Our Purpose

We believe culture plays an important part in achieving quality of life in Sussex, helping create and sustain vibrant communities, supporting social cohesion, and underpinning economic success.

Working strategically

We work strategically with local, regional and national partners to enable and deliver important new cultural initiatives and to help the creative and cultural sectors capitalise on funding and development opportunities. In doing so, we support artists and arts companies to create high-quality arts projects with communities in Sussex.

Supporting creative infrastructure

Our vision for Creatives Across Sussex is to enable communities across the whole of Sussex to benefit socially and economically from a thriving and sustainable arts and creative infrastructure.

Working in partnership

We achieve our vision by working in partnership with:

  • Local authorities – to assist in achieving the social and economic objectives which benefit their communities
  • The business community in Sussex – to enable agendas of Corporate Social Responsibility to benefit those in the workplace and in the wider community
  • Funding bodies – by adding value to investment in the arts through the broadening of funding bases
  • Communities in Sussex – to involve and engage local people in creative activities that enhance skills, well-being and arts appreciation
  • The arts and creative community – as an enabler and advocate for the work of artists, producers and companies in Sussex and beyond
    View the Creative Directory
Our partners

Photograph by Paul Ackerley

About Us

Our team at Creatives Across Sussex combines both cultural and business expertise to provide a dynamic portfolio of arts development services.

Independent arts and cultural development

We’re a small, versatile community interest company directed by experienced cultural and business practitioners with a succesful track record of more than a decade of arts development in West Sussex and beyond, including delivery of the ‘Ahead of the Game’ cultural programme to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in West Sussex.

The formation of our company in 2013 was driven by a steering group of West Sussex local authorities, with the intention to further arts and cultural development within the county.

Our key delivery specialists

Paul Ackerley, Creative Producer
A performing arts producer with a background in presenting international outdoor and site-specific mixed media and music events, venue management, fund-raising and public sector arts development.

Sue Martin, Creative Manager
A music promoter, artist-designer, project manager, lecturer and marketeer, who is also director of Roots Around the World.

Jim Shea, Business Director
An arts and cultural management consultant supporting the strategic, financial and creative development of organisations, individuals and initiatives in the arts and cultural sector.

Sarah Matthews, Business Administratror
An experienced project manager within both the public and private sectors, with comprehensive experience of outcome-led planning, monitoring and evaluation.

Contact us

Photograph by Sally Scott

Our Services

Creatives Across Sussex offers a wide-ranging portfolio of services and skills to support artists, partners and communities in the achievement of their cultural aspirations.

Arts events in the community

We help secure funding for hosting or facilitating the development and delivery of significant community-based arts projects and events in Sussex. We will be developing and delivering ‘Town to Earth’, a choral project which brings community groups together in both urban Mid Sussex and the rural South Downs.

Advocacy for the arts in delivery

We provide advocacy for the West Sussex arts ecology with local authorities, commissioners and funders. The Creatives Across Sussex creative directory website promotes artists and arts organisations to increase their professional development through public funding and business turnover through delivering creative solutions to strategic commissioners.

Advice and capacity building

We also provide business, financial management and organisational development support to strategically important arts initiatives, companies and groups. Our knowledge, skills and reach are supporting the development of complementary organisations such as Sussex Arts Academy and Applause Rural Touring in a fast changing cultural and economic climate.

Information sharing

We are involved in providing mechanisms for arts-related information-sharing and partnership working between local authorities within and beyond West Sussex. Our developing Case Studies highlight the benefits that local authorities have measured by engaging artists and arts organisations in delivering their corporate objectives.

Building partnerships

We can help broker developmental partnerships between the arts sector and funders, agencies or commissioners from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. ‘Reading the South’, our partnership with libraries in East and West Sussex, will provide a blueprint in a collaboration between the respective County Councils’ departments, third sector and commercial providers, and communities.

Professional development for creatives

We provide research, intelligence, funding and networking services to artists, producers and companies via our creative directory website. The creative directory and opportunities sections of the website are complemented by a weekly newsletter and social media which together bring up-to-the-minute information and comment to our members.

Our projects

Photograph by Paul Ackerley

“I know from feedback from those fortunate enough to be at the event that everything went really well and the singing was one of the highlights of the evening. The children are still talking about it. We are delighted that Singing Streets was such a success.”

