9 Brighton Businesses Helping The Local Arts Scene Thrive

Brighton lives and breathes through its creativity. The city comes alive during May’s festival season, but maintaining the local art scene’s buoyancy is a year-round job. There are many businesses helping to keep it thriving. Here are 9 we think deserve a shout out.



Simon Webster Hair

Simon Webster Hair – founded by Sophie and Simon Webster – might be one of the city’s foremost hair salons, but it operates under the umbrella of SWH Creatives. SWH Creatives have provided exhibition space for Cassette Lord – whose vibrant work you’ll have seen on electricity junction boxes around town – as well as support for a host of local artists, and free-of-charge hair services for musicians and clothes designers. In 2018 they were headline speakers at the national hairdressing conference, Salon Smart, discussing how their approach to community and creativity has influenced salons across the country. Plus: they give you great hair!

Cassette Lord’s Street Art, North Road, Brighton. Photo Credit:  inspiringcity.com

Cassette Lord’s Street Art, North Road, Brighton. Photo Credit: inspiringcity.com


Fusebox

Fusebox is Wired Sussex’s hub for digital innovators, tech visionaries and creative technologists. They curate Arts Driva: a programme giving local artists the opportunity to combine skills and assets with the area’s foremost digital minds. They also offer a fully subsidised six-month residency that offers 12 artists or collectives training in emerging technologies – like immersive, 5G and quantum computing – alongside partnership opportunities and a generous volume of support.

Arts Driva’s VR Art Installation. Photo Credit:  thefuseboxbrighton.com

Arts Driva’s VR Art Installation. Photo Credit: thefuseboxbrighton.com


Brighton Palace Pier

Brighton Palace Pier might be best known for its 2p slots, but it’s a relentless supporter of local arts. Like the events it sponsors – including Brighton Fringe and Kemptown Carnival – the Pier is a huge draw to visitors and an invaluable facet of local culture. “Brighton has a long history of eclectic events, as well as an array of unique venues,” says Sales & Marketing Manager Neil Blackmore. “It takes something special like the Fringe Festival to bring it all together. It’s been great for Brighton Palace Pier to support the Fringe Festival and be a part of something that celebrates the city’s creativity and welcomes many visitors.”

Brighton’s East Pier: Photo Credit: Emma Croman.

Brighton’s East Pier: Photo Credit: Emma Croman.


Bison Beer

If you’ve enjoyed a beer at a local exhibition launch, there’s a good chance it was provided free of charge by hop dons Bison Beer. They’ve supported local artists like Ludvig, Jessica Sharville, Tony Mason, and Dave Streeter and sponsored numerous end-of-year shows at Brighton University. They’re serial collaborators – including with PLATFR9M on our Beer O’Clock brew. “Supporting Brighton's art ecosystem is very important to Bison,” they say. “We feel the individuals involved in progressing the city’s current capacity for art projects are absolutely paramount to the growth Brighton as a whole.” Hear hear.

Supporting Local Talent, PLATF9RM Collaboration, Lucy Sherston’s can design. Photo Credit: Emma Croman

Supporting Local Talent, PLATF9RM Collaboration, Lucy Sherston’s can design. Photo Credit: Emma Croman


Rodhus

Since opening in 2011, Rodhus has provided invaluable workspace and community feels for local creatives. They house over 30 people at a time, from photographers to screen printers, to musicians and sculptors. Their studios, based on Hollingdean Road and with the likes of Eelus amongst their artists-in-residence, are a true Ground Zero for inspiration.

Resident Rodhus artist; Eelus’ Brighton-wide “Snailspace” intiative. Photo Credit: Eelus.com

Resident Rodhus artist; Eelus’ Brighton-wide “Snailspace” intiative. Photo Credit: Eelus.com


Sol Design Collective

Sol Design Collective was launched to showcase and promote the original artwork of local creatives, whilst providing the support and community that they can sometimes lack as a result of long hours in front of the keyboard/workbench/easel. Founder (and PLATF9RM bae) Jan Burgess has a long history of working within these financially and emotionally tumultuous industries, and is determined to instill some resilience into those that commit their lives to them. Go, Jan!

Jan Burgess delivering a presentation at PLATF9RM, Tower Point:

Jan Burgess delivering a presentation at PLATF9RM, Tower Point:


Selective Asia

This local company are committed to a number of sustainability-driven initiatives in Asia. Thus it makes sense that they are also supporting the Brighton art ecosystem by being a principal sponsor for this 2019’s Brighton Festival. They’ve marked the occasion with their Selective Bites series, profiling their favourite Asian restaurants in Brighton, which you’ll find in the festival guide dotted around the city.

