Southsea & Portsmouth Coastal Scheme

Client: Royal Haskoning DHV / LDA Design

Category: Environmental

The Southsea Coastal Scheme is responsible for delivering new flood defences along 4.5km of seafront, from Old Portsmouth to Eastney. United Creatives are currently working with a wide range of local artists, creatives, makers and arts bodies to deliver an integrated arts plan for this impressive historic coastline.

United Creatives are seeking to collaborate with the artists and creatives of Southsea and Portsmouth to stage a public facing exhibition showcasing local talent. Our goal is to exhibit a broad range of art so that we can build momentum towards fundraising and seeking opportunities for the inclusion of integrated and standalone public art within the coastal flood defence scheme.

Our agenda is to put as many local artists on the map conveying their work, practice and a short bio in one place. The exhibition entitled ‘A Collaborative Arts Plan for Southsea & Portsmouth’ will seek garner support for the arts whilst recapping on the wider flood defence scheme itself. 


In view of staging an exhibition on the seafront early November we are asking for a bio of 100-150 words and 5-6 examples of your work that would lend itself to being printed at A3. We will be pulling this together for multiple artists and will stage something of a private view (exact dates and location to be announced).

Following the exhibition it is also our hope that collated artist profiles can then be championed as we move towards fundraising and commissioning. We can’t make any promises for an outdoor commissions but we will be trying our best to make that happen. 

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Our vision is for a series of integrated and standalone public artworks cited within and around the large scale coastal flood defence programme currently underway along the frontages of Southsea and Portsmouth. The overall aim of these artworks will be to create a series of quality and engaging public art that promotes local businesses, tells a relevant story of the city, provides a clear excuse for tourism and engenders civic pride whilst furthering the careers of the artists involved.  

To date we have identified an impressive and diverse community of artists practicing in the ‘island city’ that work in a range of disciplines that span street art and social documentary photography to arts practices that have strong ties to the areas proud naval history which dates back to the time of Henry VIII. Examples of these arts and cultural practices are macrame, knotting and tattoo art, all of which are kept alive today, but which need support in order that they may be celebrated nationally.

Beyond artists working in art mediums with links to the historic and nearby dockyard, home to iconic ships such as the Mary Rose and Nelsons Victory, there is also a wealth of contemporary creatives working and making a living from painting, street art, embroidery, projection, augmented reality, land and stone artworks, photography, and perhaps most uniquely, braille art. Whilst the majority of practising artists can be seen as emerging this is supported by a core of more established practitioners working across the UK and abroad but not necessarily in their home town. This is something we would like the opportunity to change. 

Given the marine environment as potential canvas for public artworks a creative use of robust materials will be adopted to allow art forms usually assigned to gallery or indoor presentation to be shown and integrated into the public realm adding colour, fine grain detail and in some cases for larger artworks, wow factor. Our aims are set high with a vision for a raft of vibrant ideas that will see artists continue their current practices whilst adopting new materials savvy to outdoor use. 

Via initial consultation we have early form ideas for a parkour and street art area to get a major part of the city’s route into the creative industries out of the back alleyways. Second this with bespoke street furniture made in collaboration with the local fishing community, a parklet play area made with macrame and knotting craftspersons and all with the agenda of kickstarting and furthering careers whilst promoting and supporting creative businesses within the city. 

With a manifesto that also sets to encompass permanent street art, for which there is huge appetite, a tattoo walk that represents the 100 plus registered ‘ink slingers’ in the city and for local museum and artist collaborations the scene is set for something spectacular.