Skip to main content

Our Town

During 2022, Artswork worked in collaboration with the BID (Business Improvement district) in Bognor and with 2 schools and a youth club in the area to conduct a creative enquiry about the future of Bognor town centre through creative practice.

The project was driven by the shared belief that harnessing young people’s visions for how their towns can work empowers both them and their local communities to be better connected, feel greater pride of place and for towns to work more effectively for everyone.

Working with students from our partner Felpham Community College to assess applications across a range of art forms, photography-based artist Lewis was appointed to work with the young people.


The project in September launched with a family arts day on the newly regenerated Place St Maur, where in collaboration with the Regis Centre we presented family friendly dance performances by and with young people, drop in creative workshops and street arts.

Over the coming term, Lewis ran a deeply engaged series of workshops in partnership with the Arts Department at Felpham Community College; in a bespoke after-school club at Edward Bryant Primary and at the Sussex Clubs for Young People youth sessions at the 39 Club. 

Over an intense half term of collaboration, he ran nearly 40 sessions with 37 young people exploring their town through creative camera skills. Together they produced a week long exhibition hosted at the BID’s Pop! space in the October half term break.

You can see some of the incredible work they produced here:

The artist writes: ‘Our Town was, is and will forever be a journey. Its passengers have different destinations but its direction is singular: to re-envisage Bognor for the future, not just a decade from now but several generations beyond…..With basic camera handling skills, the Bognor young people visually dissected their environs. In great detail, they enquired at the spaces immediately in front of them. They began to realise that how they see their place, their hometown, and the atmospheres and ambiance that complete it, is completely unlike how anybody else sees exactly the same material world. Reflecting this realisation in the photographs, viewers may realise and learn how certain youth feel and what they think about their environment.’

Read more about the project and its photographic outcomes here

You can get a sense of the project in this short video produced to capture its impact:

Here are the thoughts of some of the young people who took part in the project:



I visualised a building which linked to the photography part of the workshops, it was hard to make. I think it really looks like a camera and the link to the project is good. I learnt so much from Lewis about how to take a really good photograph and I wanted the building to show this.


I really enjoyed the project as I loved thinking about how to see the world from a different perspective and appreciate art and beauty residing in architecture.


I loved making different shaped buildings with oddly shaped boxes and then finding loads of photos of us having fun in the town to stick on the buildings. I liked the concept that anything can be art and you just need to use your imagination.


I liked thinking about how we could make the town really new and exciting with extraordinary buildings. I was inspired to create the shapes from some of the photos we had taken in school of some of the angles of the buildings. I wanted to make them look impossible and exciting.


I really liked talking to Lewis about his work and this made me think about how I could make a building that would be more like a city building like where he came from, I think I did okay, but it was hard to build it exactly how I had imagined it.


I wanted to connect the idea of the music and photos session to the building I made, I tried to create a building that could be a music venue or an art space for people to go and be more creative in. I think it looked amazing when it was covered in the lights and the whole exhibition was up, it looked like an amazing miniature town and if that was how Bognor really looked it would be cool.


I loved that the project made us think about capturing Bognor in a different light, I felt like our buildings really did that. The designs we added to the pier made it look much more exciting and although it is still an old fashioned thing we updated it and made it look amazing. I would like to be able to show people that photography can be anything you want and that you can change it into anything you want to.


I took ages making my building look perfect and to get the outside as smooth as a wanted, I wanted it to look like it could really exist, it was really great when it had the little light shining inside it.


My favourite part was making the 'future' buildings, I made mine look like a magical tower like in a fairy tale. i thought that this would be really unusual in the town centre and would really stand out. I really enjoyed the team work part of the buildings, we all worked together in the gallery to get it looking good and this is not something i usually enjoy so it was good to get out of my comfort zone.


I like the idea that the building could tell a story of how the new and the old Bognor had met, because they were fantastic and silly structures but they were covered on the outside with the old Bognor photos.


The project made me feel more connected to Bognor, it made me feel that every cracked window or misplaced brick could tell a story. I think the building i made was amazing as it was like Butlin’s but a really different version, i think that Butlin’s has a big place in Bognor and it was good to include it but also to think about its future.


My Favourite part of this project was learning to look at the world in a different light. I've never at an object in the same way since. I really enjoyed building the structures especially the pier which i was put in charge of, I felt that we had to really think about how it was going to stand up and be stable but also be beautiful and creative, it looked amazing with all the lights and the exhibition made the whole project feel really special and made me feel so proud of what we had all achieved.

This project was also supported by the artist Dayani and arts practitioner Liz Moon.

Lewis: is an established photography artist who has been running workshops since 2006. He has worked in settings including Warwickshire Arts on Referral, Buckinghamshire Culture, Peshkar Oldham, Settle Festival, Stockport Library and various schools and colleges.
Insta: /photographybylewis

Dayani: is an artist and designer experienced delivering community creative projects in the UK and internationally.

Liz Moon: trained in Arts Development & Teaching, and Embroidery and has run workshops in schools and for the past 11 years a stitch/ textile based group for young people. She is a member of Coastal Threads, an adult stitch group, previously the Embroiderer’s Guild, based in Goring and enjoys working with friends on individual and group projects.


Huge thanks also to our partners:

Bognor Regis BID, Arun District Council, Felpham Community College, Sussex Clubs for Young People and Edward Bryant Primary & all the young people who took part.


     Arun District Council logo featuring a seagull and wave graphic    


Sign up to our newsletter

Receive the latest News & Events straight to your inbox

Recieve the lastest News & Events straight to your inbox

Opt into another list