We are now taking bookings for Hastings' Creative Spring

Are you aged 14 to 18, into digital media, and want something interesting to do at February half term? Hastings’ Creative Spring is a great chance to learn about creative media. It’s a five-day programme taking place from 18th to 22nd February. Hastings' Creative Spring is all about digital skills, new opportunities in the fast-growing creative industries, and having fun.

Try digging out fascinating stories and data about our town decades ago in Unpacking the Past or write about it in Ghosthunting. Why not create animated sequences to make a visual story in Stop Frame Animation or build a soundscape to accompany visuals in Audio Camp? Get in the picture at Documentary Photography or turn your visuals and stories into an experience on mobile phones at Coding History on the Streets.

Workshops take place in Rock House on Cambridge Road and Hastings Library on Claremont in the America Ground, Hastings town centre.

Some sessions are half-day (either 10am to 1pm or 2pm to 5pm), others are a full day (10am to 3pm) and some over two days (10am to 3pm on both days). Documentary Photography, is a two day event. Participants on this session will be documenting the work on other sessions so look at this carefully. If you are 16+ we also have a special opportunity for an aspiring professional photographer. Look for “Apprentice Wanted”.

You can book multiple sessions but as numbers are limited, we may have to prioritise between applications. If you want to do one of the two-day sessions, you have to commit to do both days. On full-day sessions you need to bring a packed lunch. If there is a clash between your choices, give us your preferences.

There will be a small charge of £3 for each half-day session, £5 for a full-day session or £8 for a two-day session to be paid in advance.  Documentary Photography will be charged as a two-day session.

Concessions are available and if you live in the one of the Big Local Area postcodes you can get additional help. Make sure you tell us and include your full postcode.

Want to sign up for places? Read about the workshops below, then click the big blue 'sign up' link at the end of this page. See you soon!

Any questions? t: +44 (0)1424 234 000 e: spring@creativeslam.co.uk 

This Spring's Programme

Documentary Photography

A man in sunglasses sits on a bench on the pier with his hands resting on his lap

Photo by Evie. © the artist & MSL Discover.

Tue 19th - Thursday 21nd February

1pm to 5pm


With John Cole

Ground Floor, Rock House

Three sessions over three days

Hastings photographer John Cole is a master of 'documentary photography.' His three day workshop for Hastings Creative Spring will be packed with projects, tasks and challenges, including making a record of the Creative Spring programme. There will be a street portrait project, and maybe an exploration of caves in the America Ground to make pictures involving ghosts!
John Cole's workshops during Hastings Creative Summer in 2018 were a highlight of the programme and some attendees used the sessions to develop their photo portfolio for college. This spring there will be a chance to dig deeper and create high quality work which might help attendees go further with their photographic ambitions.
John is an acclaimed photographer who has undertaken assignments for major news corporations, has documented the life of the Hastings fishing community and is a collaborator on From Wembley to Soweto, bringing photography to disadvantaged young people across the world.

Photographer’s Apprentice Wanted


- Are you interested in an assignment as an apprentice to John Cole, a leading photographer?

- Are you available between Monday 25 February and Saturday 2 March?

- Are you over 16, very keen to learn and willing to work hard?


This opportunity is open to someone who has undertaken the Documentary Photography programme with John Cole in either the Summer of 2018 or the Spring of 2019 and is in association with Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.
To apply: drop us an email saying why you might be the person we are looking for.


Any questions?
t: +44 (0)1424 234 000
e: spring@creativeslam.co.uk

Unpacking the Past

Victorian printed frontispiece of a book showing images of a monument with inscriptions on it

Front page from a journal published about the Brassey voyages of The Sunbeam - courtesy of Hastings Museum

Mon 18th February.

10am to 3pm


With Julie Gidlow and Sarah French

Hastings Library - meet at second floor lobby

Whole day session, merged with Ghosthunting with Rosanna Lowe (below)

At Unpacking the Past, you'll get a chance to work with expert researchers Julie Gidlow and Sarah French, who will open up original albums, scrapbooks and journals of the formidable Annie, Lady Brassey. Annie Brassey travelled the world in the 1870s and 80s on a ship called The Sunbeam, visiting exotic places and bringing back many unknown species and other very curious mementos of her travels.
When Annie Brassey arrived back in Hastings, The Sunbeam would moor at the end of Hastings Pier and unpacking the crates of collected objects would sometimes take days and days. After being shown to a fascinated Victorian public, the specimens became the backbone of Hastings Museum collection.
Discover more about Annie Brassey, her exciting life, and the artefacts she brought back to Hastings by handling original documents held in the library archive. You'll then tackle a challenge to create a virtual exhibition about the stories you discover.


shows an engraving of a small black dog making a mess in a ship's cabin

From the collection of Hastings Museum

Monday 18th Feb.

