking forward. For the Hastings timeline, as well as physical display which can be taken to events around the town for residents to add to, there will also be an interactive website. The delegates were then encouraged to pick up a pen and post-it note and add their own regeneration memories to the timeline on the wall next door(Nick’s slides).

Timeline in action1timeline

The Final part of the afternoon saw a panel taking questions and comments from the audience, the panel was Chris Lewcock from Hastings Urban Design Group, Jess Steele, Steve Manwaring and Stuart Woodin of Aecom and chaired by Andrew Church. The discussion ranged from:

  • Why should people want to lead regeneration?
  • How the term regeneration has become tainted but is really just about ‘anything you want to change in your space’.
  • How local people feel they have limited involvement with the regeneration and planning process, with the possible exception of the pier.
  • How regeneration often looks at just buildings and jobs and that perhaps a more holistic approach would be beneficial, considering health and recreation facilities as well.
  • The Vital need for economic inclusion.
  • Delinquent owners, why are private owners not improving the property?
  • Why did SeaSpace rebrand to SeaChange?
  • How the observer building has had 12 private owners over 30 years, with no development of the building being followed though.
  • The Dangers of gentrification and how there is a need for something alongside gentrification to make it meaningful for existing residents.
  • That there is a value in identifying projects that didn’t work, as much can be learnt from things which have been unsuccessful

The afternoon was ended with a few words from David Wolff from the University’s Community and University Partnership Programme(CUPP) about the opportunity for organisations to develop projects with academics and apply for funding from the Hastings Exchange seed fund to get the projects off the ground ( Seed Funding 2015 Guidance ).

Thank you to all that contributed to and attended what was a very interesting afternoon. If you have any questions about the timeline or have any information or links that would be relevant and of interest to those that attended the event please contact , so they can be added to this blog. To find out about future Hastings Exchange events visit our webpages here, subscribe to this blog or follow us on twitter @Hast_Exchange.