Louise Blackwell

The ABCD for Cultural Recovery in Brighton & Hove


Re-invent the Future: Getting Creative with Business Planning

Deadline 10th Feb

A FREE 1-day training programme designed to help creative leaders, entrepreneurs and freelancers plan for a new future and identify what ‘good growth’ looks like for you

Event Details: Friday 25 February 2022 11am-5.30pm
Sound Rooms, 3 Pelham Terrace, Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 4AF

With all of us who work in the creative sector acutely aware of the impact that Covid has had, and continues to have, on our lives and livelihoods, there’s no doubt we still need to flex, improvise and think differently about the way ahead. More info here.


Upcoming deadline for artists’ submission 10th March

Third Thursdays is a new commissioning and showcasing programme, supported by the ABCD Cultural Recovery Plan for Brighton & Hove and Brilliant Brighton Business Improvement District. videoclub are curating and producing the project and will soon announce how you can apply for a commission and share information on how you as an artist, musician, technologist, designer, curator, or organisation can get involved.

On 16 December & 20 January, a programme of film screenings and live music took place through the North Laine and The Lanes between 5 and 7pm. With music by musicians from Brighton & Hove and films by artists and filmmakers from across the globe.

The next ones are on Thurs 17th February & Thurs 17th March. There are a range of commissioning opportunities for artists, the next submission deadline is 10th March. Find out more here.

Creativity & Meanwhile Use

24th Feb & 3 March

A series of online discussions led Meanwhile Space CIC asking how meanwhile use could unlock space in Brighton & Hove for the city’s creatives, and what practical steps we can take to realise this ambition. 12.30 – 2.30pm on 24 Feb and 3 March. Book Here

Meanwhile Use: Toolkit

Meanwhile use is a way to unlock underused spaces. Whether you are an artist looking for space for a new project, a cultural organisation in need of a new base, or a landlord wanting to bring a burst of life to your portfolio while avoiding the costs of vacancy, meanwhile use can offer answers – and this toolkit, prepared by the Meanwhile Foundation as part of the ABCD Cultural Recovery plan, provides the information you need to get started.

There is also a ‘Creativity & Meanwhile Use‘ Facebook group, where you can meet others in the Brighton & Hove area who have an interest in meanwhile use, share experiences, find opportunities for collaboration – and, until the end of March 2022, put any questions you have about meanwhile use to the Meanwhile Foundation. More information here.

Alternative Tours of Brighton & Hove: Workshop Participants Call Out

Deadline 1st March

Sussex Dance Network are looking for workshop participants to develop a series of Alternative Tours of Brighton & Hove, as part of the ABCD Cultural Recovery Plan. There will be four tours, each with a different opportunity to share an experience of Brighton

Visit their website to find out more about the project and whether you could get involved. Or email info@sussexdancenetwork.co.uk to express your interest and find out more!

Igniter events
reimagine how the creative sector can emerge from the pandemic stronger, more connected and more resilient. Brand new. Open-hearted. Brave. Bold and Inspiring.

Provocative ‘lightning talks’ from high profile figures about Greater Brighton as an incubator for creativity and innovation, the ‘superfusion’ model of art and tech, and questioning whether the current investment of time, money, training, and will, is ambitious enough.

Part of the ABCD plan for cultural recovery in Greater Brighton, these free sessions shout loudly how creative businesses are at the forefront of the city’s recovery. International, national and local guest speakers will provoke ideas, suggest new ways of working and invite you to re-energise collaborations.

The Igniter programme is a series of 4 online webinars:

1. Does Brighton dare…? 2nd Feb 12.30 – 2.30pm

2. A New Resilience for Greater Brighton 16 Feb 12.30 – 2.30pm

3. Compassionate, creative…. and commercial? 2nd March 4.30 – 6.30pm

4. Clusters, Communities + Co-working Spaces 16 March 4.30 – 6.30pm

Book here

The pandemic has shown how vulnerable the creative sector can be, but also how critical for wellbeing, understanding and belonging. How can we be better prepared for a future crisis? What strengths can we keep building on?

Igniter is an opportunity for you to be heard, to learn, to challenge and be inspired – empowered by Brighton’s radical heart.

History of the ABCD for Cultural Recovery project

In mid-March 2020 the cultural offer in Brighton & Hove was put on hold, a national lock-down began and the cultural workforce and those in the immediate supply chain experienced significant impact. Our live events offer that attracts international, national and local visitors, informs Brighton’s reputation and accounts for 40% of the City’s economy was unable to operate. From freelancers with 100% loss of paid work to organisations with 100% loss of income and a need to furlough staff quickly. No two individuals or organisations shared the same experience, yet many people came together to find ways to collaborate, support and to start to re-imagine. We want to build on this energy for this short term project.

Brighton & Hove Arts and Creative Industries Commission, EPIC & What Next? Brighton & Hove have been commissioned to work with the creative community to produce an action based recovery plan for culture in the City.