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Fabrica

In the crudest sense, supporting artists is any art gallery’s raison d’etre. But Fabrica are scaling this mission. Founded in 1996 by a group of artists from Brighton’s Red Herring studios, their home is in the deconsecrated Holy Trinity Church on Duke Street. They work tirelessly with the local community through their Beyond The Gallery scheme, which works with schools, further and higher education students and community groups. Their Artist Resource – offering a reference library, talks, workshops, seminars and more – is invaluable for anyone local setting out on that long, fraught artistic adventure.

Fabrica’s Community Drawing Event: Photo Credit: The Fabrica Gallery

Fabrica’s Community Drawing Event: Photo Credit: The Fabrica Gallery


Robin Hood

It’s not that unusual to find pubs offering up space on their walls for local artists to display their work. What is unusual is for the establishment to pay their 20% commission fee to charity. It’s just another way that the Robin Hood – recently voted Brighton’s best pub – contributes to its community. Pop in for a pint, then check out the Lock-In Gallery across the road when you’re done.

Norfolk Square street Party: Photo Credit:  facebook.com/therobinhoodbn1

Norfolk Square street Party: Photo Credit: facebook.com/therobinhoodbn1

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Member of the Week - Lewis White

Introducing Lewis White, Director and founder of start-up Flagstaff Consultants, secret Shakespeare fan and general good guy to have around.

Hello Lewis! So you’re one of our fave newbies, how are you liking PLATF9RM?

What a delightful thing to say. I’m loving PLATF9RM thanks for asking. Dad, forgive me for saying this, it’s just good vibes. The people, the atmos, the coffee - wunderbar..

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We’ve noticed you have a favourite spot on floor 6 with a view of the sea. Would you say you’re a creature of habits?

I’d say I have a fearful respect of the sea, as should you. It is an element and it should be respected. But yes, I certainly am a creature of habit, creature sounds a bit harsh though.

How did you enjoy PLATF9RM’s second Birthday party?

I had a lovely evening, thank you kindly. The people were a delight and you had one of my favourite beverages (Bison Beer See Side) on the go. It’s a rather unseemly £5.90 a pint in the local pub, you were giving them out for free. You can’t really argue with savings like that, can you?


So you did a degree in English and are a self-professed ‘dabbler’ in Shakespeare - how did that take you to recruitment?

I decided against becoming a world class literary genius, author and wordsmith as it’s not about the awards, you know? I knew I wanted to wear a suit and work in the City, so I tried recruitment. I didn’t like it at first but then I liked it, it went well. A few winters passed and I realised I could build an agency that holds some real values at it's core - and now I’m here.


Do you ever miss your ends in South-East London?

I miss my grandmother but I’ve been busy with Flagstaff and she’s been busy running South East London, as she’s been known to do. I’d like to go back to Greenwich Park a bit more as that’s a lovely part of the world but I must say, I love Brighton and right now I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Cheesy.


If you were to write a book what would it be about?

Something original for sure. Perhaps a series of novels set in a fictional middle ages world featuring warring families, knights, dragons etc. Nobody’s really done that yet.


Who’s your favourite ginger person? (I’m allowed to ask ginger questions as I have ginger blood)

I haven’t seen you at our weekly gatherings? I couldn’t pick one, we all have to stick together.


What’s the biggest travelling mare you’ve had?

I’m really quite organised being the rock n rolla I am so we were fine most of the time. We did stay in a rather undesirable part of Cambodia once, despite a local man advising me against it due to it being “where the gangs are” but at $3 cheaper a night it was too good of a deal to miss. We were fine in the end but it was certainly not the Ritz.


What’s the most important thing being in your 20’s has taught you?

Not to worry about things. Things will be what they will be. If you can fix something, great, but if not, don’t worry about it. Be happy.


Thank you Lewis!

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.

Finding Your Creative Space

For many of us, getting home from a long day’s work and settling into a burning passion project is verging on unthinkable. Who has the energy or headspace for that? Well, as a matter of fact, we know a few. PLATF9RM is full of creative souls whose passion and drive helps them juggle successful careers and side projects. We asked some of them to let us into the secrets of how, when and why they switch off business mode and slip into their creative space.


Benji Lamb – Pavilion

“By day I work for a Chinese digital marketing and e-commerce agency called GMA China, but on the side I’m part of a shameless indie pop band called Pavilion. We’re really excited to have recently launched our debut single, Between Days.

