The ABCD for Cultural Recovery                                                                                                                                                        DRAFT
A (for Arts and Ambition), B (for Business), C (for Communities & Collaboration), D (for Digital and Delivery)



In the middle of the storm, with livelihoods threatened and organisations at risk of collapse, Brighton & Hove’s cultural and creative sector came together. Over 100 creative workers: award-winning artists and those just starting out, leaders and frontline staff of organisations large and small, those freelance and those salaried, participated in 17 conversations over two weeks in September. With generosity, solidarity and common purpose, they focussed on how one of the most vital sectors to Brighton & Hove’s economy and reputation might recover from the crisis and find more sustainable and inclusive ways to grow in the future. This is their plan.




The strength of Brighton & Hove as a creative city is well known. In 2019 a study from the University of Sussex[1] revealed that the creative and cultural industries in Greater Brighton generated more than £1.5 billion in annual turnover. This figure increased by 22% in the five years to 2019. The number of people working for creative businesses has increased by almost 20% in over that time, to more than 16,000 employees at over 6,100 companies with over half those based in the city of Brighton & Hove itself.  In 2018/19 Greater Brighton’s performing arts sector directly turned over £329m and employed 3,500 people. Brighton & Hove City Council owns much of the city’s cultural and heritage infrastructure and continues to invest in spite of the strain on local authority resources. The city is home to 13 of Arts Council England’s (ACE) National Portfolio Organisations and received more than 100 ACE project grants for organisations’ and individuals’ activities in 2019/20.

Events, and the cultural industries which support them, draw millions of people into the city each year, with over 60 Festivals (including England’s largest open-access arts festival, Brighton Fringe) forming part of its regular events calendar. The city’s creative reputation encourages employers and entrepreneurs to set up their businesses locally, and creatives at all stages of their careers are drawn to the city as a creative hub. Business leaders are attracted by the high calibre of creative talent within the city, which in turn generates employment for freelancers and sole traders. In addition to those working in the city there are many creative freelancers’ resident locally who work nationally and internationally and rarely in the City; the depth of talent is immense and possibly under-utilised in terms of benefit for the City.

The impact of Covid-19 on the creative industries has been profound. According to Hatch[2], the sector experiencing by far the greatest loss as % of GVA nationally is Arts and Entertainment (-42%) and before the intervention of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, over 50% of jobs in the cultural and creative sectors in the Greater Brighton region were expected to be lost.


Most of the city’s theatres, venues, and museums remain either closed or have re-opened with a much-reduced capacity. Events, festivals and exhibitions have been cancelled and the resumption of large-scale gatherings is still months away at best. There are cultural organisations and supply-chain businesses in the city at risk of closure. The sudden loss of income caused by lockdown has left most of the sector in financial difficulty with many self-employed workers ineligible for Government support, or receiving a fraction of their previous income. Over the past year many of these talented people have had to seek universal credit as their only means of income. This places these individuals under huge financial strain which could lead to a large number being forced to leave the sector entirely as their livelihoods are curtailed well into 2021.


A sense of existential threat is hard to escape. Many wonder if a return to ‘normal’ will ever come. But the sector has been typically resourceful and adaptable too. Many businesses have pivoted to online offers; new collaborations have begun; scarce resources are being shared more than ever. Creative and Cultural businesses in Brighton & Hove were successful in attracting £7.5m through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, Arts Council England have provided invaluable Emergency Funds to 1600 organisations and independent practitioners across the East and South East of England and Brighton & Hove City Council, unique amongst local authorities, prioritised the sector in awarding its discretionary grants.


This crisis provides an opportunity to look at the city’s cultural offer, celebrate it, save it but also build new ways of working that encourage good growth, inclusion and address historic gaps and challenges. In restarting the cultural economy it will be important to build upon the Cultural Framework, not attempt to totally reinvent the city’s approach to culture. The Cultural Framework forms a strong foundation upon which the sector, the local authority and key partners can start to rebuild a better, brighter future that addresses the new and unexpected world we now inhabit. Social prescribing for example, will be a potential area for growth – particularly as Brighton and Hove’s HERA partnership is a recognised leader in health and wellbeing. The ABCD Cultural Recovery Plan recognises the symbiotic relationship between the cultural and tourism sectors and acknowledges the need to provide practical support and to enhance the city’s brand as a destination. Retail is also central to re-building Brighton and Hove as a visitor destination. This plan aims to build a far closer relationship with this sector making the city centre a more vibrant and attractive proposition for both visitors and residents alike.


Throughout the planning it has been important that the different strands of proposed activity together create greater impact and have a higher chance to succeed than if they remained separate from one another. The ENGINE ROOM for example, could provide the necessary skills and practice training for the CREATIVE COMMUNITIES NETWORK to flourish. ENLIVEN BRIGHTON will deliver new spaces for artists to exhibit and perform and will help to generate revenue to fund aspects of the ABCD plan. The CREATIVE WORKER INCOME GUARANTEE will address the loss of talent to other industries, helping to make the sector become more resilient once the economy restarts. The CREATIVE COMMUNITIES NETWORK will enable different parts of the city to deliver more cultural experiences, helping to create new work opportunities and infrastructure.


This opportunity to do things in different, better, more relevant ways also extends to how the communities and residents across the city can play a greater role. Audiences are the lifeblood of the city’s cultural activity and this plan recognises the need to incorporate their views and ideas into future plans and events. The CREATIVE COMMUNITIES NETWORK strand is explicitly designed to reach out across the city, inviting local people to become cultural producers, choosing and creating their own programmes and events.


The Climate Emergency is an issue that is very important to this city and the people who live here – evident in the fact it has the only Green MP at Westminster. Consideration of the environment and sustainable practices will be woven throughout this plan and its subsequent delivery, ensuring the city’s green credentials continue to be strengthened.


