Updated: Oct 21
Hello and welcome to our last newsletter of 2022, closing out the year with increasing momentum on projects with Crying Out Loud, Fort Widley and more.
Crying Out Loud
You may remember that last time we hosted Crying Out Loud during their visit to Portsmouth, we showed them Forts Cumberland, Brockhurst, Widley and Purbrook and invited them to our studio at the Historic Dockyard’s former Pay Office. As a reminder, Crying Out Loud are an organisation who have, in their own words ‘blazed a trail in new ways of thinking about contemporary performance’ and who maintain ‘a powerful aesthetic of the unusual, the visual and the gravity defying’.
They were especially inspired by the history literally built into so much of our city and so we are thrilled to announce that funding for their new base in Portsmouth is now in place. Bringing energy, movement and creativity to all of their projects, you can find examples of their previous work at www.cryingoutloud.org and it will be exciting to see the alchemy emerging from their partnership with our local performing artists. Their 2023 program begins in April and more details can be found on their website. Watch this space!
If you are a performing artist or know of anyone who would be interested in partnering with Crying Out Loud please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Built between 1860 and 1868, Fort Widley is one of the Palmerston Forts which, along with other nearby fortifications, would have protected Portsmouth from attack from Portsdown Hill to the north. You may recall from our last newsletter how SCT advised and supported Peter Ashley Activity Centres in securing a new 99 year lease on the space they occupy at the Fort.
With enormous potential to bring unused parts of this vast structure into meaningful use for the community, we have recently been engaged in very productive conversations alongside PAAC and Historic England.
The first innovation is the establishment of a ‘site specific’ training school for volunteers to teach and learn preventive maintenance and minor repair of historic buildings. The first course will focus on lime mortar; although one of the versatile and most prevalent of historic building materials, modern construction practice has largely abandoned the use of lime and other natural materials and traditional techniques. With extensive lime mortar work required around much of Fort Widley, by adopting preventive maintenance future repair costs will be reduced enormously. Furthermore, trained volunteers will be able to pass on their skills to others – an effective process through which for building conservation skills can be promoted across the country.
We are also planning to work with environmental scientists so volunteers can assist in capturing data to build a comprehensive environmental survey of historic structures. This additional field of research will help assess the impact of climate change on these structures and drive research into innovative preservation solutions.
Developing training on preventative maintenance to heritage assets is a simple yet effective approach to conservation. Our plan is wonderfully aligned with the United Kingdom’s Innovation Strategy of decarbonization and Sustainable Development Goals of responsible consumption and production, sustainable cities and communities, and climate action. We are excited to be planning our programme launch in spring 2023 so contact email@example.com for more information or if you would like to take part.
Gosport High Street events with Gosport Borough Council
Our Spray and Save artists events in Gosport High Street seem to have inspired the community to create a more vibrant and visually interesting environment. Working with Gosport Borough Council we are delighted to be championing traditional sign writing to the town centre’s shopfronts, with North Cross Street featuring four completed signs and two more in the pipeline. We have worked with shop owners and artists to deliver these beautifully finished shopfronts
which have received much positive feedback from the local community.
As Spray and Save demonstrated, live events can also be an effective way to engage with communities around heritage and the High Street, generating excitement and enthusiasm for the HSHAZ initiative and building momentum for its successful delivery.
Digital marketing channels are absolutely key to any 21st century communications plan, and with ever-changing technology it can be a challenge to keep abreast of best practice. We were therefore very grateful to be accepted onto the Building Heritage communications support initiative, in which digital marketing experts gave their time to provide three training sessions free of charge.
The challenge now is implementation of website updates and an improved social media strategy; enter the Digital Marketing students of Portsmouth University and their programme of client-led projects. We are working with the students on a project to improve our website and which will in turn provide them with vital live project experience to add to their CVs and help launch their post-university careers.
Potential new home for Hotwalls Artists
In the last newsletter we mentioned that fourteen artists who established their craft practices at Hotwalls Studios in Old Portsmouth will be moving on to make space for new local talent in 2023. We are pleased to report that, with the support of very strategic partners, we hope to facilitate their move to their new space in the Summer; we will have more to report on this in the new year.
Team and HQ Updates
Finally a quick update on the SCT team and our home in the former Pay Office at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The Office has certainly proved to be an inspiring home for SCT, but the facilities are in need of some essential upgrades. We are pleased to announce that plans for improvements, including new WC and kitchen facilities are well underway, and follow on from agreement of a further five-year lease securing our future there. We are grateful for the positive collaborative relationship that we have built, both with the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Property Trust and Ankle Deep, with whom we share our lovely building and regularly collaborate with.
Time has flown by, and our Kickstart colleague Berivan has now finished her time with us; we wish her well for the future. The team continues to grow, however, with the addition of Chris Underwood as a non-executive director. Chris is head of one of the International Committees at ICOMOS (https://icuch.icomos.org/) and is currently working on a Legacy project with the Mary Rose Trust. Part of the team who originally raised the vessel from the bottom of the Solent, Chris brings vast conservation experience and has already settled into the team well.
More news on the team is planned for the new year along with our new website hosting member profiles and updates.