Putting communities at the heart of the city through creativity

Arts Council England,
09 February 2023, England

Public art has found a new form in Southampton that puts inclusivity and relevance at the front and centre. Together with the University of Southampton (UoS), John Hansard Gallery, has been co-developing a new public art strategy for the city by working on a nationally significant project ‘Co-creating the Public Space’ right in the heart of the city. Funded by the Arts Council, Southampton City Council and support from GO! Southampton. Woodrow Kernohan, Director of John Hansard Gallery said: 

Each of the five projects has been developed in dialogue with community partners and will bring artists and communities together with the ambition of creating positive change.”

The project, launched in April 2022, spans over two years and invites communities across Southampton to develop major public art commissions with leading artists who create artworks launched alongside and in response to wider festivals and community celebrations, such as; the Mela Festival, most recently the Lunar New Year, and Black History Month. 

Co-Creating the Public Space’ is exactly what its name suggests and is set out to ignite new thoughts around creativity and public space in relation to gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age, ability, access, health and wellbeing. By bringing together city-wide partners and local and international artists, it has given voice to various communities through putting the artists and individuals at the forefront, and sparking important conversations in the city.