The design for the creation of this plan was conceived between the Arts & Creative Industries Commission, EPIC, What Next? Brighton & Hove with the support of Brighton & Hove City Council and Arts Council England, South East.




This is a direct response to Covid-19, it’s not an all-encompassing cultural strategy. If the ideas in this report are implemented well they will ensure:


        New jobs and training opportunities will be created for creative workers

        Brighton & Hove will be recognised as a world class destination for creatively ambitious work that experiments with all artforms

        The arts and culture sector will help drive economic recovery of the Tourism and Retail sectors and make a positive contribution to the health & wellbeing of residents and visitors.

        Brighton & Hove will be a City that has led the way nationally for support of creatives and values their role in placemaking

        Creative workers will not leave the city in the immediate future


REBUILDING POST COVID-19 – A national perspective

The Local Government Association has created ‘Revitalising town centres: a toolkit for councils’ [3]based upon an adaptation of the Institute of Place Management’s (IPM) national Post Covid-19 Recovery Framework. The IPM Recovery Framework has been backed by the Government’s High Street Task Force as part of its guidance on responding to Covid-19.


The fourth part of the toolkit focuses upon Transformation or Revitalisation – a conscious attempt to improve town and city centres for the long-term. This focuses upon learning from understanding and innovation, with a growing focus on building on progress in addressing new challenges, such as climate change, economic inequality and the repurposing of town and city centres.


Much of the content draws upon thinking found at the People & Places Partnership [4], particularly ideas relating to creating people-centred places.


Brighton and Hove City Council’s Corporate Plan rests upon six priorities which drive the direction of service delivery.  From these, A City Working for All and Stronger City are the two priorities with greatest alignment to this recovery plan. The council’s ambitions to support local businesses and the third sector, to increase participation in civic and community life, and the further develop our visitor economy – leading to employment and wealth creation for creative people – are key drivers for the city as we seek to rebuild the strength of our sector.   Recognising that financial resources are scarce, the initiatives laid out in this plan aim to bring fresh energy and purpose as the city emerges from this difficult time. 


Next steps


The following pages outline the ABCD plan for Recovery.


It starts from the knowledge that creative businesses and workers will be at the forefront of the city’s recovery, that we have a strong infrastructure to work with and that there are unique opportunities in Brighton and Hove for our thinking to be radical and inclusive. Participants in the process to date brought enormous insight and experience, sharing innovative ways of working and thinking in response to Covid-19 that we should build upon and adopt. We should ensure the sector remains future-focused and entrepreneurial, with an understanding of how the operating environment has changed and the skills and resources to change with it. Above all, this plan commits the sector to developing ways of working that are more inclusive, collaborative and more sustainable, acknowledging the power imbalances that exist and determined to find solutions to address them.


The proposed activity is divided into five distinct but interconnected strands. 

                    ENGINE ROOM  

                    ENLIVEN BRIGHTON 



                    SPACE TO GROW


The ENGINE ROOM is focussed upon addressing the absence of sector specific business support designed specifically for cultural and creative workers living / working across Greater Brighton.


ENLIVEN BRIGHTON intends to employ creative and cultural businesses and practitioners to enliven the city centre, boosting the city’s vital retail economy andmaking it a more attractive and rewarding destination to visit. 


The CREATIVE COMMUNITIES NETWORK is a community led programme designed to bring culture to all parts of the city through the installation of local event infrastructure alongside event management and programming training and support. 


The CREATIVE WORKER INCOME GUARANTEE is a research project designed to explore whether targeted intervention in the form of an income guarantee can prevent talented individuals from leaving the sector for more rewarding opportunities.


SPACE TO GROW – a programme to review the current options for creative space in the City, explore new models and maximise existing capital infrastructure.


Each strand is intended to be of benefit to both individuals and businesses through the creation of jobs, training, support and networking opportunities.  Some strands have longer timelines than others and no strand takes greater priority.













There are several intentions behind a fundraising approach for this plan.


Firstly, the plan itself is a partial realisation of ideas, further investment would enable short term Working Groups to develop detailed plans, partnerships and content for large funding bids.


Secondly, each strand can be fundraised for in isolation of other strands, they can stand alone and start without funding secured for all areas of the plan.


Lastly, it is intended that alongside traditional fundraising for the strands there is an opportunity to test a much wider community engaged fundraising and income generation approach, utilising the creative skills of the cultural community. For example, testing a sponsored sculpture trail (inspired by Snow Dogs and Cow Parade) and utilising the event skills within the community to produce events where profits can contribute to a fund for creative commissions within the strands of activity.   This will require consideration and organisation and will run alongside the Working Groups, sitting within the work of fundraiser and Board.


The range of funders being considered include the Local Enterprise Partnership, Arts Council England, UKRI, National Lottery Communities Fund, Heritage Fund, Asset-based Development (for buildings) and Trust & Foundations.

Values & Principles


As part of the process to date, a session was held on developing a set of Shared Principles that we adopt as a city to make it a better place to work for Cultural Workers and to make sure no one is left out or left behind.  From our work to date the following areas have been identified: intersectionality, inclusivity, understanding territorialism and gatekeeping, collaboration, empathy, dignity, respect, anti-racism, bravery, boldness, paying people on time and openness. The process of developing the Shared Principles will continue as part of the next phase. The ABCD for Cultural Recovery Board will be responsible for ensuring the following original project values (adopted from What Next?) continue to be built upon:

Democracy: creating a transparent process to enable open and purposeful conversation

Equity: creating conditions for equitable conversations and follow up actions

Leadership: building the conditions for everyone to make change

Creativity: embedding and celebrating creativity across our City

Generosity: sharing our skills, expertise, empathy and resources with each other

Trust: building relationships and a more resilient sector


In addition to this we have a set of lenses through which each project will be assessed:

        Regional, national and international perspectives


        Children and Young People

        Job creation


        Other sector partnerships

        Environmental sustainability



Ownership of ideas: everyone who has been part of this process to date was invited to share ideas in the spirit of Creative Commons licencing. The credit for any ideas that appear in the final action plan will be: ‘initially developed by participants of the Brighton & Hove Cultural Recovery Project September 2020’. There will be a weblink listing the names of all participants.

