To increase security, speed and for a better experience when using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser

Suggested Searches
    0 Results Found
    See all results

    Buy or Rent

    Buy or Rent

    Residential or Commercial
    Buy or Rent
    Search all homes



    Get on the list

    Get on the list

    Get the latest news on property development, placemaking, architecture, careers, new homes and workspaces straight into your inbox.

    US30 - Guest blog by Hannah Harris and Francesca Hawkesworth

    US30 - 30 years of adventures in urban art and creativity

    17 August 2023
    A 6 minute read by Hannah Harris and Francesca Hawkesworth

    Over the past 30 years we’ve worked with creative visionaries across the country, each of them playing a pivotal role in infusing life into our Urban Splash neighbourhoods. From the cow parade sculptors in Manchester to Benjamin Verdonck taking residence in a bird's nest at Birmingham's Rotunda, to the graffiti installations of Park Hill, each exemplifies the profound impact of artistic expression on our urban landscapes.

    In this article – the latest in our US30 series – we meet two artists from Plymouth – a place in which we have forged relationships with artists and cultural institutions to celebrate the unique arts scene.

    Hannah Harris - CEO of Plymouth Culture

    Hannah Harris is CEO of Plymouth Culture, a strategic development organisation that exists to support and enable the growth of culture across the city.

    Plymouth’s burgeoning artistic community never ceases to amaze me. We’re surrounded by talented painters, sculptors, photographers, and other visual artists, each using the city’s heritage and natural elements as their inspiration, while fusing it with their own creative style.

    Plymouth Culture is an organisation that exists to enable that community, helping them flourish and finding partners who can further promote their work – including Urban Splash.

    I’ve long been aware of the company and the work they’ve done at Royal William Yard over the years, so it made sense to collaborate when the opportunity arose through the High Street Heritage Action Zone in 2022.

    Civic Centre in Plymouth

    We were tasked with installing a striking piece of art at the Civic Centre; this mid-century building will undergo a transformation by Urban Splash, and our install would breathe the lightness back into a city space – we saw the building as a metaphor for revitalising the city and a beacon for a new chapter.

    The first installation ran in January 2023, a striking Barbie-pink light installation inspired by Creative Concern and created by JHAV Ltd, spelling out the words ‘what will you make of it’ – a challenge to the people of Plymouth to think towards the future.

    Light installation as part of British Art show 9 at the Civic Centre

    The install was one of many thought-provoking art installations around the city at that time as part of British Art Show 9 – designed to ignite conversation. It had so many layers, not least forming part of our 10-year culture plan for the city to make art more accessible. Installs like this allow everyone to consume art – not just those who can afford to buy exhibition tickets and cross thresholds into galleries.

    Urban Splash has proven over its 30 years that it understands and empathises with those in the arts scene. They understand the impact of architecture on our daily lives, and we have a shared consensus when it comes to the role of buildings. We each want them to cross our radar each day, make us smile or, as was the case with the Civic install, provoke conversation.

    We’ll be partnering again in the autumn to light up Plymouth and I can’t wait to shout about our shared plans; watch this space for the details.

    Francesca Hawkesworth

    Francesca Hawkesworth is the Programme & Exhibitions Lead for Real Ideas at Ocean Studios, a social enterprise and Plymouth’s largest artist studio complex providing affordable studios and workshop facilities for makers to develop their practices in the heart of the Royal William Yard.

    Urban Splash has created something quite special at Royal William Yard. Once a rundown collection of former Naval buildings, it is now a thriving community and a place that’s helping us retain Plymouth’s best creative talent.

    Creators have always gravitated to bigger, more-established global cities, but a facility like Ocean Studios helps to buck the trend, offering new workspaces and studios that can rival international alternatives.

    Royal William Yard in Plymouth

    With the support of Urban Splash, we can host creators of all disciplines; painters, visual artists, ceramicists, jewellers, print makers, we give them a space to develop their practice, no matter the stage of their journey – be they well-established or just starting out. We host workshops and exhibitions; we offer coaching and development, and crucially we connect our artists with the uniquely supportive community that is Royal William Yard.

    The Yard offers us so much and our artists are captivated by the inspirational canvas here – be that massive open spaces, amazing architecture, beautiful historic features, or heritage, it’s the perfect environment in which to test an installation.

    Cafe at Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard in Plymouth

    Artists are inspired by the interplay of light, the surrounding ambiance, and the sheer joy of sketching the Yard's unique backdrop. We have a deep fondness for the raw authenticity and texture that define this venerable space; it’s not a pristine white cube, it’s 200 years of rich tapestry. Urban Splash grasped that heritage, fused new architectural ideas, and brought it back to life; fast forward to today and our own artists are doing that through their own crafts.

    And now, we want to give more people access to the space through family experiences, mindfulness creativity workshops, and other events and initiatives that make art more accessible. While we’re incredibly proud of our artists exhibiting internationally, we equally celebrate those experiencing their first art moments here.

    Ocean Studios at Royal William Yard in Plymoith

    It's a sad reality that arts education and opportunities has been diluted in recent years and it’s our mission to promote the opportunities available to people in and around Plymouth. We want to stay at the forefront of trends and how things are working; we’re fortunate enough to have other bases in Plymouth such as our 360 immersive dome at Market Hall in Devonport; collaborating at both venues gives our Ocean Studios artists another place to platform their work.

    We’ll continue to celebrate the region’s best creative talent, with the Yard as the perfect starting point. It’s exciting to be here working with Urban Splash; united by shared values and an unwavering dedication to the arts, we will work together to amplify the profound influence of artists in Plymouth and beyond.

    Urban Splash Newsplash

    Want to be kept in the loop about all things Urban Splash as we celebrate 30 years in business? Then sign up for Newsplash!

    Our monthly news round-up with the latest and freshest news on property development, place-making, housing, architecture, events and careers sent straight to your inbox.

    Looking for something else?