The Folkestone Triennial (FT) and culture led regeneration

Generating Space and Regeneration

The FT will become key producer of cultural space for Folkestone. FT acts from within the place, aiming for site and context specific art projects that enrich the existing one. Therefore it is extremely interesting to analyse and state what FT as a socio-spatial structure and event means in relation to the ongoing regeneration of Folkestone.

The FT is not at all the traditional sculpture trail. Instead it follows a very sophisticated curatorial understanding of what sculpture today might mean and how it acts site-specifically. Projects will vary in medium, scale, intention and meaning, and reflect a current status of art making that can be anything from pure process to ready made.

Each artistic proposal will be embedded in a spatial and social network to do with Folkestone, whether this happens through research, production, participation or the actual installation on site. Each art project will have its own route and space and become part of a growing cultural space.
FTS not only generates space for artists to develop and produce, it also generates space for exchange between the town and the visiting artists, it will generate space for cooperation and collaboration and create a new public space for visitors to the exhibition.
How does the ambition and intention of FT relate to a culturally lead regeneration? How do the art commissions sit next to creative industry initiatives? How to differentiate between creative industries and a critical art practice, without reproducing stereotypes of High and Low art, but maybe differentiating in regards to intention and outcome?

Artists from all over the world are invited to produce new work for the FT, and link back to a history of artist visitors to Folkestone, like Marcel Duchamp, who will be the focal point of Jeremy Millar’s exhibition at the Metropole Gallery this autumn. Are artists seen as interesting visitors to raise the attraction and cultural credibility of the place, or can they be understood as (co-) producers of cultural life and space?

Is the FT meant to be educational and recreational, or can it be more political by stating the art projects as “alternative” approaches and appropriations of issues that are relevant to the regeneration process, such as dealing with history, immigration, master-planning, civic participation, etc.

On the one hand its safe for the art to stay within the field of education and recreation, and to act out its preconceived role as a creative and challenging profession, which means to remain in its autonomous status and avoid the danger of getting functionalised. However, the FT is functionalised in a very positive and constructive way within Folkestone’s Regeneration. The FT will e.g. link the town to a wider national and international network, help raising the cultural profile, attract visitors and leave permanent projects in the town.
“ To work alongside and support the regeneration of the town” is stated clearly in the FT Artists’ Brief. The culturally led regeneration plans for Folkestone are ambitious. The aim is not to duplicate other models but to create a new prototype for cultural regeneration.

Due to of the fact that FT is already an integral part of the regeneration, we suggest a
(re?)positioning of the FT, from being the producer of a cultural event within the regeneration plans, to become a propositional and analytical tool for innovative cultural and urban planning and implementation.

a public works project. site design and build by dorian