What will the expansion of Worthing’s creative and digital hub look like? The plans for developing Colonnade House are now publicly available on the council’s website, and open for comment.

The new building will be connected to the town’s ultrafast gigabit network, including the roll-out of Citizen Wi-Fi and will be a home for creative and digital tech companies in the future, building on the creative community that already works here.

While these plans have been taking shape, we have been looking ahead to how Colonnade House can expand its role as a creative and digital hub. As well as the innovative use of these technologies we know that people need help with digital skills – as we’ve all experienced in this past year when we have had to make the sudden switch to living our lives online. 

Last year the Space to Make project brought opportunities to try laser cutting, 3D printing and coding, and early this year –  despite lockdown restrictions – we have been helping people get started with Instagram and Shopify, and shared tips and tricks to get the best out of your camera phone. Staff members Richard and Joe created introductory  ‘How to…’ films, followed up with 1-to-1 support. We had some great feedback and hope to do more in the future.

Thoroughly enjoyed the session. Richard and Joe offered lots of practical tips and tricks which we have already started to implement….To be able to discuss, in person – virtually – the benefits of Shopify and how to improve our use of Instagram and have practical outcomes was really helpful and inspiring – currently those impromptu chats in a cafe or in the street don’t happen so being able to bounce ideas around with others, face to face, in the current climate made this session even more valuable.’

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We also offered sessions tailored especially for the needs of artists using digital tech. Our partners for the Space to Make project were Tech Resort, a CIC based in Eastbourne and they partnered with us again to offer Digital Triage sessions – basically a chance to ask them anything and pick their hugely knowledgeable brains! 

‘..it was a very informative session and helped with the queries that I had….Liz was very friendly and informative. It was very comfortable as it wasn’t over geeky which was reassuring… I would definitely attend another session. Liz’s follow-up notes were thorough and excellent reference.’

Artist comments

Finally, last week we were also able to offer an in-person session to one of our tenants who wanted to use the laser cutter. We had planned more of these sessions in January, but they were postponed due to lockdown. We hope to bring them back later this year – but if you need to use a laser cutter or a 3D printer for a project, get in touch, and we’ll see what we can do!

If you are looking for ways to develop your digital skills here are some useful links:

✔️ Free online learning courses from Learn My Way online and locally via One Stop Junction

✔️ Free digital marketing courses from Google Digital Garage

✔️ Information and inspiration from around the country in the Digital Inclusion Toolkit 

✔️ Help and advice tailored to the arts and cultural sector in the Digital Culture Network