What are the goals of Arts at University of Southampton?
Our main ambition is to communicate and connect the fantastic arts on offer at the University and across Southampton and Winchester to students, staff and the wider community. We believe that arts and culture are for everyone, and we are passionate about reaching as many people as possible and making new experiences easy to discover and enjoy.
It’s important that our diverse range of opportunities is available to all; from hosting leading artists and performers to cultivating student talent at the University.
What is so special about the arts on offer at both the University and in the city?
The University is unique as the only Russell Group University that hosts three Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations (NPO): Turner Sims and John Hansard Gallery, which are both part of the University, and Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST – formerly Nuffield Theatre), who are an independent charity.
We host inspiring artists at all career stages, including over 80 creative industry student societies, immensely talented art and design students at Winchester School of Art, budding writers in the English department and emerging musicians from the Music Department.
As for Southampton, it is home to several mainstream and arthouse cinemas, as well as the Mayflower Theatre which is the largest lyric theatre outside of London. Southampton City Art Gallery holds one of the finest collection of art in the south of England, with over 5,000 works.
Let’s not to forget our rich heritage too; the city boasts a rich maritime history, a story told at SeaCity Museum, and is home to the UK’s largest collection of historical walls.
What do the arts add to the experience of working at the University?
We hope staff are imbued with a sense of pride that the University delivers such diverse programmes of activity filled with international talent and new discoveries.
The University’s venues present incredible work and offer an alternative and easily accessible outlet for staff, their friends and families to gain new experiences, be entertained, socialise and relax. There are also inspiring opportunities to get involved, such as the Southampton Voices Community Choir run by Turner Sims Music Professor Harvey Brough on Wednesday lunchtimes, which is open to everyone.
Even just knowing that the University and the cities are culturally rich and active contributes to a sense of wellbeing and pride when working and living in Southampton and beyond. Experiencing new shows or art forms locally should make us feel good and get us thinking.
What is next for Southampton as a cultural destination, and what we should be looking forward to this year?
It’s a really exciting time for Southampton and Winchester. Specifically, 2018 will see the long-awaited opening of Studio 144, Southampton’s new arts complex in the city centre’s Cultural Quarter.
The University’s John Hansard Gallery will be moving into Studio 144’s South building, providing the Gallery with a new home three times larger than their previous gallery on Highfield Campus, and signalling the University’s presence within the city centre. The Gallery will be joined by community film organisation City Eye, who will offer accessible video production facilities and film programmes. NST are opening their second venue, NST City, in the North building alongside NST Campus at Highfield.
The central location of Studio 144 will open up these art forms to new audiences and offer new opportunities for our staff and students, as well as animate Guildhall Square and the city for years to come.
On 16 February 2018, staff are welcome to ‘Southampton Celebrates’, where NST, John Hansard Gallery and City Eye will open their doors to the public, alongside a public dance performance by local choreographer Zoielogic in Guildhall Square. The John Hansard Gallery will formally open with their first major exhibition in May 2018.
It’s impossible to name everything, so we recommend following our social media channels and signing up to our mailing list to find out more.
What are your favourite Southampton arts venues or upcoming events that staff should look out for?
Jamie: For me, it would have to be Turner Sims: it’s just one of the most incredible spaces to experience live music. The combination of the phenomenal acoustic (developed in partnership with the University’s own Institute for Sound and Vibration Research) with the intimate nature of the stage and proximity to the artists makes it a unique experience in Southampton. The interval ice cream is particularly good too!
Louise: I’m excited about seeing the contemporary art programme in the new John Hansard Gallery, experience incredible theatre at NST City and Campus and get an opportunity develop my editing skills at City Eye when Studio 144 opens in 2018.
Cameron: My favourite venue is probably The Annex Theatre, which is where the Performing Arts societies perform all of their shows. It’s a simple venue with its regular daytime use as a lecture theatre, but it’s one of the best and most intimate places at the University to see student talent, and some of the technical feats they are capable of achieving in the space are astonishing.
Elspeth: One of my favourite arts events which take place in the city is definitely the contemporary poetry series Entropics, which is supported by the English Department. The series hosts some amazing writers and artists, and the evenings are always interesting, relaxed and sociable!
Find out more
To find out more about Arts at University of Southampton, and to hear about all of the upcoming events, visit their website, sign up to their mailing list via Facebook, or follow them on Twitter at @ArtsUniSouth.
Southampton Celebrates is a free event for all to celebrate Studio 144, Southampton’s new arts complex on Friday 16 February, 6:30-9:00 in Guildhall Square, with events and activities running from 17-23 February 2018.
Southampton Connects Staff has teamed up with Turner Sims and Nuffield Southampton Theatres to give three of you the chance to win a pair of tickets to some of this year’s biggest shows.
2 x tickets for The Guns of Loos at Turner Sims (11 February 2018)*
2 x tickets for 1918 At Home, At War at Turner Sims (22 February 2018)
2 x tickets for A Streetcar Named Desire at NST City (23 March–6 June 2018)
How to enter
To win a pair of tickets, all you have to do is answer the following question:
Q. How many National Portfolio Organisations (NPO) does the University of Southampton host?
Email your answer, along with your full name, to firstname.lastname@example.org by 17:00 on Tuesday 6 February. Winners will be contacted by 17:00 on Wednesday 7 February.
*Please note the timely nature of the performance of The Guns of Loos; winners of these tickets will need to collect their prize by the deadline stated in their email in time for the performance on Sunday 11 February.
Winners will be emailed about their prizes, including the deadline for collecting tickets. If this deadline is missed, a substitute winner will be picked. Winners must be able to collect their prize from the venue.