— Headteachers, St John’s and Arunside Schools, Singing Streets children’s choirs

Our Partners

Partnerships are vital to the work we do, and we aim to provide clear and measurable benefits to those partners who elect to collaborate with us on innovative community-based arts and cultural projects.

Our growing network of partners demonstrates a collective and far-reaching commitment to arts development in Sussex and beyond, with positive outcomes for the social and economic well-being of the communities we serve.

Local Authorities

Our work with local authorities is designed to complement their core services by:

  • Offering a resource of specialist skills and expertise in using the arts in strategic delivery
  • Levering funds for the arts and culture which benefit local communities
  • Acting as broker and manager for commissioned services
  • Hosting and facilitating high-profile public events, contributing to the visitor economy
  • Being a focus for information sharing and partnership development

Current local authority partners include Horsham District Council, Mid Sussex District Council, East Sussex County Council Library and Information Services, West Sussex County Council Library Service.

Business community

We work with Sussex-based businesses to:

  • Represent the arts sector in important Corporate Social Responsibility circles
  • Support arts organisations and the arts sector generally to tailor evaluations to the needs of business supporters
  • Help to change the public perception of arts activities as elitist and engage companies in this mission
  • Work with businesses to produce better evidence of the contribution arts activities have made to Corporate Social Responsibility

Funding bodies

We have significant combined experience in the arts funding field and aim to share our expertise with funding bodies and potential arts funding applicants in order to add value to funding investiment in the arts in Sussex.

We work with regional and national funders such as Arts Council England as both an interpreter and an influencer with peer agencies, involving local authorities and statutory bodies alongside providers from the private sector.

Arts & creative community

Through our web-based listings, opportunities, directory and newsletter services, we act as facilitator, enabler, broker and match-maker between arts practitioners, arts companies, local authorities and funders. The Creatives Across Sussex directory website currently has over 400 profile listings of arts and creative professionals and organisations in Sussex.

As part of each of our arts and cultural projects, we engage with the development needs of artists, producers and creative companies and offer symposia for arts professionals to extend their networks and skills development.

Our arts development remit includes the planning and delivery of Youth Arts and Public Art development. We are working with ‘Creatives Across Sussex’, the local arts development agency, to support arts practitioners.

Mid Sussex District Council

Work with us

Photograph by Paul Ackerley

“Many thanks for the whole experience. It was an amazing rollercoaster for me and I now just want to go on singing forever!”

— Terri McKean, Singing Streets participant

Our Projects

Our projects are all about taking the arts to Sussex communities in a manner that includes, engages and inspires all those who participate or attend to achieve a better quality of life through the creative experience.

We work on projects with our partners in any one of three ways:

  1. Lead deliverer of arts projects which are needs-led, providing creative production and management skills to support project partners and creative professionals
  2. Partner to another lead deliverer, providing business and/or project management and skills development capabilities
  3. Broker or enabler to a project, bringing together the necessary components to realise a project devised by a creative professional and including, where required, the indentification of funding

Singing Streets

A pioneering outdoor music project created with the residents of The Needles Housing Estate, Horsham and featuring new music commissions based on the history and experience of living on The Needles, sung by the residents (May 2014, with funding from Arts Council England and Horsham District Council).

View project case study

Reading the South

With library services in West and East Sussex, we are developing a two-year reader development campaign which will explore senses of place and identity in Sussex and will extend audience reach and participation in both arts and library activities.

The campaign will connect high-profile authors with local readers through libraries and in the community, to use books and readers’ own writing to discover just what ‘The South’ means to them (Spring 2015, led by East Sussex Library and Information Services and West Sussex Library Service).

Applause Rural Touring

We are supporting Applause Rural Touring to deliver community-engaged, subsidised indoor and outdoor performances suitable for rural venues, fetes and festivals across Sussex.

Arts Development in Mid Sussex

We are pleased to be assisting Mid Sussex District Council in the delivery of its arts development remit for young people, most recently through the sourcing of bespoke professional performances for three local Play Days, resulting in a further partnership for specially commissioned work.

View project case study

It was great to learn about Creatives Across Sussex. Your projects look amazing and inspiring.

Judy Upton, Sussex-based writer

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