Nick Ewbank Associates
is an innovative consultancy firm specialising in sustainable urban regeneration through culture, learning and social cohesion.
We adopt a pro-active, hands-on approach to our projects; we're not interested in producing reports that sit gathering dust on the shelf. We look to build consensus and partnership and thereby to evolve unique solution to the challenges that continue to face many of our towns and cities. We love great design and we understand how important its role is in improving places; at the same time we recognise that regeneration cannot happen effectively unless local people are thoroughly engaged and involved in the process. And our approach seems to have a track record of unlocking significant public and private funding. Our team brings a diverse and eclectic range of skills - from academic research to hands-on project delivery via community consultation, event planning, project management, mentoring and the production of robust business plans. Have a look around and call or email us if you'd like to talk ...
- cultural visioning and planning
- area regeneration strategies and masterplanning
- construction briefing and project management
- community engagement
- festivals and events management
- Higher Education planning and development
- preparation of funding bids
- third sector governance / management
- joined-up thinking
Current and past clients include:
- Arts Council England
- Arts and Humanities Research Council
- Canterbury Christ Church University
- City University
- East Sussex County Council
- Living Architecture
- North Down Borough Council
- Tamsui Historical Museum, New Taipei City
- The De La Warr Pavilion
- The Hastings Trust - Case Study (pdf)
- The IET
- The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust
- University of Exeter
- University of Kent
We are currently involved in the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Cultural Value Project. Working with the internationally renowned Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, we are exploring the impact of engaging in culture on social capital and on people's health and well-being, with particular reference to culture-led regeneration projects in Margate, Folkestone and Bexhill.
Who we are
Nick Ewbank is one of the UK's leading authorities on creative urban regeneration. He was the founding Director of the culture, education and regeneration charity The Creative Foundation and, with the philanthropist Roger De Haan CBE, steered the ground-breaking project to revitalise Folkestone from its inception in 2001 until 2010. Prior to his work in Folkestone, Ewbank was the Director of Devon's leading arts centre, Exeter Phoenix Arts and Media Centre, for seven years. From 1988 to 1994, he was Director of the Old Bull Arts Centre in Barnet, North London, establishing its reputation at the time as one of London's most innovative arts centres.
Nick founded NEA in 2010 and has led on all its projects, including location-specific work in Hastings, Essex, the Isle of Sheppey, Canterbury and North London. He has also led NEA's work to establish a new national philanthropic funding stream for cultural organisations. Nick is a Visiting Lecturer at City University and Canterbury Christ Church University and writes for a number of periodicals and publications. He is an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Kent Ambassador.
Stephanie Mills has three decades of design and development experience in architecture, urban design and independent film production. Mills has worked within interdisciplinary teams to realise a broad variety of projects in Europe, Southern Africa and North America. These range from infill housing to large scale master plan frameworks and the translation of client briefs to formulate design principles, guidelines and implementation strategies. More recently she has been researching how to foster social innovation in cities. This is founded on an interactive workshop and events based approach with mapping and talk walks as part of the public engagement process. The aim is to nurture self-organising initiatives, to facilitate alternative ways of learning and co-production while improving the utilisation and vitality of buildings and the public realm in order to foster resilience and sustainability. In 1999 she established Cite Design Limited a London UK based consultancy which aims to to incite new perspectives, processes and ways of doing things.
Fred Gray is a researcher and writer specialising in the history and contemporary character of the Western and particularly British seaside. A social scientist and historian, he has degrees from the University of Hull and University of Cambridge. For over three decades Fred worked at the University of Sussex, Brighton, becoming a senior academic and experienced academic manager before leaving Sussex in 2011. His current research interests include the history of Western seaside architecture; the contemporary social and economic condition of seaside resorts; coastal regeneration through interventions in arts and culture, higher education and architecture and urban design; and the cultural history of the relationships between society and nature at the seaside.
Paul has more than 20 years experience in strategy development, project delivery and funding, with a particular focus on business planning, partnering and alternative service delivery models.
Paul's ethos is all about pragmatic innovation, essentially applying new ideas and solutions that are robust and effective.
Much of Paul's work is focused on helping Clients secure external investment without increasing current spend. Solutions developed involve using external expertise to deliver more efficient services and using the savings generated to support the costs of investment in facilities. He can assist in developing the business plans to demonstrate the benefits of partnering and subsequently help manage the procurement of the necessary external expertise and investment.
Paul is also working with a number of partners to develop more affordable design solutions to modernise the leisure and cultural infrastructure, as well as harnessing the growing social enterprise movement to develop new models of community ownership and management.
