I have come to arts and community in a very roundabout way, but it all seems to have added value to my role at b-side. I have always worked with people from being a researcher in Parliament to teaching life drawing in Peckham (luckily not Del or Rodney!) and teaching children and adults on Portland and elsewhere. It is all about connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds and encouraging them to have self-belief and try new things. Taking part in the b-side Window Wanderland, Lockdown Artists and then creating a Christmas window with my son encouraged me that anyone can have a go and that art appreciation really is for everyone. My background is more from a social science perspective and I have long been keen for Portland to find a way to gain agency so that things they don't want don't just happen to them.
I trained in site specific performance and later taught as an associate lecturer at Dartington College of Arts before returning to Dorset to work on b-side and my own arts practice. I'm particularly interested in the democracy of places; how and what we share with them as custodians, visitors and hosts. As co-artistic director for b-side I specifically work on social practice projects - supporting artworks created between artists, communities and researchers.
I originally trained in graphic design but have had a varied artistic career, from designing gig posters and indie record sleeves, to devising and illustrating children’s picture books. I now combine my own practice as a visual artist with curatorial work. My interests and influences lie in the areas of archaeology and geology and I specialise in heritage and environmental projects. I was artistic director for Sherborne House Arts developing the gallery programme and outreach projects before joining b-side. I enjoy working in a team and the challenge of working with outdoor and non-arts venues, rather than gallery spaces.
I originally trained as a sculptor. I have worked in the cultural sector in Dorset for over 20 years in galleries, museums and events as a curator and producer. My focus for many years was in gallery education and it’s this interest in communication and engagement that really motivates me.
Hello! I am passionate about sparking connections and new conversations between people, be it through festivals, radio shows, or writing. Prior to joining the wonderful team at b-side, I was the British Council’s Head of Arts East Africa, and subsequently Director of Arts Sub-Saharan Africa.
I co-founded and directed 32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust, a centre for contemporary art in Kampala, Uganda; and KLA ART, Kampala’s biennial public art festival.
I received an MA in Contemporary Art Theory at Edinburgh College of Art and I am currently undertaking a practice-based PhD in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. The PhD is exploring queer abstraction in Kenya and Uganda’s art scenes.
REBECCA DE PELET
Rebecca de Pelet is an educator with over 25 years’ experience in both the state and independent sectors, a former department head, the founder and director of a festival of writing, a TEDx programme curator and a mentor. She is passionate about the importance of the Creative Arts and their power to impact young people's lives in particular: their sense of self; their optimism; and their ability to find fulfilling, worthwhile employment. She owns a hut on Portland Bill and thanks to her neighbours now understands how to get into the sea more safely.
Jennifer is relatively new to Portland arriving with her husband and dogs in 2020. She has worked as a solicitor for more than 20 years and currently leads legal services for Middle East operations of an international healthcare company.
“Having moved to Portland mid-pandemic, I was immediately taken by the unique and like-minded community we have here. It is thrilling to see how people embrace the elements and the arts, always with a healthy dose of eccentricity. I am delighted and honoured to be given the opportunity to join b-side as NED. It is an amazing organisation bringing the arts to our community and beyond.”
Steph has worked as a PR consultant for some of the world's biggest companies, with experience in event management, media and stakeholder relations and crisis communications.
She was brought up in Dorset and that is where she feels most at home, whether it's swimming at Church Ope or walking around Pulpit rock with her dog Oreo.
Paula is an artist and cultural geographer who has been making live events as a co-devisor and director with performers, visual artists and technologists in the UK and internationally since 1996. Her work with artist collective Blind Ditch (http://www.blindditch.org) creates collaborative and unexpected happenings in everyday spaces; often using participatory approaches and digital media to engage publics as thinking citizens and active spectators. Paula was an Associate Lecturer in Theatre at Dartington College of Arts 2001-10, and is currently an ESRC Post Doctoral Fellow in Human Geography at University of Exeter researching relationships between data, trade, place and values.
Nicole Ferdinand’s expertise is in Event Management. Early in her career in her native Trinidad and Tobago, she worked as a trainer to grassroots cultural organizations. Currently, she is a university lecturer and within B-side, her focus is on diversity and accessibility.
Raina is CEO of Agincare and Chair of The Portland Economic Vision Group. "Having been an interested observer, both through enjoying the impressive outcome of b-side work as a member of the public, and in collaborating with the team through my other local work it is a privilege to now take on this role of Chair.
Recognition of the impact of the arts on local communities in respect of belonging, engagement, well-being and critical financial investment is increasing, and this work links in with my professional and personal passion for Portland and its community, as well as my personal love of the arts."
My working life started in theatre stage management but then I decided to swap city life for the countryside and took a year's course in farming, bookkeeping and secretarial skills.
I moved to Dorset in 1981 and was able to bring a lifetime of skills and my interests in the arts together, working in an administrative/accounting role for a number of Dorset-based arts organisations. I have worked for b-side since 2012 and have loved seeing it grow and flourish since its beginnings in 2010.
In my spare time I am also an Environmental Sound Artist, combining my loves of walking, photography and sound to create audio visual projects at my studio, Electric Backroom, in Symondsbury.