Decision making: decisions about which ideas appear in the final action plan have been made by the Management Group. The 100 Conversation Participants and Facilitators provided the content and influence behind the overarching strands have been included. The Outside Eyes interrogated the Management Group’s decisions, and provided advice. A first draft of the action plan was shared with all participants and project funders for feedback.

Ideas suggested that do not appear in the action plan: Many excellent project-based ideas do not appear as one of the five strands to take forward in this plan. The five ideas focus on actions directly related to Covid-19 recovery and should create the conditions for recovery that offer individual projects a chance to grow and develop.


Governance, Management and Staffing

Working Groups

It is proposed that one Working Group per idea is recruited through an open selection process (to follow the working practice we established with the participants who contributed to this plan). Each Working Group will comprise 3 – 8 specialists in each area who have the skills and relevant experience to develop the ideas and make them a reality. Freelancers in the Working Groups will be paid for their time.

The Working Group model offers an opportunity for more diverse people to take the ideas forward. It is acknowledged that the founders of the Recovery Plan are not fully representative and that the next phase of the plan offers a chance to involve more people from backgrounds with protected characteristics, those who have not yet contributed to this plan and others in the cultural sector.

We are proposing five working groups with two freelancers/sole traders per group and up to six others per group paid by salary, working one day a month for six months to develop the strands into fundable programmes.

Governance Structure

In order to attract significant investment to make the ideas in this plan a reality we need a robust governance structure and processes to ensure accountability, good decision-making and behaviour are at the heart of the ABCD for Cultural Recovery going forward.  Governance is a system and process, not a single activity and therefore successful implementation of a good governance strategy requires a systematic approach that incorporates strategic planning, risk management and performance management.  The achievement of goals and sustainable success requires input and support from all stakeholders. The Board, through good governance practices, will provide the framework for planning, implementation and monitoring of performance. Achievement of the best performance and results possible, within existing capacity and capability, should be our ongoing goal. Good governance will support management, staff and stakeholders to be “the best they can be”.

One of the key institutional supporters of this plan has offered a solution to the challenge of governance of a project that has developed organically. Donna Chisholm, Assistant Director of Culture, Tourism and Sport at Brighton & Hove City Council has offered to become chair of an ABCD for Cultural Recovery board with the recruitment of an additional co-chair role to work with Donna on the facilitation of the board at a later date.  

The three networks (EPIC, What Next and ACIC) who have driven the plan to date will continue to be involved in the next stages. Crucially, each network will actively seek new members in order to diversify their membership between December 2020 and June 2021.

 The ABCD Cultural Recovery Board will sit alongside the Cultural Framework led by the Arts and Creative Industries Commission.   Other institutions, such as Arts Council England, have indicated their support as participants.  

We propose the Board comprises members of the three networks (ACIC, What Next? and EPIC) and that the original Management Team (Founders) continue to have a stake in the future of the ideas in this plan and their delivery. The chairs of each Working Group will also have a place on this Board and will be paid to be part of it, if they are freelance.  Other key representatives may be asked to participate in the work of the board. We are proposing the freelancers on the steering group are paid for one meeting a month plus 2 planning day over a six-month period.

There will be an open recruitment process for all new Working Group and Board participants.

The ABCD for Cultural Recovery board will coordinate the delivery of this plan for the city, where necessary separate governance structures may be established for projects or this governance structure will evolve for fundraising purposes.  At this time the Board will be linked to the Council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee for reporting purposes only.  


We propose a Project Manager with fundraising expertise is employed between February 21 and June 21 to help co-ordinate the development of working groups and drive the fundraising required to put this plan into action. 

It is also necessary to employ or seek in kind support of an administrator for the same period for one day a week.  The in-kind support from Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival in this area for the development of this plan was invaluable. 

If development funding can be obtained then those Founders who are freelance will continue to be employed on a partial basis to ensure consistency throughout delivery of the plan and to safeguard the values and principles of the project. 


The actions outlined in this plan will each have their own timescale. The intention is to raise funds between February 21 and June 2021 in order to implement the ideas in a staggered way so that impact can be felt as soon as possible.


ENGINE ROOM: a focused programme addressing entrepreneurship, business growth and practice support designed specifically for creative workers living and working across Greater Brighton.

The programme will build on key principles reflected in successful creative hubs : skills support, networks and space, investment, innovation. Given current context there are two additional principles that will underpin this programme; collaboration and advocacy. 

There is an aim that Brighton & Hove will be the best city in the country to start-up or scale-up a cultural business or be a successful creative freelancer, it will be the leading Creative Hub on the South Coast with supply chain relationships across Greater Brighton and Beyond.

The programme is scalable, for example it could start simply with a dedicated post able to signpost creatives to existing support in the City and beyond, however to provide increased impact the programme needs to provide opportunities for sector growth and adaption.  A creative sector support programme can work in collaboration with other growth and innovation programmes in the area, there could be a central base for staff but the offer of training, networking, peer support should be delivered in collaboration with creative organisations that already exist. The programme needs to act as a catalyst for greater collaboration and sharing of resources. 


Challenge / Opportunity

Activity / Outputs

Short-term Benefits

Longer-term Benefits






The last 6 months have exposed the gap between demand and supply in sector specific business support in the City, and the lack of clear road maps to find support that may be available beyond the City.


