Arts Council England
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Centre of Excellence for urban & Electronic music in Worthing moves a step closer

Sussex-based music charity, AudioActive, has taken a big step towards its exciting vision to establish the UK’s first centre for excellence for the talent development of marginalised and under-represented artists in Worthing, thanks to £92,618 National Lottery funding through Arts Council England.

Audio Active. Photo Delaney Brooks.

Adam Joolia, CEO of AudioActive, said: “We’re ecstatic at Arts Council England’s decision to support this incredibly important work for young people and UK music development. Many of our most promising creative young minds feel like square pegs in round holes in our education system. The qualities that make them such unique, promising artists and who aren’t afraid to challenge convention or take risks, can often make them hard to nurture within formal institutions. 

“We’ve been working on a way to support these awe inspiring young people for a long time. This support from the Arts Council means we can now push on with our ‘Square Holes’ programme, which aims to level the playing field for such young people and emerging artists.”

Square Holes

Square Holes will include a host of R&D and pilot projects in Worthing, laying the foundations for the Centre of Excellence including: an emerging artist development pilot programme; establishing weekly grass-roots drop-in workshops in underserved communities; researching and identifying suitable premises for the Centre of Excellence; a series of professional gigs aiming to kick-start a contemporary urban and electronic music scene in the town and provide platforms for local emerging artists to perform on the same stage as internationally successful artists.

A group of young people are stood around a desk. One of the girls is holding a mic.

Audio Active. Photo Delaney Brooks.

The first of these events will be co-presented with triple Brit Award winner Rag’n’Bone Man, who is a Patron of the charity.

Rag’n’Bone Man said: “AudioActive do amazing work and I’m proud to be part of this project in Worthing. At school I was never told by a teacher that I could ever have a career in music. Square Holes is important because it will bring hope for loads of kids who are just like I was.”

Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “We’ve long said that creativity is everywhere, we just need to ensure that talented people, particularly young people, have the opportunity to realise their creative ambitions. Square Holes aims do just that, and so we’re really pleased to support it thanks to National Lottery funding. We’re excited by the opportunities that it could create for talented young artists in and around Worthing and it is great to see Worthing developing as a creative centre.”


Square Holes will build on the work of #ScratchPad an Arts Council funded project that put the spotlight on young people making music in Worthing. It brought together the wider music sector in the town with funders, policy makers and media to explore where to go next for the future of the growing contemporary music scene in the town which with the addition of this recent development looks bright. The project was initiated by Colonade House and run in partnership with AudioActive and Greater Brighton Metropolitan College.

Project Grants

The Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants is the Arts Council’s new (2018) open access programme for arts, museums and libraries projects, funded by the National Lottery. It will support thousands of individual artists, community and cultural organisations. For more information visit:


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