Hastings and nearby St. Leonards-on-Sea is a large seaside town on the south coast with around 92,000 residents. It’s a place rich in culture and art and has some lovely beaches with excellent woodland and country walks nearby. Its history is shaped partly by its relationship to the sea, but also by its distance (71 miles) from London. Known worldwide for its rich history of the Norman Conquest, Hastings’ heritage and unique culture engenders local pride. From traditional events like the Jack in the Green, Hastings Bonfire to Hastings Contemporary (formerly the Jerwood Gallery) and a thriving music scene.
Hastings’ story is one of a cycle of reinvention. Once a popular Victorian seaside resort, the town declined in the 1970s prompted by the rise of cheap package holidays. Today, Hastings is experiencing a resurgence in its visitor economy. A new generation of entrepreneurs, investors and cultural institutions are creating new opportunities for residents. New industries are replacing the old; technology is reconnecting our marginalised communities, whilst the mix of natural landscapes and urban-on-sea makes Hastings a stimulating place to live, work and visit.
Culture is playing an increasingly important role in the regeneration of Hastings and is positively impacting the lives of communities and the economy.
The area’s reputation as a cultural centre continues to strengthen with flagship projects such as the RIBA award-winning Pier, Hastings Contemporary (formerly Jerwood Gallery) and iconic De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, stimulating new cultural economic activity.
The Coastal Currents Festival in Hastings and St Leonards is the annual month-long visual arts celebration featuring an incredible list of internationally acclaimed artists and curators as well as new commissions, one-off evening events and the ever-popular open studios.
Edgy and alluring, many artists, writers and musicians continue to be drawn here by the light, the air, the food, the music, its atmospheric narrow streets and its radicalism, each adding another layer to its rich cultural roots.
Hastings and Rother have earnt the title of UK's newest 'Music City' with the highlight of the annual Music Month festival, Fat Tuesday, being voted the 12th Best Mardi Gras event in the world by The Telegraph.
Local leadership and strong, progressive partnerships at both the local and regional level have been vital in developing a shared vision for the future.
The innovation charity Nesta, named Hastings a creative hotspot with a high percentage of firms and potential for further growth in this sector. The creative community is a hotbed of creative talent and networked in ways usually only seen in larger cities.
Hastings occupies a unique position on the Creative Coast stretching from Margate to Brighton, via Bexhill and Eastbourne, with Hastings at its epicentre.
Not only is it a place where people find inspiration and retreat, it is a place where radical ideas, challenging creative output and alternative lifestyles form part of the Hastings vibe.
An estimated 1000+ creative businesses and freelance professionals working in design, illustration, digital, tech, TV/media production and post production, are living or working in Hastings and St. Leonards-on-Sea.
The Town has one of the most thriving manufacturing bases in the South East with innovative industrial businesses in aerospace, defence, precision optics and hi-tech electronics. The manufacturing industry makes up 14 per cent of GVA (gross value added). It is not well known that Hastings is home to a specialist and world-renowned ultra-high vacuum/photonics and optics cluster - Tec66.
East Sussex College Hastings deliver a broad range of programmes across all levels of education for young people and adults: A-levels, Certificates and Diplomas at Levels 1, 2 & 3, HND’s and BA (Hons) Degrees, validated by the University of Brighton. The College is renowned across the UK’s higher education sector for the calibre of its foundation training and lively and dynamic experimental approach to teaching creative subjects.
Students and academic staff contribute to the unique culture and strong sense of community at East Sussex College Hastings and make a vibrant contribution to the digital and creative industries both locally and on a national and international level.
The College has adapted apprenticeship courses for young engineering talent to obtain some of the skills necessary to progress to a cutting-edge technology career. The college works closely with Sussex Skills Solutions to help match apprentices with fantastic employers.