The St Leonards Foundary by Colin Priest, Course Leader for BA(Hons) Interior and Spatial Design, was commissioned by Central St Leonards Forum & Community Development Foundation with funding from The National Lottery through Arts Council England’s grants for the arts programme; Hastings and St Leonards Foreshore Charitable Trust, Community First through Central St Leonards Forum and the Community Development Foundation and Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts, London.
The place-specific installation is a new public work inviting the general public to search out and find local ‘lost heritage’ architectural landmarks in and around St Leonards, with The SPACE open to the public for the duration of the installation from Thursday 14th March – Sunday 13th April 2014 on St Johns Road, St Leonards-on-Sea. The publication, St Leonards Foundary has been distributed across the southeast at various galleries and museums encouraging a walking tour legacy beyond the installation period.
The work itself is a composition of encounters to ‘bring communities together’ and ‘enhance the environment’, with a temporary sculpture found at The SPACE, a newspaper publication containing an illustrated essay, including a walking map and ink prints and a public conversation held at St Leonards Parish Church on Saturday 22nd March 2014 with Christine Francis from Burtons’ St Leonards Society.
Priest found ‘one of the many rewarding parts of the work has been the production of a publication with Camberwell Press‘, (with Chris Lacy and Grace Helmer). Funded through the CCW Graduate School Staff Fund, the newspaper contextualises the value of heritage and the role of landmarks in the built environment in the production of places. Designed to resonate with the found local history guides and vintage postcards of St Leonards, the modest scale of the publication graphically waves to a civilized seaside realm.
Through revealing the inter-connectivity of the urban and coastal environment by seeking destroyed, under-threat or hidden architectures in the town, a stronger sense of place has emerged through active social engagement, public participation and conversation. The St Leonards Foundary as a composite experience has become an agent for observing and strengthening the identities of this southeast seaside town.
A digital version of the publication can be found here.