Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Thursday 26 October 2023

New Arts, Education & Cultural Centre Planned For The South Downs In Sussex

Towner Eastbourne, in partnership with Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC), plans to create a world-class culture and education centre in the unique landscape of the South Downs National Park.

Its vision is to transform lives by connecting communities and visitors with the outstanding nature, landscape and cultural heritage of the downlands for health and wellbeing. 

The building design, by architects Feilden Fowles, has just been submitted for planning approval.

The submission of a planning application follows Eastbourne Borough Council's successful £19.8 million bid to the government's Levelling Up Fund. 

As a new eastern gateway to the South Downs, this landscape-led project will act as a catalyst to connect the Sussex Heritage Coast's iconic landmarks of Beachy Head, Birling Gap, Seven Sisters and Cuckmere Haven. 

With new walking, cycling and sustainable transport routes between the sites, it will provide a coherent visitor offer for the 1 million national and international visitors to the region each year.

Black Robin Farm will offer a new destination for 100,000 visitors annually within five years, revitalising Eastbourne's visitor economy and bringing sustainable growth to the town and East Sussex. 

Visitors will engage in the cultural heritage of the rolling chalk downland through public artworks in the landscape, exhibitions, creative activities and courses, artist and maker events and a high quality, locally sourced and sustainable food and drink offer.

In partnership with East Sussex College Group, Towner will also deliver qualifications and skills training for young adults to support career development in the creative, leisure and tourism sectors. 

It will also provide artists opportunities through commissions, residencies, showcasing and workspace. 

With the Coastal Schools Partnership and community partners, it will also deliver creative activities and teacher CPD encompassing natural materials, nature, ecology and food production for children and young people to grow confidence, build skills and improve life outcomes.

Joe Hill, CEO and Director, Towner Eastbourne, said:

"We are delighted to be leading on this project with Eastbourne Borough Council - it will allow us to deliver an ambitious artistic and educational programme situated in - and around - the nineteenth century dairy farm set in the stunning and unique landscape of the South Downs National Park. 

"Our ambition is to ensure genuinely inclusive access to art and culture through artist commissions and other professional development opportunities, skills development initiatives and creative engagement programmes for children and adults; especially those from Eastbourne's most disadvantaged communities. 

"Our vision is to change lives through high quality creative and cultural experiences that raise aspirations, change career directions and improve life outcomes."

by: Mike Cobley


Credit Rachel Sherlock

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Credit: Romany Mark Bruce

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Credit: Paul Winter

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Credit: Phoebe Fox

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