PLATF9RM is my main physical space for both my career and my passion project. It’s a creative space full of creative people, so it’s easy to switch between business and creative brains during a free hour in the day. Sometimes I find it helps to simply move seats when I’m changing my focus. I also use different browsers: Safari for business, Chrome for creative. That helps me to stay on track with what I’m doing.

Juggling work and creative projects is always a challenge, but ultimately I think they both have to be a labour of love to succeed. If you’re interested enough in both, switching between isn’t too much of a chore.

I can’t say I ever really relax into being creative – in fact, being creative is the opposite of relaxing! I care too much about my music, and like any creative, I’m anxious about how it’ll be perceived. There’s also the pressure to use our time well when we’re paying for a day in the studio.

Ultimately, I think you just have to be sincere and someone, somewhere will respond. We all feel like we're screaming into the void, right?”

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Becky Rui - Photographer


“I’m a personal branding photographer, but my personal projects are generally also photography based and inspired by my love of documenting things. I’m fascinated by how other people experience life! I want to share people’s stories to help them feel heard, be seen, and for everyone to feel less alone. I’m currently exploring our relationship with body hair as women.

When I’m not away on shoots I usually work on my business from PLATF9RM, because it’s where I feel most focussed, calm and business-minded. I usually edit my personal work at home or in cafes. For my personal projects I prefer not to have an outcome in my mind, allowing creativity to fully lead in the moment instead.

It can sometimes feel like there isn’t enough time to juggle everything, but I find it helps to schedule sessions in my diary for personal work and prioritise that – although if I’m not in the mood, that’s okay. It doesn’t feel right for me to be ‘making’ all the time.

I feel it’s important to allow our creative process to be what it wants to be, and be aware of how different environments, music and company can make a difference to how we feel. Space, people and sounds can all inspire us and support our flow.”

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Toni Finnimore – the Social Society

“I work with charities as a consultant, I coach women in business, I support vulnerable children going through the court system, I'm an advocate for the elderly… but my passion project is the Social Society, the UK's first social club for social good. We’re moving super fast and supporting some amazing local charities.

My workspaces vary hugely, from care homes to court rooms, but my creative space is PLATF9RM. I find I can get so much work done at Hove Town Hall. It's light and airy, friendly, the coffee is delish and I get to chit chat with lots of amazing creatives. Above all, I love its consistency.

Juggling work and the Social Society means 6am coffee shop starts, followed by lots of project work and travel followed by lots of evenings and weekends. Having said this, I love every minute. I find inspiration on seafront strolls, from social society members and my whacky friends – but most often when dancing around my flat at night with headphones on!

I find that when I'm getting creative and stuck into something I love I simply feel better. I feel excited, ideas flow and I bounce up and down with excitement about the possibilities.”

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Sofaya Hussein – Headblush Glitta

“While I don’t have a side project as such, there are two very different sides to running Headblush Glitta. It’s fun at the forefront, and business at the back! I run a Glitter Bar for public and private events and make products for personal use, as well as doing all of the back-office work, from graphic design and social media to book keeping and general admin.

As you can imagine, my physical workspaces differ all the time! My admin workspace is PLATF9RM, a place where I can get my head down with my laptop and focus on the back office bits. My creative space is at home. I have a desk for playing with and applying my own makeup, where I make content for the makeup side of Headblush, and another desk for making, creating, packaging and photographing products for Headblush Glitta. The Glitter Bar is mobile, so I put my creative hat on with bold makeup and an outfit full of sequins and take the creativity with me to wherever the Glitter Bar is going that evening.

How do I get into a creative headspace? Well, after a day of admin-based work, I'm often itching to get some creativity in! A good cup of tea, a well chosen playlist and a scour for inspo on Instagram and Pinterest usually sets me up to create a bold makeup look or product shot. I find a lot of my inspiration from makeup artists, drag queens, influencers and fashonistas on Instagram and Pinterest, as well as all of the amazing, interesting people I see in Brighton and Hove on a daily basis. I love colour, so all I need is to see an interesting colour combo and my mind starts whirring!”

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Lana Burgess – Digital Solace

“By day I'm a freelance writer & content strategist, and for the last four years my creative side project has been organising inclusive events for Brighton Digital Women and commissioning and editing articles for our blog. I've gained masses from growing this community and am so delighted with all the positive feedback we've had from women who have managed to advance their careers through our events. However, after an amazing journey, I recently came to the difficult decision to step away from my role with Brighton Digital Women to make room for a brand new creative project.

Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2012, I’ve been using creative journalling as a way to manage my mood. I have kept diaries since I was nine. But since my diagnosis, I've started to use journalling as a more creative and therapeutic outlet. I write most days either first thing in the morning, during the day when the mood strikes me when working from home, or in the evening if I've been at PLATF9RM.

My writing takes whatever form I need it to that day. Sometimes I write as if I were my best friend counselling myself. Sometimes as if writing a letter. Sometimes my writing is just a stream of consciousness. Sometimes it comes out as poetry. When I hit upon a topic or theme that I want to explore further, I write a post about it on my blog, Digital Solace.

A hot bath with lots of bubbles, candles, and ambient music normally helps me relax into a creative space after a long day’s work. Or if I have anxious energy to release, then a good dance around the living room to something visceral like Venetian Snares is good. My creative space involves candles. I like to journal at home with scented candles lit, main lights off, ambient music on. Your creative space is about recreating a feeling. I find once you've felt being utterly lost in flow, you know what space you need to be in to reconnect to the neural pathways that got you there.”

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Launching a creative side project can feel daunting, but there are so many ways to make it work around your career. The Corcovado Project is an amazing organisation providing spaces for people to connect and create in nature, away from the pressures of everyday. This month they’re running a day long workshop which will see us learning and making both indoors and out, and exploring how to make the best of digital and analogue in nature. The fun will start at 10am, and we’ll wrap up with a hearty veggie bowl food dinner. Day tickets are limited to 40, but an additional 60 tickets are available for the evening. See you there!

Member of the Week - Sofaya Hussein

Introducing Sofaya Hussein; the wonderful brain behind HeadBlush, glitter extraordinaire and lover of Queen Latifah.


Hi Sofaya, tell us a bit about your company Headblush and what you do.


Hiya! Headblush is really an extension of myself, all about bold, colourful makeup that’s centred in experimenting and creativity rather than an idea of what we should look like or how we should do things. Headblush Glitta is all about the sparkle, bringing gorgeous biodegradable glitter goodness to events throughout Sussex and London and even your very own makeup bag! Everything we do is about letting go and having fun and saying eff you to expectations.

All of your products are eco-friendly, what made you decide to have this as part of your brand?

This is why we use exclusively biodegradable glitter in everything that we do, as well as biodegradable wipes and bin bags for the Glitta Bar (we decided to ditch cotton buds), and glass pots, paper stickers and tin lids for our Glitta Whip and Glitta Jam products.

What has been a highlight (see what I did there?) of running Headblush so far?

Running Headblush has really opened up a whole new world for me. I’m such a chatty, social person so it has been wonderful to meet so many new, kind and talented people, whether they be customers, creatives or other business owners.

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You’re new to PLATF9RM, how have you found it so far?

I bloody LOVE it! Everyone is so friendly, there are so many dogs to cuddle and the selection of tea is on point. I’ve found my productivity goes through the roof on the days that I’m working at PLATF9RM (despite all the chatting) and it’s really helping in taking my business to the next level.

You’re based in Hove Town Hall, what attracted you to that space?

For one, it’s right around the corner from my house, but after seeing the Ground Floor space, I just knew it was time to go for it and become a member. It has such an inviting and warm vibe to it - I’m especially partial to the cosy quiet room in the middle.

Are there any events of ours you have your eye on?

I’m very much looking forward to making it to one of the PLATF9RM socials and a Cereal Filler so that I can meet other members, have a chat and learn. I love how friendly and collaborative PLATF9RM is so I’d like to get stuck into the community a bit more!

Who are some of your make up inspirations?

Oooh, this is a tough one! I adore the makeup artists Bea Sweet Beauty and Umber Ghauri, drag queens like Kim Chi and the Instagrammers Shrinkle and MakeUpMouse. Anyone who chooses the brightest colours in the palette and goes for it really!

We’re very jealous you get to spend a whole 5 weeks at the Spiegeltent again this year glittering people up! Do you have any good stories from your time there last year?

I can’t think of any specific stories, as so much went on! I wore my Plus Equals kimono (a flip-sequin holographic black and pink jacket) most of the time though, and people just couldn’t resist drawing things in it! It was a very good ice breaker and often led to many hilarious encounters.

Okay, it’s Sunday, it’s not stopped raining all day, you’re in your PJ’s at home curled up on your sofa, what film do you watch?

Last Holiday, nothing is better than Queen Latifah and LL Cool J. It’s my go-to - I watch it at least once a month!

Thank you Sofaya!

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.