Raise funds for a post able to provide specialist knowledge and signposting and help with selecting relevant / most beneficial support that already exists locally, online or nationally. This knowledge sharing should include advice on funding, training, networks.

Ongoing gathering and collating of information on the needs of a sector crucial to Brighton & Hove’s economy.

Design programme that has a scalable and staggered approach to implementation to test proof of concept. Signposting being first intervention.


        Assistance with signposting saves time for creative workers and businesses

        Many new entrants to the sector will be ill-equipped to make informed decisions, this assistance would prove invaluable.

         Those with specific needs can be better assisted to find support that best meets their circumstances.

        Regular info gathering on needs of sector provides intelligence for informing all sector support work in the City.


        Supporting informed decision making ensures that ‘waste’ is reduced and improvement occurs in a targeted and timely way.

        The use of early assistance helps to create scalability, which allows for greater reach and relevance.

        Knowledge gathered on needs will inform a scalable programme that is responsive and relevant.


Generic business support does not address specific needs of creative sector and often fails to appeal to the industry.  

40- 80% of Creative workforce is freelance depending on sub-sector.  Sole traders are adversely affected by impact of Covid-19 and generic business support rarely illustrates understanding of freelance business models.

There are internationally recognised strengths held at a local level, for example; digital knowledge and skills, we need to utilise this knowledge base for greater and wider impact across the sector.

The extraordinary context of the last year has put additional strain on those working in industry and a need for greater peer support/leadership support was highlighted.


ENGINE ROOM should provide skills development and professional support for those adapting, growing and starting out in sector be that an organisation or individual.

Raise funds for a programme of skills support that responds to current need this includes but is not limited to the following areas:

        Business planning for freelancers 

        Building entrepreneurial skills

        A programme increasing digital skills and knowledge of digital platforms to enable growth 

        Fundraising and income generation knowledge

        The basics of setting up a business/being a successful sole trader

        Basics on financial planning and management

        Building practical knowledge of cross-sector working e.g. Health, Homelessness

        Understanding innovation tools

A programme of peer support that recognises the challenges of working and leading in the sector. This could include:

        Action Learning sets



There is talent and existing programmes across Greater Brighton that could lead on training and facilitating key parts of this programme or could share learning.  For example; Wired Sussex, Sussex Innovation, Fringe Academy, South East Creatives.


        A more informed and skilled workforce is able to respond to opportunity and plan more effectively.

        Training in key areas should enable further ‘pivoting’ of businesses to adjust to external context. 

        A programme of skills and peer support would increase networks across sub-sectors 

        This approach helps to reduce art form / function “siloing” – leading to greater cross-fertilisation opportunities and greater understanding of different parts of the creative ecology.


        A more skilled workforce is able to increase and diversify its offer, creating business growth and sustainability.

        The network between organisational leaders and their freelance peers becomes stronger and more productive through shared learning and personal development experiences.  

        The sector would ultimately have a better sense of what it did in totality and where the opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship exist. Finding partners with relevant expertise would be easier to do, accelerating innovation, and diversifying the talent pool.

        Knowledge -flow from the experienced to newer sector entrants (and vice versa), will accelerate positive creative worker growth.

        This best practice support system can be utilised to build Greater Brighton as a creative hub encouraging relocation to the area by those keen to scale-up/start-up.


There are physical assets, networks and other resources within the Area that could be better utilised.  The concentration of creative organisations and individuals within the City could be better coordinated in terms of sharing of back office services/bulk buying/shared posts.

The cultural offer can be difficult to navigate for visitors and residents, there is no clear roadmap to accessing the excellent offer that exists.


Increasing the capacity of online platforms such as Culture in our City to provide key information, for example:

        Rehearsal and performance spaces (indoor and outdoor) in the City

        Studio spaces in the City

        Contact information for those with assets such as lighting, staging, seating

        Noticeboard for creatives to find information or contacts

Explore the possibility of a online directory of Creatives/suppliers to the sector

Explore the possibility of a joint platform for culture aimed at audiences. Bringing together the cultural offer at any one time.

Explore collective purchasing across organisations - what could be done to reduce costs collectively? 

Encourage and enable greater dialogue to test shared back office service models and shared posts.


        In the short term any sharing of information reduces time for sector workers

        Short term reduction in costs for cash-strapped organisations in 2021 by encouraging sharing of resources across projects.


        A joint platform for audiences raises profile of cultural offer in the City and beyond, improves the quality of experiences for visitors, and supports the marketing and comms plans of organisations of different scales.

        Long term reduction in costs via collective purchasing, shared back office services and posts 

        Increased capacity for joint fundraising and income generation across sector



Income generation in the sector has been badly affected by Covid-19. This has affected those across the creative sector in many ways from venues who remain shut to freelancers who have fallen through the gaps of government support.

Alongside signposting there is an ongoing need to advocate for the sector as well as explore different ways of working across the City and beyond that could generate 

Utilise networks and organisations able to advocate for the sector, gather information and amplify it as a collective level.  Explore how to do this as a creative economy across Greater Brighton in order that funders and policy makers have up to date information.

Use signposting function to ensure that sector is aware of all resourcing possibilities available


        Access to information on funding is available to the sector quickly 

        Policy makers and funders are informed and understand the needs and possibilities of creative industry within Greater Brighton’s economy


        Local policy making at LEP and Council levels is informed about creative sector needs and provides services and investment that match need.



The ENGINE ROOM will champion Research and Development.
Helping to broker new relationships, access to innovation spaces and research programmes.


Through dedicated staffing support Identify  ‘innovation spaces’, including harnessing the potential of existing grassroots and Fringe spaces, for making, performance and ideas generation within sector and beyond.

Broker access to these spaces and access to other innovation programmes

Through the skills development strand of Engine Room build knowledge of innovation principles and funding sources

Disseminate Research and Development opportunities and learning created by companies already working in this field.

