Southampton’s cultural organisations pull together on the city’s road to recovery

GO! Southampton and the city’s cultural organisations have come together to play a key role in Southampton’s road to recovery following lockdown over the past weeks and months.

With many of the city’s cultural organisations and artists unable to open, perform or practice, it has been an opportunity to work together to recover the city safely and to promote creative talents through alternative platforms.

Southampton’s cultural arts organisations have launched a new platform delivered by GO! Southampton, the city’s Business Improvement District, aptly named Southampton from your SOfa. Hosted on the Visit Southampton website, the space is rich in activities and content for the local community during the lockdown period and beyond and is designed to be a one-stop space for city-wide arts content.

The masthead of the page is itself a work of art. The Southampton from your SOfa group ran a mini competition for local artists, selecting Guy Stauber, Svetlana Ochk and Alice and Oli Knowles to give a visual interpretation of Southampton’s culture.

The initiative is supported by Southampton’s broadband partner toob, who have invested £50million into an all new full-fibre network in the city.  Nick Parbutt, CEO of toob, said: “The lockdown has been and continues to be particularly impactful on artists, performers and venues. Initiatives such as Southampton from your SOfa demonstrates a highly innovative approach by the arts community to reinvigorate the sector.”

“At toob we are delighted to be able to support initiatives like this and the broader recovery by continuing to invest in our full-fibre network across the city. We hope all parts of the community can utilise the improved connectivity we provide to innovate and thrive.”

Southampton’s local artists have also played a key role in the safe re-opening of the city and its economy. Recently, GO! Southampton and Southampton City Council worked closely with local muralist and illustrator Nathan Evans to design street vinyls and supporting materials for the Be Smart, Stay Apart campaign which was a key component in providing guidance and reassurance to the public in the city centre and selected district centres.

Guy Stauber and writers from Artful Scribe have also assisted the BID and the council in the creative development behind the Southampton Inside Out initiative, a scheme which aims to support the hospitality sector by increasing opportunities for outdoor dining. 

Giles Semper, Executive Director GO! Southampton said “We are proud of Southampton’s rich cultural offer and the positive economic impact it brings – it was agony to see venues closing in March and talented staff put on to furlough, especially the impact this would have on our talented working artists and performers.  

“Looking forward to our UK City of Culture 2025 bid it has been fantastic to see how the cultural organisations have been willing to work together for the greater good of the city and to keep the light of creativity burning. We hope that Southampton from your SOfa is a cornerstone for future collaboration and co-working.”

Visitsouthampton.co.uk is the official destination website for visitors and residents alike. The website is managed by GO! Southampton, in partnership with Southampton City Council. For more information, please visit www.visitsouthampton.co.uk/SouthamptonFromYourSOfa