Flatland Projects delivers a series of parallel programmes at Beeching Road Studios which seek to fill the gaps in opportunities available to young people accessing creative industries. Working with Talent Accelerator (TA) and Hastings and Rother Arts in Education Network (HRAEN) as programme partners, Flatland has developed a series of initiatives which equip young people with specific skillsets and valuable support networks to make creative careers a viable and sustainable option.

The reality of many art careers is that they are hybrid in nature. The aim of these programmes is to create valuable pathways for local young people to navigate these dualities within the arts. Creatives living and working in the creative sector in the South East typically have regular freelancing roles for example, such as gallery technician, art handler, studio assistant, art transportation, and art teacher.

The programmes cultivated within Flatland Futures prepare young people for these freelance opportunities, providing hands on support and time and space to develop their skillset outside of the studio. Technician training, funding workshops and facilitating opportunities are some examples of the various free programmes on offer.

Outline of Current Programmes

The programmes developed by Flatland Projects function like vertical strands, each supporting creatives at different stages of their career. Each of these free opportunities are elected via open calls.

This an outline of the programmes we’ve instigated so far:

Early Careers Studio Programme

Open to creatives within the first ten years of their practice, the first iteration of ECSP saw 6 artists participate in a year-long studio-based residency. In addition to each having a solo show at Flatland Projects, the participants gained critical, curatorial and artistic input, via studio visits, clinics, workshops, and development conversations. Connections with local organisations were also extended during this first iteration, as the artists developed workshops with various schools, colleges and community groups.

Flatland X DLWP Curatorial Fellowship

Organised in collaboration with The De La Warr Pavilion this fellowship gives a curator within the first five years of their practice an opportunity to work in the curatorial teams at both The De La Warr Pavilion and Flatland Projects. The programme follows a two-fold structure, with the curator assisting the development of projects in both spaces for three months, before delivering their own proposed programme at Flatland Projects. The tandem makeup of this programme gives the emerging curator a chance to work across institutional and artist run contexts. This programme also runs simultaneously to the ECSP initiative, allowing fruitful crossovers to take place between the Curatorial Fellow and the artists on the studio programme.

Flatland Technicians Introduction Course:

This Technical Training Programme had its first pilot round in the summer of 2023. Open to 18-25 year olds from East Sussex, this course was designed in response to the gaps in artistic development that were identified within our first iteration of our Early Careers Studio Programme (ECSP). Most artists in the region support their studio practice with freelance roles such as art handling or technician work, and this week-long workshop gave local young people hands on experience of what it means to be a technician in an art gallery. Led by two experienced technicians Billy Stanley and Adam Burton, the programme covered basic skillsets and safety precautions in this role. Delivered in a supportive and accessible environment, this programme aims to deliver our commitment to widening access into the creative industries and making creative careers more visible and viable in our region.

Flatland Futures: 18–25-Year-Old Residency

Flatland Futures is open to emerging East Sussex artists between the ages of 18 and 25 who would heavily benefit from having dedicated studio time to develop their practice. The artists selected from the open call share a large communal studio which they’ll have access to each day. The first iteration of this programme is taking place from September 2023 through to February 2024, culminating with a group exhibition at the end of the studio residency.The principal aim of this programme is to create an access point into the artistic ecology of Bexhill and wider East Sussex for young artists at the beginning stage of their creative lives through focused studio time and peer support.

Future Programmes

Moving forward, all our programmes will be delivered as strands within the overarching programme Flatland Futures. Each programme is developed with the end goal of increasing accessibility to creative careers, whether that’s by offering mentoring, practical studio space or a specific skillset.

There’s always more to be done in this area. Potential offshoots continue to arise from our initial programmes as the tides shift within creative industries. We’d love to extend our offering to delve into the current position of artist/curators for example, or to focus more specifically on arts writing.

Regardless of how our programmes take shape or shift, we pledge to continue with our aim to make creatives careers a sustainable and viable option.