10am to 3pm


With Rosanna Lowe

Hastings Library 2nd Floor

Full Day session - merges with Unpacking the Past (above) in the afternoon

Starting with the adventures and collections of Annie Brassey, find writing inspiration with Rosanna in the Floating Museum of the past and for a Floating Museum of the Future.
Join this story-making session and work with TV writer, Rosanna, to develop ideas and themes which you'll then take through to the afternoon session, Unpacking the Past, working with Julie Gidlow and Sarah French. During the workshops you'll learn how to research original material and then write content for the screen and virtual collections.
Rosanna is an award-winning writer, director and performer. She was a sketch writer for three series of the BAFTA-winning Horrible Histories on CBBC, a co-writer of Brighton: The Graphic Novel, and a co-writer-director of a feature film, London Unplugged. Awards include The Radio 4 Young Sci Fi Writer and The Times Young Travel Writer.

Audio Camp

In a darkened room, young people work on mobiles and a man is seen in the background lit by a screen.

Photo by Jon Pratty. © MSL Discover.

Thur 21 Feb and Frid 22nd Feb.

10am to 3pm


With Kevin Grist

Hastings Library, 2nd Floor

Into digital sound design or music-making? Want to be the next Hans Zimmer? Work with digital audio genius Kevin Grist to make immersive sound-stories, using surround sound, special effects, field recordings and samples of Hastings street sounds.

This two day workshop will be use iPads, music production apps and your smartphone to record. It’s also about unravelling poems and songs about Hastings, and remixing and composing new ones, and Kevin will be mixing in fascinating historical influences like Annie Brassey’s travel journals. An overlay of old and new, taking people on audio journeys around the world and back!

One of the exercises you do on day one might be to create sound tracks for the Digital Animations created in Lee Shearman's workshops. Stories will be inspired by unravelling folk poems and songs about Hastings, remixing and composing new ones. Eg. Sunbeam Waltz, Bob Copper, Keane’s The Iron Sea.

Stop Frame Animation

Four young people cluster around laptops wearing lanyards.

Photo by Jon Pratty. © MSL Discover.

Tue 19th Feb and Wed 20th Feb.

10am to 3pm


With Lee Shearman

Hastings Library, 2nd Floor

Two Days

This stop frame animation workshop is inspired by visual material related to the Victorian traveller and writer Annie Brassey, taking place in Hastings Library.
During the workshop, you'll be introduced to Dragonframe (professional
stop-frame animation software) and shown how to create short 2D animated
sequences using collage, paper, and coloured acetate. You'll then collaborate
to produce animated sequences, inspired by the strange collections of Annie Brassey.
The workshop will be an introduction in the techniques used to create playful,
colourful and multi-layered animated scenes, which can then be exported as movie
files. This workshop is suitable for beginners and materials will be provided.
In addition, as an optional extra, participants will be offered the opportunity to learn
how to create animations on smartphones, using a free animation app. Using
this software app (which is available for both IOS and Android) participants will be
able to continue making their own animations after the sessions.

Coding History on the Street

Looking over the shoulder of a young person, a laptop screen shows a software programme.

Photo by Jon Pratty. © MSL Discover.

Frid 22nd Feb.

10am to 1pm

Jon Nicholson

Rock House, Ground Floor

Half Day Session

Turn fascinating stories and data into a mobile phone experience.
Games design and data expert Jon leads this follow-on activity from our earlier events, Ghost Hunting and Unlocking the Past. If you took part in those, you'll have dug up amazing stories about people from history hidden within the streets around Hastings. At Coding History on the Street, you'll work with Jon to make digital Blue Plaques, re-telling those fascinating stories for mobile visitors to Hastings to find on the streets. The event is a half day activity.

Now you are excited – and there’s plenty to be excited about - you should think about booking up before all the places disappear. Click on the link and fill in the form for each participant - there’s several stages, so please bear with it - it’s all necessary.

Click here to sign up for Hastings Creative Spring

Project Space Rock House

49-51 Cambridge Road, Hastings TN34 1DT.

Go to the top door. Buzz 12+(bell)

Sessions taking place here are:

  • Documentary Photography (Tue, Wed, Thu, 1pm-5pm)
  • Coding History (Fri 2pm-5pm)

Brassey Institute/Hastings Library

13 Claremont, Hastings TN34 1HE
Floor 2, Learning Centre
Library opens at 10am, please come up to the second floor
Sessions taking place here are:
  • Ghosthunting (Mon 10am-3pm) [Ghosthunting and Unpacking the Past are merged events, attendees will experience both sessions]
  • Unpacking the past (Mon 10am-3pm)
  • Stop Frame Animation (Tue & Wed 10am-3pm)
  • Audio Camp (Thu & Fri 10am-3pm)

Hastings’ Creative Spring has been developed by MSL Discover. It is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and delivered in association with Rock House, Hastings Library/East Sussex County Council, Love Hastings, the Big Local and Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.