Arts & Culture
by Aspect County


With the arrival of the Turner Prize, Barbara Hepworth exhibition and significant funding from the Government and Arts Council England, 2023 marks the coming of age for the cultural string of pearls” that stretches along our southeast coastline.

Dineo Seshee Bopape Towner Eastbourne 2019 Photo Rob Harris

Dineo Seshee Bopape,Towner Eastbourne, 2019. © Rob Harris

For those of you who really appreciate contemporary art, this year the south coast will be the place to be! With significant and unmissable exhibitions and events happening at the Towner Eastbourne, Hastings Contemporary, the DLWP Bexhill on Sea and Turner Contemporary, Margate.

Towner have really hit the jackpot in their centenary year, with both the Barbara Hepworth exhibition and Turner Prize. The Turner Prize is the world’s leading prize for contemporary art and is part of Towner 100’ – the gallery’s year-long centenary celebration of arts and culture across Eastbourne. With support from Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council, the Turner Prize will bring transformative cultural and social experiences for visitors and residents of the prestigious, popular seaside destination.

Towner Art Gallery Jananne Al Ani Extras by Rob Harris

Towner Art Gallery Jananne Al-Ani. © Rob Harris

In a recent recorded interview, Towner Director and CEO Joe Hill spoke about the process of acquiring opportunities such as the Turner Prize, the tenacity required and the collaborative approach he takes to such ventures to ensure the widest possible community impact. 

The exhibition of Turner Prize’s four shortlisted artists will be presented from 28 September2023 to 14 January 2024 with the announcement of the winner on 5 December 2023.


Installation view The Weather Garden Anne Hardy curates the Arts Council Collection 17 February to 2 June 2019 Towner Eastbourne Photo by Angus Mills

Installation view, The Weather Garden. Anne Hardy curates the Arts Council Collection. 17 February to 2 June 2019, Towner Eastbourne.© Angus Mills

Hastings Contemporary also have a close relationship with the Turner Prize through their longstanding relationship with Project Artworks, who were a contender in 2021. Project Art Works collaborate with people with complex support needs, families, and circles of support. Their practice intersects art and care, responding to neurodivergence, its gifts and impacts. Challenging paradigms of inclusion, it spans direct practical and holistic support, film, events, projects, and exhibitions.

At the heart of their presentation for Turner Prize 2021 was a constructed space holding a physical and digital archive from over 4,000 works by neurodivergent artists and makers over two decades. 

Sadly, they didn’t win but the experience has been transformative none the less and Project Artworks are now recognised as an Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation 2023 – 2026.

Hastings Contemporary, who also receive ACE NPO funding, are celebrating their 10-year anniversary in 2023, with an exciting and ambitious programme of exhibitions and events. The gallery, which sits among Hastings’s famous net huts, overlooking the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Europe, has developed a reputation for its focus on painting and on Modern British art. The 2023 season will open with Soutine|Kossof in April, bringing together two major figures of 20th century painting: one a master of the School of Paris, the other a master of the School of London.

In a recent filmed interview, Hastings Contemporary Director Liz Gilmore spoke about how the gallery selection process works, with a focus on originality and integrity. They very much look for those artists who break new ground, and who are authentic and honest to their roots – Soutine and Kossof being prime examples, alongside artists such as Chantal Joffe, Rose Wylie, Maggi Hambling and Sir Quentin Blake, who feature in their current 10th anniversary Making Waves exhibition.


The De La Warr Pavilion (DLWP) are in their words a pioneering centre for the arts. A place where everyone can experience contemporary exhibitions, events, and entertainment in an iconic Modernist building. By the sea, on England’s south coast.” Stewart Drew has been Director and Chief Executive since its last major refurbishment in 2015, and told me recently how rewarding it is to see the DLWP so embedded in its community and delivering such a diverse programme, especially in the auditorium, which was all but written off as beyond saving in 2015. With its distinctive and original dimpled’ acoustic ceiling and generous stage area, it now regularly hosts larger-scale events and productions.

The DLWP is today a truly multi-disciplinary cultural space with programming including visual art exhibitions, dance, performance, comedy, film and much more. I highly recommend booking a building tour followed by a cup of tea and a piece of cake overlooking the sea on their expansive balcony if the weather allows.


For booking details: www​.dlwp​.com/​e​v​e​n​t​/​b​u​i​l​d​i​n​g​-​tours

To watch the full interviews with Joe Hill, Liz Gilmore, and Stewart Drew, subscribe to the Pure YouTube channel:‑Q

Written by Lesley Samms MSc ANLP MAC FRSA lesley@​pureartsgroup.​co.​uk