Louise Blackwell

What Next for Culture?

What Next? is a national movement bringing together arts and cultural organisations from across the UK, to articulate, champion and strengthen the role of culture in our society. The Brighton & Hove chapter has over 350 members spanning creative individuals and businesses across genre and scale. We usually meet monthly but the group currently meets weekly via zoom in response to the need for cross sector support and collaboration during the pandemic.

To sign up to the What Next? Brighton & Hove mailing list click HERE

I was Co-Chair with Marina Norris from 2017 – 2022.

You can find out more about the current What Next? Brighton & Hove chapter here.


Thurs 16th December: We will be joined by two guests: Helen Arvanitakis, Director of the newly launched Greenwich Design District,a permanent home for the creative industries — 16 buildings by eight pioneering architects, one minute from North Greenwich Underground station. Helen will share the process of making the Design District happen and how they support creatives. David Byrne, Artistic Director of New Diorama Theatre in London will also join us. David will talk about his partnership with British Land and how the NDT Broadgate project came about.

The meeting on 16th Dec will also be the last one Co-Chaired by Louise. I have volunteered my time to What Next with Marina for 4 years and my increased workload now means it’s time to hand over to someone else. Marina will continue to Co-Chair the meetings for the first half of 2022 but we need someone else to step up and work alongside Marina to keep the network and meetings going. The membership has grown to over 400 people and we hope the meetings continue to be a useful way to talk about important issues in the creative industries and meet new people. As Co-Chair you will also join What Next? national Chair meetings. Please email me if you are interested in Co-Chairing. It’s a voluntary position that probably takes about a day a month of time per Co-Chair, give or take.

Thurs 2nd December 2021: Local artist Sue Maclaine will lead a discussion for artists on the subject of support and space for artists in the City. The question she will pose is ‘How can artists gain meaningful support for what they need rather than what is wanted by capitalist economic structures?’

Thurs 18th Nov: in May 2020 we hosted the three local MPs to share case studies with them on how the creative community of Brighton & Hove were being impacted by the pandemic. This resulted in Caroline Lucas using some of our examples in the House of Commons to make the case for more support for freelancers and kick-started the ABCD for Cultural Recovery project. At this meeting we were joined by Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle and we shared case studies and asked questions reflecting on what the key issues are today for the creative industries in Brighton & Hove. Watch the recording of the meeting here.

Thurs 4th Nov: Julia Payne joined us from The Hub to talk about the Rn’R Leadership Support programme, supported by Welcome Back funding and delivered through the ABCD programme. You can watch the recording here.

On Thurs 21st October we were joined by Jamie Wyld from Videoclub to introduce Third Thursdays and Katie Dale-Everett from Sussex Dance Network to introduce Alternative Tours, two projects that are part of the ABCD for Cultural Recovery plan. Watch the recording here.

On Thurs 23rd September the meeting was focused on the climate emergency and we were joined by Perse from ONCA and Polly Gifford who are involved in Culture Declares Emergency

On 9th September the meeting was focused on inclusive cultural reopening and were joined by Sarah Watson, Chair of Carousel who shared experiences of the ‘re-opening’ context we are in from a learning disabled perspective. Here is a recording of the meeting and here are Sarah’s notes from the meeting.

On 22nd July from 10am – 12 noon the What Next national team hosted a meeting exploring the Civic Role of the Arts. It was a lively and inspiring session. As one colleague put it;  here’s to a “shared 20 year vision for the city (led by the arts & cultural sector) including things like: eradicate street homelessness, become city of culture etc. that everyone signs up to and builds their programmes of work towards achieving”. 

