Thanks to all of you who managed to come the Sustenance Supper. It was a heart-warming event that, I think, demonstrates Brighton is ready for a new environmental consciousness. Below is a quick summary of the most compelling topics discussed during the dinner. Please feel free to contact me or Fabrica with any suggestions on how to continue this conversation.
The general consensus was that it was wonderful to have all these people/organisations together to explore these questions without any pressure to find solutions at this stage. In particular Lydia from ONCA thought that CiCi’s residency presented an interesting model – artist’s embedded in businesses/commercial projects accompanying employees through process and sharing the same environment. Lydia also thinks it would be great to continue the conversation, ONCA would love to explore other ways of working together.
An anonymous commented that the event helped break open the silos that we work in to stimulate discussion on enduring value, which is probably one of the most important topics of our time. In a throw away, time limited, trend based culture, creating value in every aspect of our lives, value that will last through generations, matching the cycle of life that exceeds our individual life times is really important. The people that were present at this event are all working in their way to create enduring value, some with timeless art, others presenting nature, looking after our world. The biggest problem in Brighton is that we don’t collaborate, work together to make change in society.
Another participant commented that we should all make the effort to make it happen. Commenting that joining art to business is a what produced change. Let’s create change in our world starting here in Brighton.
This is the transcription of a graphic that was drawn by anonymous which illustrates the consequences of consumption where the consumer has been involved in the process of creation, in the upper semicircle, and consequences of consumption without participation in the production, in the lower. Following CiCi presentation where she talked about consumption as necessary for humans – without it we would died. But there are consequences when people are alienate from the process of creating what we consume. This process brings connection and a sense of belonging without which we feel compelled to consume without ever being satisfied, obsessively looking for more to fill a gaping, deep void.
More comments on how this kind of exchange will favour the stimulation of great ideas that could make this city, different from any other city, stimulating hubs for communities, artists, businesses and people. Getting together is the only way we can produce a space of enduring value. Defining this idea and transmitting it through education is what is needed to guarantee it’s sustainability. Another comment adds to this advocating for a “Brighton Salon” seen as a communication mechanism that reaches all artists, creative businesses/interested parties. “Although difficult to achieve, smaller invited salon events might create the heart that a bigger salon community springs from.”
A further opinion sees the need for a contemporary art gallery in Brighton with “proper” funding which reflects the wealth of creativity in the city. This was echoed by another participant who thought much of what we seem to share common ground on is the idea of something shared and something retained but also expression. The participant would love to form a group that meets with a single purpose, for example a sustainable modern art gallery; maybe forming a “fundraising pressure group to turn the old Middle Street theatre/bingo hall which could include a dedicated ‘digital’ section to leverage the local skills that have evolved in Brighton. It would cement Brighton as a creative hub with free-thinkers and would act as a pressure valve for the expression of community feeling. A people art gallery to keep and develop the place’s edge, its bohemian valves, its vibrancy. It transcends class, it bridges opinion, it connects”.
Another voice affirmed that Brighton is a magical place. Creative, friendly and evolving. “It is at the beginning of a renaissance. Small businesses and artists need support and together we can create something unique”.
Lez comments are as follows
Sustainable, evolving, revolutionary, creative awareness linking small businesses with the arts involving young and elderly connecting with all-seeing all-hearing all-touching and all-engaging kindness, wonder learning, nurturing knowledge, gathering visual tactile smell and encompassing awareness. Lez.”
Brighton and Hove Food Partnership thoughts hovered around the homeless and the vulnerable and giving people access to green spaces and encouraging “sustainable” foraging, contact with nature also helps with mental health and community cohesion. BHFP also, advocated for more meeting where venues and organisers could rotate and a pot luck event where we all share food prep.These more practical suggestions were followed by more such tips specifically regarding online organising and the use of Trello. Practical question regarding What is needed? Could Fabrica be a venue? Who can provide what? What to do about admin? Self organising? Small membership fee? And how to organise a people sign up? In addition to statements regarding creating a good environment where less should be done but structured in a fun way, there were also calls to understand what is the objective? Brand and strategies? Motivation and tool set?
The artist has a different perspective towards environmental debate; a perspective that differs from scientists who tend to use statistics and number. Artists can provide a more introspective vision of ecological themes connecting with the subject.
An interesting comment I heardduring the dinner regards the need for space for both artists and businesses. A local business was describing their struggle to negotiate a reduction in a 44% rent increase and how expensive the whole process was which included hiring a negotiator. Part of the problem is that the company who owns the building is based abroad and has no direct dealings with the local community working through an agent. What do we do when faced with the fact that there are forced above our community that act only for profit? How can we build resilience here and find space for all?