Although the Phoenix Project does not sit perfectly into this work environments section, it is the closest fit for a project that aimed to document the creative and artistic community based on a former industrial estate in Lewes. The photographs were taken over a five month period between March and July 2013, resulting in an art trail and exhibit during ArtWave 2013. Blog posts, numbered from 1 to 14, about the stories behind these shoots, can be found starting here.
The project began life as an idea for a photographic documentary of an area of Lewes known as the Phoenix Estate. This was once an important centre for industry and craftmanship where from the 1830s, huge foundries cast the ironwork for the Brighton and Eastbourne piers and much more. With the loss of the foundries in the 1970s, the area went into decline. Over the past 5 years there has been a resurgence of creativity. A steady rise in arts and community enterprises is taking place here: galleries, artist studios, performance spaces, youth facilities, a community chef. A change in land values has led to plans to develop the Phoenix site so there may once again be a shift in how the area is being used. Whatever the future holds for this piece of land, I felt it was important to capture a significant time and place in the social and cultural history of Lewes.