Revolutionary Arts

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People and places have inspired and informed the Revolutionary Arts work since it was formed in 2000. In exploring the local, it often acts as a creative alchemist bringing together artists, makers and thinkers with local authorities, community groups and other arts organisations.

The group make all sorts of things for all sorts of audiences, from big festivals to intimate 'kitchen table' networking events, and particularly enjoy short, temporary interventions.

Since 2001, Revolutionary Arts have established artists' open houses in Worthing and Horsham; painted giant murals with young people; exhibited work by hundreds of artists in galleries, arts centres, empty shops and churches; published a poetry anthology; used environmentally-friendly paint to produce a massive panorama in an eco-centre; managed community arts festivals; and sent artists and poets back to school to inspire children.

You can see images from past events in the Revolutionary Arts archives (2003-2009 only) or on Flickr

With the Empty Shops Network, Revolutionary Arts have brought together people from across the UK who are exploring the high street. The Empty Shops Network has managed projects in Brighton, Brixton, Carlisle, Coventry, Kilburn, Shoreham by Sea and the group's hometown of Worthing. The network has also published the Empty Shops Workbook and Toolkit; staged the country's first Empty Shops Conference; and provided speakers for events from the top of the country to the bottom - including Belfast, the Midlands, Cumbria, London and the South Coast.

Some things Revolutionary Arts do happen regularly, some happen when enough people come together, and some projects pop-up once and are never seen again. Some projects are in traditional arts venues, but most are outside them in empty shops, public spaces or in the open air.  Some projects are big and visible, but some happen below the radar. 

Underlying all the activity is a commitment to supporting early-career, emerging and semi-professional creative people as they develop their lives, skills and careers.

By making things and supporting others, Revolutionary Arts gives people a chance to experience, enjoy and understand the contemporary arts in the places where they live.

Products for Places:

Products for Web:

Products for Young People:

Products with Music:

You can also find the Revolutionary Arts Group on:

  • Flickr (find the Artists and Makers group)
  • Twitter (or find artistsmakers)
  • Facebook (or search for Love Arts, Love The Revolutionary Arts Group)
  • YouTube

Things Revolutionary Arts Helped Start:

Stuff Revolutionary Arts Stick To:

Plain English
"Revolutionary Arts support the use of Plain English because it means we can talk to more people about what we're passionate about, and they'll understand what we're saying." 

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All the artists

Revolutionary Arts was formed in October 2000, originally around a manifesto scrawled on a studio wall. Since then, the Worthing-based organisation has founded Worthing open houses, Horsham open studios (Both as part of the bigger Artists and Makers Festival), the Made In Worthing festival and the Empty Shops Network. To mark the next birthday, founders Dan and Tracey Thompson are planning a limited edition artwork.

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Pier Day gets Revolutionary

Make Do & Mend, Dig for Victory and Keep Calm and Carry On. Three well-known messages from the past which have a particular resonance today have inspired the organisers of this year's Pier Day, a one-day festival held on Worthing's art deco pier.

After being involved in running the event since its conception, this year Revolutionary Arts will be taking over the artistic direction of Pier Day, after securing the support of Worthing Borough Council. The annual event takes place on Sunday 12th September, from 12 noon-4pm.

Pier Day celebrates the architecture of Worthing's award-winning art deco pier. So this year, the event will have a historical flavour, celebrating seaside style from the 1930s-1950s. With a topical nod to an era that mixed austerity and celebration, organisers are bringing together artists, community groups and local businesses to celebrate grow-your-own, local food, austerity and the spirit of make do and mend with a great big street party on the pier. Revolutionary Arts will also be commissioning a range of original artworks inspired by the pier.

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Empty Shops Network in Carlisle & Penrith

As part of the forthcoming #Town2Town empty shops project organised for Carlisle & Penrith, artist group Arcade have invited the Empty Shops Network Tour to join them – and to base themselves in empty premises at 17 Lowther Street,  Carlisle for a week long stay focusing on empty shops and their re-use.

The week in Carlisle will be one of a number of visits the Empty Shops Network are making to towns across the UK. The tour has already visited Brixton (pictured). Future dates include Shoreham by Sea (8th-13th March) and Coventry (22nd-27th March). Artists from the network and local guests will spend a week working with visitors; artists, business and town centre managers and community alike to create a one-day local history exhibition, finding stories in the places they visit.

The week will be packed full of practical sessions, networking meetings and chances to explore technology - so that people visiting will see how quickly an empty shop project can come together and showing the potential of empty shops and meanwhile projects in regeneration. Meetings and workshops can be pre-arranged beforehand through

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Pop-Up Playspace in Worthing empty shop

Worthing's old Allied Carpet showroom will be transformed for half term into a Pop-Up Playspace.

The project was the idea of 8 year old Toby Bishop, who suggested it to Dan Thompson, the founder of the Empty Shops Network. With funding from Worthing Regeneration and the support of Worthing Lions, the group are opening the space from Saturday 13th-Saturday 20th February.