David's practice brings together public agencies, regeneration bodies, community and cultural organisations to secure benefits from regeneration. His professional practice, running as DPA since 1991, has helped develop and deliver projects like QUAD, Derby's centre for art and film, Stratford Circus in East London, Brighton Dome, BALTIC on Tyneside, inIVA and dozens of smaller projects. David, through DPA and in his own right, also provides data, intelligence and strategic advice for a wide range of artist led, cultural, government and other civic agencies.
- I am finding the way you work outstanding - committed, deeply efficient, pragmatic and imaginative. Thank you in general for your exceptionally efficient and intuitive grasp of everything that comes your way. Alain de Botton, Living Architecture
- The work that Nick has done with the Trust has been exceptional in quality - Nick's sensitivity and intuition made what could have been a very difficult process much easier for voluntary trustees to absorb and accommodate, and his professionalism, integrity and honesty have been fundamental to the success of the project. We have been impressed with the knowledge and expertise of Nick and his Associate on this project, as well as with the creativity, innovation and good humour with which the project has been delivered. Mel Bonney-Kane, Chief Executive Officer, Hastings Trust
- Over the past nine years Nick Ewbank has made an outstanding impact on the arts in East Kent. The transformation of Folkestone has been an inspiration to the Arts Council and to towns and cities across the world. Folkestone's cultural profile has been raised beyond anything I could have imagined. Sally Abbott, Executive Director, Arts Council England South East
- We have greatly valued the work which Nick Ewbank has done during his time with the Creative Foundation. He has been an innovative and committed contributor to realising the vision for a university centre in Folkestone as well as facilitating a wide range of artistic activities to which the University has been delighted to contribute. Prof Michael Wright CBE, former Vice Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University
- As a leading exponent of cultural regeneration, Nick Ewbank is an innovative thinker who combines an in-depth understanding of the public sector with an expert knowledge of the arts world. His great strengths are his vision and his ability to identify creative solutions to resolve difficult issues. He approaches his work with tenacity and resilience and demonstrates a capacity for strategic thinking which he harnesses to great effect. Roger De Haan CBE, Chairman, The Creative Foundation
Watch this 30 second animation by Cognitive Media for an overview
of our approach.
Social Capital & the De La Warr Pavilion
"...has offered a new way of thinking for the Pavilion, reinforcing the cultural change made within the organisation, led by the Pavilion's director, Stewart Drew, over the last two years. It has revealed that our vision remains strong, but our strength and resilience as an organisation depends on our connections and what we mean to those with whom we are connected. We do not stand alone, but are part of a bigger picture. - in simple terms, it revealed that we are an integral part of people's lives and stories but not always in the ways we expected ... Not only does it helps us to consolidate our thinking, building sustainability and resilience at a time when it is crucial to evolve our business, but clearly illustrates the responsibility we have, as custodians of this important building, to continue to have meaning and relevance to the communities it serves."
How to save a city centre
How to... save a city centre (click to view pdf)
Published in E&T Magazine, January 2013.
Adventures In Regeneration
NEA's unique approach was developed over the course of a decade of pioneering work in Folkestone, a coastal town on the south east tip of the UK. The story of the Folkestone project is told in Adventures in Regeneration, available as a paperback or as a free downloadable pdf.
"Interwoven with a cogent description of many complex layers of local and national context, Ewbank's account provides an important record of how the much-touted (but usually elusive) ideal of 'urban regeneration' through the arts was to emerge, in Folkestone, as a reality." Dr Stephen Deuchar CBE, Director, The Art Fund
In some quarters, urban regeneration through the arts has come to be seen as a panacea - something that will, almost miraculously, cure all the ills of communities afflicted by years of decline. At the other extreme, there are those who argue that the arts have no place on the battlefields of regeneration: in economic development; in enhancing health and well-being and in tackling social issues.
In Adventures in Regeneration Nick Ewbank provides new fuel for this debate by offering an illuminating history of the first decade of the ground-breaking experiment in regeneration through the arts that began in Folkestone - a medium-sized town at the south east tip of Britain - at the start of the new millennium. Focusing in turn on the physical regeneration of Folkestone's Old Town, the transformation of Folkestone's educational landscape and the development of the town's cultural life (including the launch of the Folkestone Triennial), Adventures in Regeneration sheds light on the personalities of some of the key individuals involved in the project, including the philanthropist Roger De Haan, whose personal quest it has become.
Featuring many colourful, informative and often entertaining images, Adventures in Regeneration is a thoroughly readable and visually fascinating account of a cliff-top town brought back from the brink.
Adventures in Regeneration by Nick Ewbank (Published June 2011, NEA Publishing; 135 pages).