I invited writer and producer Amy Zamarripa Solis to guest blog about the ‘City of Culture’ arts-led type of regeneration seen recently in Margate, Folkestone, Liverpool and Brighton. Amy responded with a piece about the new Eastbourne Devonshire Collective venues where she is a key player. Amy also runs the arts organisation Writing Our Legacy and her own arts management / production company This Too Is Real.
‘Arts-led regeneration is a tough subject in the UK these days. Not just because of austerity, Brexit and shrinking local authority budgets.
The arts themselves have recently come under fire as they’re used to help improve local communities and economies. Whereas gentrification used to be the dirty word, now it is ‘art washing’. In Brixton, you can buy your dinner from a shipping container, and in Manchester, you can sup cocktails via a clandestine route through to a laundrette.
Not all arts initiatives, however, are superficial and slapdash or ignore local communities and their needs. Arts and culture-led regeneration can make a lasting difference.
Real arts-led regeneration, working with local people and local businesses can improve people’s lives and livelihood. We have seen arts and culture transform towns and cities such as Margate, Folkestone, Liverpool and my home until recently, Brighton.