I founded b-side in 2008, bringing together a range of arts organisations and artists in Dorset that could develop and deliver this programme. At the time, there were no opportunities for audiences to engage with contemporary visual, digital or live events.
b-side curators select professional artists to make site-responsive work in Weymouth and Portland. We present contemporary artistic responses to site in an accessible way and engage a broad range of audiences and participants. We ask our supporters to be players, partners and protagonists. We produce “Moments not Monuments”.
The bi-annual ‘b-side festival’ started with weekend of events in 2008 on a small budget. It grew exponentially: playing a major part in the ‘Maritime Mix’ London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea. In 2012, b-side was awarded National Portfolio Organisation status by the Arts Council of England. We are the only NPO in the borough.
b-side also plans long-term developmental work with a focus on disadvantaged young people from the Local Authority’s ‘Priority Communities’. RIO and Synergy Housing are funding a scheme on Portland to set up initiatives with outcomes-based evaluation that track young peoples’ progression onto courses, careers, social enterprise companies and apprenticeships within the creative industries. We offer Arts Award as part of this scheme.
Photographs: Pete Milson, Norman Lomax and Alan Rogers.