The Brighton School is a radical, postgraduate art school, working for the benefit of Brighton itself. It aims to harness the talent and ideas of the best Brighton graduates and put this talent to work on the city. At the same time, the school gives these graduates paid experience of real, public projects, and a means to stay in the city.
The school’s first project took place in 2015, and was built around a public art brief for London Road, a main high street in the city, teetering on the edge of gentrification. Spacemakers assembled an interdisciplinary team of five talented graduates from the University of Brighton to meet the brief: Alex Nunn, a filmmaker; Isabella Podpadec, a painter; Malcolm Bradley, a sculptor; and Martina Mina and Roz Wells, both architects.
Through six months of intensive support and programming, and with the help of external tutors/organisations including Muf, Air, Kathrin Böhm and Eastside Projects, the school produced a strange, subtle and beautiful work of public art, in the form of the first urban stone circle in England, and probably the world. We’ve published a book about the process, and the politics behind it, which you can find here.
We’re now working on turning The Brighton School into a permanent institution for the city. Long-term we don’t just want the school to do public art: we want it to do public everything. We think it can be a new way of creating public projects across Greater Brighton: new housing, new public spaces, transport, economics, whatever the city needs.
We create radical, bottom-up regeneration projects, which aim to get inside the machinery of urban regeneration, and use it for good instead of evil.
We specialise in reactivating dead buildings and dead spaces, harnessing unused potential in a community, and creating projects that address the economic and social issues that are causing the problem in the first place.
We work with local authorities, private developers, architects and community groups. Our work has produced new cultural infrastructure and interventions across the country, and been featured across the national press.
Spacemakers is led by Matt Weston and Tom James, and was founded by Dougald Hine. We're based in Brighton, London and Stockholm.
Along with our project work, we have a strong history of consultancy.
We’ve been part of the Greater London Authority’s Special Assistance Team since its inception in 2011. During this time, we’ve worked with London boroughs on projects as diverse as public space, workspaces, local economics and identities. We’ve also worked nationally, advising on market squares in Basingstoke and university campuses in the midlands. And we’re part of NESTA’s New Radicals, a network of radical organisations changing Britain for the better.
We’re often brought in early on, to work out what the right strategy for a project is long term. We use the experience we’ve gained from our own projects to advise others on how best to bring their buildings, spaces and communities back to life. We’re honest, we give critique and we have ideas.
We do feasibility, problem solving and ideas generation, from a single day to an entire year. If you have a project that could do with some new thinking, please get in touch.