Build on work being undertaken and opportunities created e.g. Brighton as a 5G test bed

Encourage networks to embed innovation within their sector support offer 


        Increased understanding of what already exists in terms of innovation resources the City

        Further opportunities created for companies and creatives to test ideas, source funding and build innovation skills



        Provide Greater Brighton with invaluable insights into sector needs and how best to use future R&D programmes to ensure growth and resilience.

        Stimulate investment into and use of ‘innovation spaces’ across Greater Brighton.

        Enable increased growth through innovation by micro and small businesses.


Listed above are a number of activity strands which are interlinked.

There are some quick wins by looking simply at shared resources and signposting to existing offers.  What could a staggered approach look like to developing this programme?

How can we utilise collective resources and bring in additional specialist knowledge to develop the programme?

Who would be the focus of this strand of activity (creative freelancers, SMEs, start-ups, entrepreneurs)?

How will it practically ensure that under-represented groups are prioritised?

How do we ensure that national initiatives sit alongside and are connected to this work e.g. young people through Kickstarter or apprenticeship programmes.

How might we measure success?

        % / number of sector that access and benefit from ENGINE ROOM

        Hours of support provided per business / worker

        Number of networks engaged and initiated

        Number of FTE jobs created

        New services/products introduced

        Representative demographic of B&H

Where should we look outside of the locality and sector to ensure we adopt existing best practice, rather than waste resources and time?

What external factors should we incorporate into the ENGINE ROOM’s design so it future proofed (BREXIT; more Covid-19; reduced cultural sector investment; social prescribing etc.)? 





ENLIVEN BRIGHTON: creative and cultural businesses and practitioners to animate the city centre.

Challenge / Opportunity

Activity / Outputs

Short-term Benefits

Longer-term Benefits


Brighton city centre plays a key role in the lives of residents and visitors alike. Much of the visitor offer is concentrated in the Business Improvement District (BID) and as such this part of the city offers the greatest potential for culture-led re-imagining and animation.


Covid 19 has dramatically reduced footfall across the BID. When combined with the rise in online shopping there is a real danger that the city centre will start to lose a significant proportion of its current retail and hospitality businesses, which in turn will probably lead to a downward spiral of occupancy.


One solution aimed at re-growing footfall is to develop a commissioned programme of artworks, activities and interventions in partnership with key cultural organisations and individuals in the city – explicitly designed to attract visitors by enlivening specific parts of the city at particular times of the year.

Recent reports indicate that up to 50 million jobs worldwide will be lost in the tourism and travel industries as a result of the pandemic.  Research indicates that many tourism businesses in the UK will struggle to survive beyond July if the lockdown prevents some recovery of the visitor season.  Compared to last year, revenues for April have already declined by around 90% and forward demand is low due to ongoing uncertainty.   There are numerous examples across the city where businesses continue to innovate in response to the situation, moving online to serve local people.

Hospitality and Tourism in the city historically employs 24,000 people and serves 11 million visitors a year. This strands aims to aid the potential capitalisation from the UK Staycations market and the likelihood of that bouncing back and the predicted increase in post-lockdown day trippers.


    Continue to develop the partnership with BID in order to deliver an ongoing commissioned programme of activity across the city centre and beyond.


    Create a range of commissioning opportunities for Greater Brighton artists alongside those of national and international significance.


    Scope the potential for the creation of a series of interactive artworks using digital screens at dedicated outdoor locations and within unoccupied shop spaces.


    Determine the investment required to acquire and support new digital infrastructure throughout the BID area.


    Explore with BID the potential to shut roads across the city centre in order to deliver two large scale public events each year, each designed to attract large numbers of visitors to the city centre.


    Explore with BID the delivery mechanisms required to realise an ongoing cultural programme (roles and responsibilities, expected outcomes etc.).

    Explore with BID the potential for ‘City Welcomers’ which have become a successful part of Hull’s city centre experience.

    Use £40k BID investment to lever significant inward investment to realise the delivery of the commissioned programme.


    Pilot Y1 activity.


      This approach creates a number of interlinked and immediate benefits including:

     enhancing the destination brand by making Brighton and Hove an even more exciting and dynamic place to visit;

     attracting more footfall to the city centre – particularly in the shoulder months (October - March) which should translate to greater spend and enhance the viability of local businesses;

     creating a new ‘public canvas’ that will support the careers of local and visiting artists, makers and performers;

     the improvement to the city centre experience will attract new commercial tenants.


      This element of the recovery plan should be explicitly linked with the business and practice support opportunities that will be developed as part of the ENGINE ROOM. Sector entrants and early career workers should be offered a range of opportunities as part of their training / support.


      The BID will become a more attractive place to socialise and shop helping to bring people out of their homes which will combat loneliness and enhance their wellbeing.


      Must-see ‘Instagramable’ events / activities throughout the year will help to change existing perceptions of the city centre.


      The commissioned programme will:

      create jobs both directly and indirectly;

      help to reverse the decline faced by the city centre

      create high quality content that will help to positively position the city as a destination post Covid.


      The quality of the commissions and the recognition they attract will be of significant benefit to early - mid career artists and performers, particularly if shown alongside internationally significant peers.


      If successful, the commissioned programme will be acknowledged as a blueprint for culture-led regeneration in the 21st century. This will make Brighton and Hove a more attractive investment option, which in turn will help to enhance resilience across a range of business sectors.

      The values being developed alongside the Recovery Plan will be able to be made concrete through the commissioning process and delivery of the various types of activity.





This is the most advanced strand of activity in terms of planning and partnerships, but remains a commitment in principle at this stage until the next BID Business Plan is agreed.

The forthcoming BID Business Plan will define an events offer and associated timetable of activity.