Here is the recording of the meeting. There were lots of moments in breakout rooms which are not recorded. If you want to cut out the times when there’s nothing going on in the main room follow these timings and watch from beginning to 25:11 then from 31:51 – 34:37 then 57:00 – 1:03:51 then 1:10:54 to 1:17:18 and 1:32:26  –  1: 33:15 then 1:35:29 to the end. And here are the notes from the session to fill in the gaps:

Jamboard of posits on Civic Role vision, lessons learnt and current priorities (please note there are 6 boards to scroll through)

Mentimeter contributions: what do we think about when we hear the term Civic Role word cloud and statements on networks and collaboration

Google Doc of notes from the chat on Power, Distributed Leaderships, Actions and key Takeaways   

On Thurs 8th July we were joined by Julian Caddy, CEO, Brighton Fringe and Beth Burgess, Executive Producer, Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival where they shared their learnings from the Festivals this year. Here is a link to the recording of the meeting.

On 10th June the meeting was Co-Chaired by Marina Norris and Faith Dodkins and focused on equality and safety for women in the arts. We were joined by Kai Stone from Good Night Out and Beth O’Leary from The Attenborough Centre. You can watch the recording here.

On Thurs 27th May the meeting was Co-Chaired by Louise and Ben Price and focused on independent producers in the city. We were joined by Kaya Stanley-Money from Camden People’s Theatre to share different perspectives on producing and what indie producers in the city need. You can watch the recording here.

On Thursday 13th May the meeting was Co-Chaired by Marina and Lucy Stone from No Stone Unturned and the focus was fundraising. You can watch a recording of the meeting here. Lucy also genrously shared her helpful documents on how to build a case for support. Download them here: Case for Support Canvas – No Stone Unturned and Case for Support What Next.

On Thurs 29th April, Jessica Cheetham, Artistic Director of Spun Glass Theatre co-chaired the meeting and qwe were joined by Jack Gamble from the Public Campaign for the Arts. You can watch the recording here.

On Thursday 1st April we were joined by musician Tom Gray from the Mercury Music Prize winning band Gomez . He spoke passionately about the #BrokenRecord campaign he founded in May 2020 to raise awareness of the lack of royalties that go directly to music artists from streaming platforms. Watch a recording of the meeting here.

On Thursday 18th March we were joined by Jamie Arnell, founder and principal funder of The Pebble Trust who fund Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe and local young people. Jamie will talk about the work The Pebble Trust does in Brighton. Watch a recording of the meeting here.

On Thurs 4th March at 10am members of the Founding Group of the ABCD for Cultural Recovery in Brighton & Hove answered questions about the recruitment processes for the Programme Management Services and Working Group members roles to take the plan forward. Here is a recording of the meeting and you can see the Q&As here.

On Thurs 18th Feb at 10am. We were joined by Professor Paul Sermon, School of Art, University of Brighton who will be giving a short overview of the recently AHRC funded project Telepresence Stage. You can watch the recording here.

On Thurs 4th February we were joined by Ian Baird representing EPIC and Andrew Comben representing Arts & Cultural Industries Commission (ACIC). We provided an update on the ABCD Cultural Recovery plan for the City. You can access a recording of the meeting and the chat box here – you don’t need a passcode.

On Thurs 21st January at 10am we were joined by Donna Chisholm, Assistant Director, Culture Tourism and Sport at Brighton & Hove City Council who provided an overview of the Council’s priorities as they relate to culture and the linkages from culture across to tourism, outdoor events, the Brighton Centre and the seafront which are all part of her portfolio. As part of this meeting we also be shared information about the three networks: What Next?, EPIC and the Arts & Cultural Industries Commission (ACIC), what their role is in the city and how they work. You can access the meeting recording here passcode is WhatNext1?

On Thurs 7th January 2021 we were joined by Lilli Geissendorfer, Director of Jerwood Arts. Lilli shared Jerwood Arts’ approach to collaboration in relation to their work on the Weston Jerwood Bursaries, Live Work Fund and Jerwood FVU Awards. This meeting was British Sign Language interpreted. Here is the link to the recording and the Access Passcode: T=%i.76v

On 5th November we were joined by Anna Jefferson and Davina Christmas from Arts Council England South East team to talk about the Developing Your Creative Practice grant programme. You can see the PowerPoint presentation they gave here: DYCP 2020 Ext Presentation_AJ and DC. You can watch the recording of the meeting here the passcode is: H$kBzW4B

Chat box notes from the meeting on 22nd October where organisations who were successful in their Cultural Recovery Fund applications shared their plans: chat box What Next meeting 22nd October 2020 and here is the link to Part 1 of the zoom recording, Part 2 is here.