There will be an inflatable bumper car circuit, a snowball coconut shy, a blow-up air hockey table, a craft area and a pop-up igloo play corner.

There will also be a programme of activity including a circus skills session in the afternoon on Tuesday 16th, screen-printing workshop all day on Wednesday 17th, and a special collage craft session on Saturday 20th. The Costume Fairy will have a dressing up box full of historic costume for children from Monday to Wednesday. And more arts activity is being planned as well.

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Made In Worthing is success say organisers

 A  four-day festival which saw world premieres of new music, readings of new plays, new pieces of public art and artists and writers making new work has been hailed a success by organisers.

Made In Worthing presented a packed programme between 17th-20th September, which included a piece of experimental classical music composed in a day, and a world premiere of a composition by Howard Jones. There was a first public reading of a play called 'Talk' by Mark Wilson, a rehearsed reading for a new production of 'Leaves' by Lucy Caldwell, and a dozen poets wrote work for the festival. While exhibitions included new photography, assemblage and textile arts, there was also the unveiling of a sculpted tree at a children's nursery and a piece of temporary public art in the form of an 'inflationary sculpture' by artist Ivan Pope was installed on Worthing seafront.

The festival also included Pier Day, from which Made In Worthing gave away hundreds of postcards designed by artist Michelle Dawson– and organisers have posted them across the UK, and to countries including Japan, America,  Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

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Two world premieres for Made In Worthing

Clouds over Worthing are set to inspire some cutting-edge music  in a day run by Revolutionary Music and national organisation Contemporary Music-making for Amateurs.

Popularly known as CoMA, the new music organisation has teamed up with the music wing of the Sussex-based Revolutionary Arts Group to run a day long workshop, ending in a concert. Musicians and singers will take their inspiration from the clouds over Worthing, as part of the new festival Made In Worthing.

Leading the workshop will be the director of CoMA's Sussex ensemble, Adam Swayne, who teaches at Chichester University, the Junior Royal Academy of Music and Lancing College. He will be joined by professional composer Patrick Harrex, co-founder of Brighton's Soundwaves Festival and composer-in-residence at Worthing High School.

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Arts festival organisers say 'Do It Yourself' at conference

As if one new arts festival wasn’t enough, the organisers of the Made In Worthing festival are helping others set up their own festivals in 2010.

Artistic director Dan Thompson (pictured) will lead a ‘pocket conference’ which will look at why festivals are important for the community, how to set up an event, finding funding, getting publicity and practical matters like using empty shops as venues.

As well as being useful for people considering setting up a new event, the day will be good for those organising an existing event who want to add the ‘wow’ factor, find more partners for their work, or do more for their budget.

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New festival is all Made In Worthing

Edgy theatre, unexpected art, cutting-edge craft and experimental classical music are all included in Made In Worthing, a new festival which aims to show a different side to the town.

The new festival was conceived by the Revolutionary Arts Group’s Dan Thompson, to showcase the experimental and contemporary work other local arts festivals were missing. He brought local theatre impresario and festival director Glenda Harkess on board, and they have spent a year planning a programme. It ranges from a lecture titled ‘Who Wrote Shakespeare’ to a ‘Makers Marketplace’, and from a play by Mark Ravenhill with an adults-only rule to a ‘Children’s Gallery’ at Reflections Nursery.

Other highlights include ‘The Sound of Clouds’ a day-long music workshop during which musicians will compose a new piece of music and stage its world premiere performance. ‘Talk’ by Mark Wilson will launch a year-long project aiming to end discrimination around mental health. And at the ‘Do It Yourself Pocket Conference’, people will be encouraged to set up their own arts festivals in the town.

As well a the announced programme, organisers are planning a series of what they describe as ‘interventions’ around the town, including temporary public art at Splash Point, giving away free artwork, and ‘pop-up poets’ who will perform unannounced sets in local cafes.
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Creative Networking

Once a month, Sparks fly when creative people from across Sussex come together at the Pestle & Mortar deli in Worthing.

Since 2001, the Revolutionary Arts Group have held regular networking events for artists, makers and creative people. The friendly and informal sessions called Spark see creative people, from artists to actors and makers to musicians, come together to talk, find out about opportunities to work and exhibit, and find support and advice. Some bring their portfolio to discuss.

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Festivals Bring Art & Film Together

Two of Worthing's festivals have announced an exciting series of collaborations, aiming to bring together a diverse range of artists, writers and film-makers.

The End of the Pier International Film Festival this week launches a series of projects with new arts festival Made In Worthing.

The international film festival relocated to Worthing this year, after five years in Bognor Regis. Made In Worthing is produced by the Revolutionary Arts Group. The artist-led organisation have previously run the Artists & Makers Festival, which included Worthing's popular open house trail, but have canceled that event to concentrate on the new festival.