Our ambition is that the plan outlines investment-ready, ethical products and services that support the economic, social and cultural recovery of Brighton & Hove.

Phase one of the project ran between August 2020 and February 2021. Between 14th and 25th September seventeen meetings took place with a range of participants from the cultural industries in the City. Since then the Management Team have been working with the Outside Eyes to distill the many, many ideas discussed. We are currently exploring five main ideas as part of the plan. We are also working out how we can take some the other ideas forward as part of our networks. The draft Action Plan was shared with participants in November for feedback and a further series of feedback conversations took place in January and February 2021.

The final report can be downloaded here: The-ABCD-for-Cultural-Recovery-Brighton-and-Hove designed by DogFish Design

Phase 2: ABCD for Cultural Recovery 2021-2022

Three Working Groups (Enliven Brighton, The Engine Room and Creative Communities) have now been set up and will develop specific targets for recovery, guided by the ABCD Cultural Recovery Plan and deliver against those targets.

Polly Gifford has been appointed as the freelance Programme Manager for Phase 2. We have recruited Working Group members for 3 of the 5 groups plus Co-Chairs who will form the Governing Board alongside the founders.

You can read Polly’s blog here and sign up to the Culture in Our City mailing list at the bottom of their website to keep up to date with the progress of the recovery plan.

You can read the blog I wrote about the process so far (Aug 2021) here.

August 2020 – Feb 2021: Phase 1


Aimie Rae, Alex Murray, Alex Proctor, Andrew Comben, Anna Alverez, Ann Backburn, Anna Dumitriu, Anna Moulson, Anne Marie Chebib, Ann-Marie Williams, Becky Stevens, Ben Price, Bern O’Donaghue, Beth Burgess, Bobby Brown, Carmen D’Cruz, Charlie Royce, Dan Lake, David Sheppeard, Donna Close, Ebony Rose Dark, Elena Italia, Ella Burns, Emma Higham, Erin Barnes, Faith Dodkins, Freya Wynn Jones, Harriet Morris, Jackie Alexander, Jacquline Rana, Jamie Wyld, James Turnbull, Jane Finnis, Jane Olser, Jane McMorrow, Jess Starns, John Varah, Jonathan Suffolk, Judith Hibberd, Julie Stacey, Ian Baird, Karen Poley, Kate Shields, Katy Beinart, Laura McDermott, Leonardo Lami, Lex Hollingworth, Lisa Creagh, Lisa Newnham, Lisa Norman, Liz Porter, Liz Whitehead, Lizzie, Coates, Louise Blackwell, Lou Rogers, Lucy Stone, Marina Norris, Mark Brailsford, Michelle Donkin, Naomi Alexander, Natasha Britton, Nicky Crabb, Nicole Monnay, Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings, Paule Constable, Peter Chivers, Phillippa Barr, Phil Sparkes, Poppy Heron, Rebecca Halifax, Rosa Firbank, Rosia Garcia, Romy Elliot, Sarah Pickthall, Subira Wahogo, Tamsin Sasha, Tanushka Marah, Thomas Buckley, Tim Benson, Toby Park, Tristan Sharpes, Zoe Toolan.

There were 94 participants in total.


Lizzie Coates


Kerry Dowding, Lou Cope, Lauren Craig and Tarik Elmoutawakil

    Outside Eyes

Saad Eddine Said and Shaun Romain

    Management Team

Andrew Comben, Ian Baird, Louise Blackwell, Marina Norris

    Organisations represented

Actors of Dionysus, Amaze Sussex, Audio Active, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Babyoke, BELTA, Brighton and Hove Arts Council, Brighton and Hove Arts and Creative Industries Commission, Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton Artists Network, Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival, Brighton People’s Theatre, Brighton Photo Fringe, Brighton Pride, Brighton Shakespeare Company, Cast Iron, Choir With No Name, Creative Future, C3 Productions, Cultural Baggage, Culture 24, Dreamthinkspeak, EPIC, Fabrica, Hangleton & Knoll Project Hybred Events, Ironclad Creative, Komedia, KP Projects CIC, Little Green Pig, LOOKOUT Brighton, Lout Promotions, Melting Vinyl, Onca, One Inch Badge, OOPS Festival, Marlborough Productions, No Stone Unturned, Phoenix Arts Space, Parable Dance, Paradoxical Frog, Powerful Thinking, RAPT Theatre, Same Sky, Smart Power UK, South East Dance, Spymonkey, Swallowsfeet Collective, Theatre Royal Brighton, The Creative Post, The Green Door Store, The Spire, Tick Tock Bridget, University of Brighton, Vincent Dance Theatre, We Are Not Saints, Windmill Young Actors CIC, ZAP Concepts.


Arts Council England, Brighton & Hove City Council, What’s Next?