At this early stage achieving in principle financial support from BID is a great success, but it will probably take more than a single year of programme to demonstrate to individual businesses measurable benefit.


Investment will need to be sought from other sources before businesses (post COVID-19 and post Brexit) are in a position to contribute significant sponsorship.

Learning from and partnerships with national programmes such as Dan Thompson’s Empty Shop Network, Improving Places   and the London Mayor's Cultural Infrastructure Plan

Partnerships with existing cultural organisations and individuals as well as local high street landlords, commercial letting agents and Brighton Chamber for example will enable the project to build on what exists as well as developing new ideas.

This approach should not be exclusively thought of a city centre one. There may well be a number of cross-over opportunities linked to the BUILDING CREATIVE COMMUNITIES strand to move programming to other parts of Greater Brighton.

How might we measure success?

        Number of new artist commissions per year

        Number of existing projects reimagined in Brighton per year

        Target for specific demographic of commissioned artists

        Targets for geographic base of commissioned artists

        Footfall increase

        Number of people employed through commissions

        Number of social media impressions for programmed artworks

        Number of national & local media mentions

        Increase in BID businesses contributing to the levy?






CREATIVE COMMUNITIES NETWORK: a community led programme designed to bring culture to all parts of the city through the installation of local event infrastructure alongside event management and programming training and support

Challenge / Opportunity

Activity / Outputs

Short-term Benefits

Longer-term Benefits

Even though the City has residents engaged with culture there is still a significant proportion of the resident population who experience limited access to cultural activities or the offer provided is short term or does not match interest of that community – this is particular relevant in areas of high socio-economic deprivation.


Many creative practitioners have few opportunities to perform locally due the limited numbers of appropriate suitably equipped spaces. Outdoor spaces will become ever more important as we continue to live with Covid-19 with the ongoing need to ensure audiences and performers remain safe at all times.


Equality of Opportunity is one of the key principles that underwrites the Recovery Plan.


To ensure all residents have access to culture the CREATIVE COMMUNITIES NETWORK will be established. This network will facilitate a Greater Brighton “touring programme”, introducing a range of performers and artists to different communities across the locality where the cultural engagement levels vary wildly.

    Create a community driven programme to identify, plan and create a network of local outdoor creative spaces across the City that are established, managed, resourced and maintained by local community commissioning groups. This process should draw on the existing networks (e.g. Brighton People’s Theatre) to share best practice and drive local demand


    Facilitated through the creation of a project working group that is representative of local communities, current outreach programmes and stakeholders.


    will design a sponsored programme that encourages communities to bid for a Designated Creative Space (DCS) grant.


    A Designated Creative Space Fund will support infrastructure costs such as installing a water supply, power for small scale events and limited alterations for vehicle access.


    In addition, the fund will cover costs associated with paying a team of local event experts tasked with delivering basic training to members of the successful bids.


    Subsidised hire of technical equipment from an accredited list of local suppliers will be available to DCS grant recipients.


    Local community commissioning groups will manage their own Designated Creative Space, responsible for programming and event delivery (with support from event experts).

      Community sits at the centre of this strand of activity. This will ensure local buy-in from the point of conception and sense of ownership over what is presented, helping to reduce one of the key barriers to participation “Not for the Likes of Me!”


      Expanding the existing network of outdoor performance spaces will generate new opportunities for performers and cultural workers to transition from indoor to outdoor work – providing Covid secure sites where they can continue to work.


      New citywide infrastructure will provide a raft of new performance spaces rooted in often hard to reach communities. This will provide fresh opportunities for cultural and creative businesses / workers to take their products to a new market – broadening their impact and reach (particularly with people who don’t view themselves as ‘creative’).

      Communities will lead the programming and delivery of these spaces – ensuring relevance and greater sustainability over time.


      Job creation equivalent to 5 FTE (20 roles) over 4 sites.

    This approach is inherently scalable and transferable, so could ‘mushroom’ across Greater Brighton with relatively low levels of investment.


    This model creates a compelling narrative that offers local, national and international artists access to harder to reach audiences through an established and resourced local touring programme.

    These new spaces will have important commercial value that could be exploited through private investment, sponsorship and hire fees. These additional income streams will take time to develop, but would help to sustain the sites and their programmes as well as providing new and different event types (not necessarily culture focussed).


    Community cohesion, reducing isolation, health and wellbeing etc. are all challenges that the CREATIVE COMMUNITIES NETWORK will help to address.


    The move towards low-carbon infrastructure will future proof these sites and reduce the current environmental impact of hosting events in these parts of Greater Brighton.


    Designated Creative Spaces will help to preserve green spaces across the city and help to make them more attractive and engaging.



How might we measure success?

      Number of community groups seeking inclusion. Does it generate interest? The engagement process will be key and needs to be a central plank of any funding proposition.

      Number of performers/creative workers utilising the scheme to transition to outdoor work.


      Private investment in public space – What is current and does scheme increase cash?

      Use of public green space. What is current utilisation and does scheme increase use?

      Are there existing groups that can assist in developing local interest groups that can be utilised?

      What factors need to be considered to create a compelling offer to local commissioning groups?

      Inclusion – Identify “target” groups. Does DCS creation increase diversity of cultural engagement?

      Income Generation. What is the sustainable commercial income without diluting cultural value of the space?


      Job creation equivalent to 5 FTE
(20 roles) over 4 sites.

      Xx creative commissions

      Additional job creation of xx roles through creative commissions.

      Xx audiences reached that fall under traditional low cultural engagement profiles

      Xx benefit to the public purse with reduction in maintenance costs for public space


CREATIVE WORKER INCOME GUARANTEE: A research project testing the principle of valuing creatives as intrinsic to the brand of the city.  What impact would a targeted intervention in the form of an income guarantee have on the careers and lives of the creatives involved and what wider impact would be created in the short and long term?