Notes from the meeting on 8th October: What Next_ BH Minutes.8.10.20

Notes from meeting on 24th September 2020: What Next_ BH Minutes.24.9.20. With Paule Constable from Freelancers Make Theatre Work and Laura McDermott leading a discussion on lobbying and the Comprehensive Spending Review. You can watch a recording of the meeting here using the passcode: Dj!8fM1+

On 6th August we met to discuss the Brighton & Hove Recovery Plan you can access the recording of the meeting here password: #&PJKfW0 You can also read the minutes What Next_ BH Minutes.6.8.20

On 30th July we hosted a meeting with Jon Linstrum and Davina Christmas from Arts Council England, South East. You can listen to a recording of the meeting here using this Access Password: +jC+E4r? You can also access a pdf of the PowerPoint presentation that Davina made NLPG July 2020.

On 16th July we hosted the online launch of the Open Up Arts report, commissioned by the Brighton & Hove Arts and Creative Industries Commission with research undertaken by Brighton People’s Theatre. You can find a recording of the meeting here password: 9E@v^#7!

On 9th July we hosted a meeting with venues and promoters to discuss re-opening plans. Here is the recording. The password is 8P?u2+$8

On 25th June, Toni Darton from Sussex Community Foundation joined us and shared information about how SCF is supporting people in Sussex at this time. Here is the chat box from the meeting and here is a link to the recording. Password: 5S+0=0n9.

Here are the minutes from the meeting on 18th June. And here is a link to the recording. Password is 9Q*4298.

Here are the notes from the meeting on 11th June where Richard Freeman joined us and gave a presentation on the Brighton & Hove discretionary grants programme.

On 4th June Jenni Lewin Turner offered a statement to the group concerning equality and inclusion, particularly in reference to racism. What Next Minutes 04.06.2020 Anti-Racist Resources

What Next minutes 28th May

On 21st May we were joined by the three Brighton & Hove MPs; Peter Kyle, Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle. If you’d like to watch a zoom recording of the meeting, let me know. louise@louiseb.co.uk You can read the minutes from the meeting here: Whats Next 21.5.20 Final notes

What Next minutes 14th May 2020 with Gavin Stewart from the Business Investment District in Brighton.

What Next minutes 7th May 2020 with Lou Williams from Coast to Capital.

What next minutes 30 April here.

What Next minutes 23 April 2020

What Next minutes 16th April here.

What Next minutes 9 April 2020.

Notes from 2nd April meeting here.

The first meeting in 2020 was on Thursday 26th March and you can see the notes from the meeting here: What Next Brighton and Hove chapter notes from Zoom meeting 26 March 2020.

In 2019 the following meetings took place:

28th Feb: Climate and Culture at ONCA Gallery. The meeting included guest speakers: Ann Light, Professor of Design and Creative Technology at University of Sussex who spoke about her research into how creative practices of all kinds enable transformations to sustainability and pianist Sarah Kingdom Nicolls who shared a taste of of her work on musical activism.

In 2018 we held the following meetings:

Feb: at Hove Town Hall with Val Birchall, Programme Director for Arts, Culture & Tourism at Brighton & Hove City Council focussing on the Cultural Framework for the city.

March: at Phoenix Galleries was focused on how the community can engage in finding solutions for the homelessness in Brighton & Hove.

May: at West Blatchington Nursery and Primary School focussing on harnessing parent and carer power in the city

September: at ONCA Gallery focussing on how arts & culture can impact on climate change communication.

In between the main meetings there have been sub-group meetings following up the conversations on homelessess and climate change. Sign up here.