Creative film project breaks down age barriers

The bombing of the Grand Hotel, Brighton in 1984 still runs deep in the lives of people who lived through it but what of the young people who have only seen it in pictures? Sussex based charities Impact Initiatives and Photoworks are collaborating with St John’s Centre and BHASVIC students to create a film about the city, its history, identity and the community that lived here over the last 30 years.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words but what is a picture without the words of those who experienced it to make sense of the whole story? The collaborative project, titled ‘City Collectives’ has worked with intergenerational groups of young people and older people to make a short film about community, conflict, growth and change in Brighton and Hove. 20150423_CityCollectives22

‘City Collectives’ was made by running workshops at St John’s Centre and café which open seven days a week to provide community based groups with trips, activities and social opportunities for people 50 plus. The aim of the centre, run by Impact Initiatives, is to improve wellbeing and help people learn new skills and enjoy good food and company.

20150423_CityCollectives53The film takes a famous photograph of hotel staff lining the Victorian balconies, shot the day after the 1984 bombing of the Grand Hotel, as its starting point for the stories. The final piece has taken ideas and input from all the participants of each age group to create a group portrait of city residents’ shifting thoughts and their feelings about conflict, both personal and political.
The response from all the participants young and old was overwhelmingly positive. Mary, 50 years old, said that she’d really enjoyed the opportunity and it had been quite emotional. Josh, 74, said that being part of the project had given him “freedom to talk about himself” while Tony, 77, found it emotional as they had “focused on issues from the past”.
Lin Hastings, Team Leader at St John’s Centre, said,
“We were delighted to be invited, once again, to work with Photoworks, this time on an intergenerational creative film making project.
“Those who took part from the St John`s Centre and Café, found it both emotive and rewarding to be able to share their personal memories of Brighton.”

The film will be presented as an installation in a gallery at Regency Town House as part of Brighton Festival in May, it is one of three projects with Impact Initiatives and House Festival 2015. The project has been a collaboration between many organisations across the city to engage Brighton residents young and old. To find out more, please visit


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