Brighton has grown and benefitted from the creative community it has attracted, however with the high cost of living in the City and the impact of Covid 19 there is a further threat of losing talent and the unique creative offer the City holds.  Inspired by the 1930s US Works Progress Administration, and existing Cultural Worker assistance programmes in Europe, this research initiative enables Brighton to lead by example taking a bold step in recognising the value of creatives in placemaking.



Challenge / Opportunity

Activity / Outputs

Short-term Benefits

Longer-term Benefits

This is a research initiative that explores the brand alignment between creatives and the City of Brighton.  It responds to the urgent and longer term need to ensure creative talent remains in, and is attracted to the City.


Questions need to be drawn up but broadly:

Does a targeted intervention in the form of an income guarantee increase creative practitioners’ impact? What impact does it have on their career?

Can mental-health impacts be minimised through the application of an income guarantee?


How does a principle of supporting creatives recognise the role they play in the identity of the City?  What is that role in relation to Brighton as a brand?


Does a targeted intervention in the form of an income guarantee enable talented individuals to remain in the city and the sector rather than seeking employment elsewhere?


        This pilot programme will test the potential for a sector-specific scheme of income support (in contrast with proposals for Universal Basic Income that are yet to achieve political consensus). Coupled with a longitudinal research project the pilot could help make the case for state, civic and corporate investment in targeted Guaranteed Basic Income Schemes.

        Project relies on a partnership to be secured with a leading UK HEI (Policy Research, University of Bath; UBI Lab Network; UKMOD etc.) – who would shape the exact way the income guarantee scheme would work; undertake selection of participants; and make the application for research funding (UK Research and Innovation or Arts & Humanities Research Council would be the primary prospect).

        It is proposed that the pilot should run for a minimum of two years to ensure impacts can be identified.

        With at least 50 participants.

        It is expected that each participant would receive support that wouldn’t negatively impact their net income (including receipt of benefits etc.), that the level of support was sufficient to realise the aims of the research, and that it was sustainable for 2 years minimum.


      Greater Brighton is particularly susceptible to a drop-off in creative freelance workers as they make up a disproportionate part of the local workforce. Finding new and innovative ways of retaining them will help to stabilise the talent pool, ensuring it is better placed post Covid-19 to take advantage of future opportunities.

      The high concentration of creative workers makes Greater Brighton uniquely positioned as a laboratory to explore the value of a targeted income guarantee scheme (the high concentration ensures the presence of a meaningful control group).

      It will encourage individual entrepreneurialism and risk-taking and help to avoid a loss of talent to the city’s creative industries.

      It will stimulate a generous and engaged response from recipients (who would be encouraged to ‘give-back’ through community engagement, mentoring etc.).


      Participants would help to test the effectiveness of a number of other strands of the Recovery Plan through their participation in the research programme.


        Creative freelancers currently face an existential crisis as work opportunities diminish and support systems prove unreliable. This research project would reveal whether targeted time-limited income support would allow them to continue their practice and increase their productivity.

        A better understanding (through the use of an external peer reviewed research project) of how continuing creative activity (by practitioners) can affect health and wellbeing – has the potential to be prove influential when embedding the creative sector into social prescribing practice / wider understanding of the link between creativity and wellbeing.

        A more informed understanding of the relationship between creatives and brand of Brighton





Selection of participants will need to be carefully undertaken to ensure the research results are robust and scalable.

Different HEIs have radically different views in relation to this type of intervention. It will be essential that the chosen academic partner is capable of collecting and interpreting the plethora of different outcomes the study will produce and able to provide practical and useful insights.


More thought needs to be put into whether this assistance has any associated requirements (such as providing a certain amount of time helping to deliver various activity strands etc.), or whether there are no expectations of the investment. There could be connections to and support from the other strands in this plan.

Finally, in tandem with the recipient research will be the need to explore the best ways that ensure this approach can continue (if proven to be beneficial) and where appropriate funding might be drawn from.



SPACE TO GROW: a programme to review the current options for creative space in the City, explore new models and maximise existing capital infrastructure

Challenge / Opportunity

Activity / Outputs

Short-term Benefits

Longer-term Benefits

 Lack of space to develop, make and show workhas historically existed as a challenge for the Creative Industries in Brighton & Hove but this period in time presents an opportunity for change.

Utilise the existing indoor cultural spaces and identify other potential spaces in the City to address the needs of the sector more effectively and create creative work-spaces for making and presentation, networking and , office space, making and presentation.

Work has already begun to move forward as a sector in this area already, namely: Since October 2020 Brighton Artists’ Network, Fabrica and Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival have developed the ‘Open Venues’ initiative encouraging venue based cultural organisations to open up their spaces to artists free of charge for professional and creative development activities such as meetings and rehearsals.

South East Dance’s The Dance Space and redevelopment of the Brighton Dome due to open in 21/22 offer new opportunities for cultural workers in the city.Covid-19 forced-closures puts many of the city’s existing cultural spaces, particularly vital grassroots venues, at risk of permanent closure. Emergency financial support has not been universal and additional funding and new sources of income are needed to cover overheads and preserve infrastructure.


Space is at a premium within the city, and is either unaffordable or lacking the flexibility required by independent artists and producers. Correspondingly, the economic downturn might present opportunities to occupy otherwise vacant properties eg retail, office, warehouse spaces on a short or long-term basis.

A part time post that contributes to Engine Room’s brokerage and signposting of opportunities should develop the ‘Open Venues’ pilot programme into a sustainable, easily accessible and city-wide offer Develop funding consortia, explore new operating models and create a more dynamic support system between funded and non-funded venues.


Work with Brighton & Hove Council to identify buildings they own that would benefit from more use by cultural workers.

