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Art Gene

Bath St, Barrow-in-Furness


LA14 5TY

United Kingdom

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You're invited to the next Coastal Culture Network event on Thursday 4 April, now confirmed as taking place as part of Art-Gene's EXTREME VIEWS 'Think Tank' programme, which runs from 4 - 7 April, at Art-Gene in Barrow-in-Furness.

The Coastal Culture Network event will open the programme and is open to anyone interested in developing culture on the coast.

Full bursaries are now available to attend the overall Think Tank event, whether this is in part or for the full programme.


COASTAL CULTURE NETWORK EVENT, Thursday 4 April 12.45 - 4pm

The Coastal Culture Network, in partnership with Garsington Opera for All, is hosting a free event for anyone interested in the role that culture can play in our coastal communities.

Open to artists, creatives, arts organisations, community groups, individuals, Coastal Community Teams and local authorities, following on from previous network activity in other regions, this latest event is being held at Art Gene - a unique, independent, international research facility founded and led by artists Stuart Bastik and Maddi Nicholson, and based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

Thursday 04 April

  • 12.45pm - arrival and registration

  • 1pm - 3pm - presentations

  • 3pm - 4pm networking

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS (more to be confirmed)

Join us to share experiences, explore how culture contributes to place-shaping and discuss how the cultural offer on the coast can be strengthened.

  • Maddi Nicholson, Artist and Founder Director of Art Gene (Barrow-in-Furness)

Maddi is the lead for the Islands and Bays of Barrow and Furness coastal team, an artist, artistic director, and creative consultant to the public sector on all manner of research and development, art education and design related issues.

  • Gareth Roberts, Director Art B&B (Blackpool)

Gareth will share his journey on building and delivery Art B&B Blackpool (Britain's first art hotel)

Hear the story and strategy behind opening a 19 bed hotel on Blackpool's prom, where no two rooms are the same!

  • Tina Redford, Director Leftcoast (Blackpool and Wyre)

LeftCoast uses the arts as a route to develop people’s identity, creativity and learning. The organisation works with artistic, commercial and public sector partners to deliver a diverse programme of creative activity and provide opportunities for residents and visitors alike to experience high quality arts and culture that is accessible to all. LeftCoast is one of the flagship programmes of the 21 Creative People and Places Programmes ( it is supported by Arts Council England, the National Lottery Big Community Fund and local founding partners – in our case Blackpool Coastal Housing, Blackpool Council Arts Service, Wyre Council.

  • Charlotte Bowen, Director The Culture House (Grimsby)

Charlotte will discuss developing and delivering projects within a challenging coastal location - an area within the bottom 10% of local authority areas for arts engagement and how £3.2 million was recently secured for the town from the government's new Cultural Development Fund

EXTREME VIEWS THINK TANK (see below for full details)

Following the Coastal Culture Network event, the programme will run as follows

Thursday 4 April 5.30pm - 8.30pm

Art Gene's Extreme Views exhibition launch

Followed by the Extreme Views - Think Tank networking dinner

Friday 5th April

See some of Cumbria's places of natural beauty, also home to coastal public art installations on the Think Tank local bus tour and walk of the Islands and Bays off Barrow and Furness

Sat 6th - Sunday 7th until 1.00pm

Extreme Views -Think Tank workshop activities


4 – 7 APRIL 2019
Art Gene and Barrow's Coastal Community Team invite applications to join us for the Extreme Views Think Tank, three days of discussion and networking focussed on revisioning social regeneration based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
Provocation: Barrow 'is a place that few outside the defence, wind power or extractive gas industries are likely to visit. If anyone knows anything about Barrow it’s that it was ...judged by the Office for National Statistics to be the most miserable place in Britain...A place that was once dubbed England’s Chicago because its economy was
growing so fast is now synonymous with heroin'.
[Guardian 28/4/2018]
Barrow is rated #1 borough in England for the number and quality of its natural heritage assets, yet the urban core is ranked fifth nationally for health deprivation and disability. Barrow produces the nation’s continuous at-sea deterrence, it faces the world's largest off-shore windfarm and has the highest percentage of skilled workers in
the north. Yet it has the second largest collection of highly deprived neighbourhoods in England and there are what seem to be intractable challenges for our housing stock.
Such disparities will ignite Extreme Views, and Think Tank will generate dialogue to reveal the potential values, policies and strategies to remove the disconnect with our environment. Barrow should be a centre of excellence for landscape and art as well as industry.
We are looking for 40 diverse delegates, from local people to specialists in their fields, to participate in dynamic conversations about the future of this place. Taking the lead from keynote speakers it will be an invaluable opportunity to contribute to real futures-focused planning. Contributors will be keen to participate in honest and open dialogue about the potential futures for the borough. Our place of extremes can provide a framework for place-making and inquiry; working with local people to generate ideas that can be applied to towns and cities everywhere.
Think Tank will build on and learn from three preceding artist-led Extreme Views Tower events that will tease out the collisions of industry and nature in the coastal landscape. The events will have drawn out what local people value most about their place and how to make it better. The events will capture full and frank discussions as
a mechanism through which to begin building a more vocal, self-determined and ecologically resilient community. One which develops and acts on an imaginative, locally defined approach to forming better futures.
Informing decision-makers from all possible sectors, the Think Tank will explore ways that the unique assets of this geographically isolated landscape can be utilised for public benefit. The transformative challenges of climate change and species extinction provide the wider context for Barrow, as a ‘glocally’ relevant microcosm
which may turn the face of disaster into one of opportunity.
In combination with the unveiling of commissioned artworks by artists-in-residence,Louise Adkins and Clara Casian, Think Tank will exhibit the imaginings and creative encounters of Art Gene's three Tower events at Cavendish Dock, North Scale and Askam, within the borough. As a participant, you will tour these places to walk, talk and stimulate ideas for how we might work better together towards our futures.
We are looking for people who want to listen deeply, eat good food, understand and question interconnections, walk in astonishing landscapes, engage with difficult issues and celebrate the opportunity for change. Findings will be published with the opportunity for delegates to contribute to the Think Tank publication, and we will be
offering evidence of continuing professional development as part of the Think Tank.
Delegate fee: £300
Fee includes accommodation, lunch and evening meals. Full bursaries are available to Coastal Culture Network members wishing to attend for part or full programme.

Please email to apply and book your place.

Image: Roker Pods - touring off grid 'pods' encompassing performance, education and cafe space pictured on the prom at Roker. Commissioned by Sunderland City Council, as part of their Sea Change programme and produced by Maddi Nicholson and Stuart Bastik.

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Art Gene

Bath St, Barrow-in-Furness


LA14 5TY

United Kingdom

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