Co-Creating the Public Space in Southampton A new community-focussed public art project

Skate Southampton SLAMMA. Photo: Steve Béga

We are pleased to announce Co-Creating the Public Space, a nationally significant project principally funded by Arts Council England, University of Southampton, Southampton City Council and with support from GO! Southampton.


Co-Creating the Public Space invites communities from Southampton to develop major art commissions, created in conjunction with leading international artists. These new public artworks will be launched as part of major festivals and community celebrations in Southampton and beyond.

This project, which starts in April 2022 and runs over two years, will see John Hansard Gallery and a range of city-wide partners working with local and international artists, including: Mary Evans, Oozing Gloop and NewfrontEars, Rich Holland, Grace Lau, and other artists TBA. These artists will work in partnership with multiple community groups and organisations, including: Art Asia and Southampton Mela, The Mela Partnership, Black History Month South, Chinese Arts Southampton, Chinese Association of Southampton, Confucius Institute, Kingston Creative Jamaica, Skate Southampton, Southampton Black Archives, Southampton Pride, SPUD, The Stage Door, UP Projects, and videoclub.

Co-Creating the Public Space aims to empower communities to reimagine how public space is used in their cities. In addition to five significant public art commissions, Southampton will host a national conference about public art and co-develop a new public art strategy for the city. Co-Creating the Public Realm will explore new thoughts around creativity and public space in relation to gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age, ability, access, health and wellbeing.

Co-Creating the Public Space will support artists, producers and the cultural sector in Southampton, the South West and nationally, bolstering the city’s social and creative recovery following COVID-19. A number of new roles and artist opportunities will be created as a result of this project that will be led by John Hansard Gallery, in collaboration with UP Projects and Visual Arts South West.

Southampton is bidding to be UK City of Culture in 2025 and John Hansard Gallery is fully committed to being a programme partner for Southampton 2025. Designation as UK City of Culture would be a catalyst for much needed social, cultural and economic transformation for the city and its inhabitants. Co-Creating the Public Realm will nurture creative and cultural communities, building skills, capacity and participation in support of Southampton’s ambition to be UK City of Culture.

Read the full Press Release here.

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