      A network of venues that recognise their interdependence and reliance on each other.

      New collaborations develop through individuals and organisations sharing spaces more regularly.

      Informal skills sharing takes place through individuals and organisations sharing the same space.

      Regular meet up/networking opportunities for independent makers and organisations take place encouraging a greater understanding of how each other work.

      Potential to join up collective offer for audiences improving ‘user journey’ and visitor experience

      Greater ownership of the city’s existing spaces by artists and the spill-over effect to supply chains of more creative production taking place within the city.

      More work is developed and made in the city because the economics of research and development, rehearsal and production space are more cost-effective for creative practitioners.

      More creative individuals and organisations are based in the city because access to making space is easier but also back office functions and space is shared and more cost effective.

Further thoughts and key issues

This strand is the least developed at this stage in the plan and will benefit greatly from the next phase of Working Groups to shape it further.


How might we measure success?

Number of free rehearsal and office/desk spaces given to independent artists

Number of new collaborations that take place as a result of sharing spaces

Number of new creative organisations that make work/become based in the city




Next phase: Governance, Working Groups, Fundraising (Feb – June 2021):                 Approx £40k


Strand #1 – ENGINE ROOM

Phase one (testing a pilot programme):                                                                                     £60,000

Phase two: Build on pilot                                                                                                                  £150,000

Phase three: Year one integrated offer:                                                                                     £250,000                             


Strand #2 – CREATIVE WORKER INCOME GUARANTEE                                                        

Phase one (developing research methodology):                                                                    £30,000

Delivery Phase  (per year for 2 years):                                                                                        £500,000                                                                


Strand #3 – ENLIVEN BRIGHTON                                  

Phase one: Pilot programme (Oct - March  months only):                                  £150,000

Phase two: (year-round roll out)                                                                                                   £300,000                                                



Phase one (Community support and training)                                                                          £60,000

Delivery Phase (pa)                                                                                                                             £150,000


Strand #5 – SPACE TO GROW


Phase one: research and audit                                                                                       £25,000

Phase two: networking and facilitation                                                                       £50,000




Participants for Ideas Generation Phase (August – November 2020)

Aimie Rae, Alex Murray, Alex Proctor, Andrew Comben, Angi Mariani, Anna Alverez, Ann Backburn, Anna Dumitriu, Anna Moulson, Anne Marie Chebib, Ann-Marie Williams, Becky Stevens, Ben Price, Bern O’Donaghue, Beth Burgess, Bill Smith, Bobby Brown, Carmen D’Cruz, Charlie Royce, Dan Lake, David Sheppeard, Donna Close, Ebony Rose Dark, Elena Italia, Ella Burns, Emma Higham, Erin Barnes, Faith Dodkins, Freya Wynn Jones, Harriet Morris, Jackie Alexander, Jacquline Rana, Jamie Wyld, James Turnbull, Jane Finnis, Jane Olser, Jane McMorrow, Jess Starns, John Varah, Jonathan Suffolk, Judith Hibberd, Julie Stacey, Ian Baird, Karen Poley, Kate Shields, Katy Beinart, Laura McDermott, Leonardo Lami, Lex Hollingworth, Lisa Creagh, Lisa Newnham, Lisa Norman, Liz Porter, Liz Whitehead, Lizzie, Coates, Louise Blackwell, Lou Rogers, Lucy Stone, Marina Norris, Mark Brailsford, Michelle Donkin, Naomi Alexander, Natasha Britton, Nicky Crabb, Nicole Monney, Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings, Paule Constable, Peter Chivers, Phillippa Barr, Phil Sparkes, Poppy Heron, Rebecca Hallifax, Rosa Firbank, Rosaria Gracia, Romy Elliott, Sarah Pickthall, Subira Wahogo, Tamsin Shasha, Tanushka Marah, Thomas Buckley, Tim Benson, Toby Park, Tristan Sharps, Zoe Toolan.


Lizzie Coates


Kerry Dowding, Lou Cope, Lauren Craig and Tarik Elmoutawakil

Outside Eyes

Saad Eddine Said and Shaun Romain

Management Team

Andrew Comben, Ian Baird, Louise Blackwell, Marina Norris

Organisations represented for Ideas Generation Phase (August – November 2020)

Actors of Dionysus, Amaze Sussex, Audio Active, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Babyoke, BELTA, Brighton and Hove Arts Council, Brighton and Hove Arts and Creative Industries Commission, Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton Artists Network, Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival, Brighton People’s Theatre, Brighton Photo Fringe, Brighton Pride, Brighton Shakespeare Company, Carrot Consortium, Cast Iron, Choir With No Name, Creative Future, C3 Productions, Cultural Baggage, Culture 24, dreamthinkspeak, EPIC, Fabrica, Hybred Events, Ironclad Creative, Komedia, Latest TV,  Little Green Pig, LOOKOUT Brighton, Lout Promotions, Melting Vinyl, Onca, One Inch Badge, OOPS Festival, Marlborough Productions, No Stone Unturned, Phoenix Arts Space, Parable Dance, Paradoxical Frog, Powerful Thinking, RAPT Theatre, Same Sky, Smart Power UK, South East Dance, Spymonkey, Swallowsfeet Collective, Theatre Royal Brighton, The Creative Post, The Green Door Store, The Hangleton & Knoll Project, The Spire, Tick Tock Bridget, University of Brighton, Vincent Dance Theatre, We Are Not Saints, What Next? Brighton & Hove, Windmill Young Actors CIC, ZAP Concepts.

Funders  Arts Council England, Brighton & Hove City Council, What Next? National

[1] Siepel, J (2019), Creative Industries in Greater Brighton, A research note by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre. SPRU, University of Sussex

[2] Hatch (July 2020), Greater Brighton Economic Board Covid-19 Impact Assessment. Available at: