City’s creative and cultural industries invited to ‘look to the future’ at upcoming Reignite Portsmouth event at Guildhall as sectors fight back against blow of pandemic

Portsmouth’s cultural and creative sectors are fighting back against the ‘immeasurably’ devastating blow of the pandemic as they prepare to ‘look to the future’.

Friday, 28th January 2022, 4:55 am

The Guildhall is set to host Reignite: Portsmouth on February 1, when members of the city’s creative and cultural communities will work out how to thrive in the future as they emerge from enforced Covid shutdowns.

Read More

Read More
Mangosteen vegan and vegetarian restaurant opening in Southsea next week

The event has been sponsored by Portsmouth City Council and is supported by The Guildhall Trust, Portsmouth Creates, and Shaping Portsmouth - the latter of which has offered logistical support to the event.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The Fratton Big Local annual community lantern parade Picture: Sam Stephenson

Pippa Bostock is business director for the University of Portsmouth’s upcoming Centre for Creative and Immersive XR (CCIXR), set to open later this year.

The new CCIXR programme will be announced at the Reignite Portsmouth event.

She is also the director of Portsmouth Creates, which she says ‘exists to be a catalyst for cultural and creative industries’.

Pippa said: ‘The whole purpose of the event is to reignite creative industries in Portsmouth.

Evgeniya Dragoeva from Underdock Label at the We Create Market in Portsmouth

‘From the Portsmouth Creates perspective, it’s about next steps as well as giving an update for anyone that didn’t come to We Shine.’

Hosted last November, We Shine was the city’s major light festival: a free cultural showcase staged by arts body Portsmouth Creates.

Pippa feels that the pandemic has had ‘an immeasurable, huge impact on the whole sector’, and added: ‘For the creative and cultural industries which are reliant on ticket sales, it’s been hugely problematic.

‘It’s had a huge impact on the city, but we know how much support there is for these industries.

The Hives at Portsmouth Guildhall last month Picture: Paul Windsor

‘We aim to be that catalyst. Reignite Portsmouth is about reconnection, updating each other, for all those who haven’t been able to be in the same room as each other for two years.

‘It’s not about looking back - it’s how we can work together, looking to the future.

‘Come along, get involved, reconnect with others - it’s about encouraging people to engage, to take part in these exciting conversations.

‘Let’s look to a future that we can make happen collaboratively.’

We Shine Portsmouth - the rainbow art water feature in Victoria Park Picture: Alex Yorke

Andy Grays is CEO of The Guildhall Trust, one of the organisations that started Reignite: Portsmouth, and is also providing The Guildhall as venue for the event at no charge.

He agrees that the pandemic had a ‘huge’ impact on the cultural and creative sectors across the area, and sees the upcoming event as an opportunity to ‘reignite’ these local industries.

Andy said: ‘The cultural sector came to a full stop back in March 2020. For those of us who run venues, we stopped putting on events. It was a huge problem.

‘The nature of the lockdown gave people time to think. I know here at The Guildhall we thought, ‘do we focus on what we’ve always done, or do new things?’, and decided to do a bit of both. When you go through such a traumatic event, you understand your business better.

‘The cultural sector is founded on collaborative opportunity and the pandemic has disrupted that.

‘Now, we want to see more networking and more coming together so we can introduce new ideas to each other.’

8th Portsmouth Girls Brigade at the Fratton Big Local community lantern parade Picture: Sam Stephenson

Andy believes that there are ‘a lot of new creative businesses and enterprises in the city’, and hopes that this event will give them an opportunity to discuss ideas for the future.

He added: ‘There is almost a pent-up feeling in the city - artists want to be seen and be heard and this event will help them on their way.

‘It’s incumbent on some of the more established organisations to work with new people in the creative sector.

‘The city has many strong cultural organisations, and we must do more. If we don’t nurture and support local artists, we don’t have the product come through.

‘The event is a good starting point for people to come together - a lot of companies can pitch their ideas and it gives the opportunity for creatives to promote who they are.

‘It provides an opportunity for everyone to talk and to start afresh. It’s absolutely free, and if people from the cultural sector or creative practitioners want to attend, they’re welcome to register.’

At the event, which will take place from 8.30am to 1pm, keynote speeches will be given by representatives from Portsmouth City Council, and Portsmouth Creates and the University of Portsmouth, as well as other sector experts.

Everyone is welcome to be part of the conversation as there will also be an opportunity for delegates to deliver an 'elevator pitch' to fellow attendees.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Subscribe here for unlimited access to all our coverage, including Pompey, for just 26p a day.

Portsmouth's Jerry Williams on the Acoustic Stage at Victorious last year Picture: Vernon Nash (280821-180)
Graphic design duo 2 Sisters from Waterlooville, who created a mural at the Portsmouth Creates market in 2020
Andy Grays, chief executive of The Guildhall Trust. Picture: Keith Woodland (140821-88)