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Adventures in Regeneration – new Folkestone book launches today

  • Date: 24 June 2011
  • Area: South East
boat in harbour

Folkestone Harbour - rising tide. Credit: Russell Burden

A new book capturing Folkestone's successful regeneration story is being launched tonight at the opening of the Folkestone Triennial.

Art consultant and founding director of The Creative Foundation Nick Ewbank wrote Adventures in Regeneration, a 135-page illustrated book that charts the town's trajectory over the past decade, through the development of the Folkestone Creative Quarter in the Old Town, to the Folkestone Triennial, the Book Festival, the new University Centre and Quarterhouse arts venue. The publication was supported with £7,500 in Arts Council England development funds.

Part memoir, part archive, part strong case study for culture-based regeneration, Adventures in Regeneration is crammed full of colour photographs of the town, people and places past and present.

The book incorporates Ewbank's first-hand experiences and weaves in the stories and memories of many of the influential people and organisations who helped to get Folkestone back on its feet - including multi-millionaire philanthropist Roger De Haan, who set up the charity The Creative Foundation.

Folkestone's regeneration story also includes statutory and private sector partners, who early on got on board De Haan's and The Creative Foundation's vision and aspirations for the town: Arts Council England (then South East Arts), Kent County Council, Shepway District Council, Saga, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the South East England Development Agency.

Nick Ewbank says: 'I wanted to write the book because I thought there was a great story to tell. What's been happening in Folkestone over the past decade is pretty unusual, and the book reveals a good deal about the unique combination of personalities behind the project - but just because it's unusual doesn't mean it can't happen in other places. Wherever they are, if people are committed to joining together and putting real drive and energy into transforming places, there's no reason why other inspirational models like Folkestone shouldn't spring up.  

'Of course the economic climate is tough at the moment, but what I hope to convey in the book is that determination, resilience and a joined-up approach can unlock funding from totally unexpected quarters.

'There's plenty of evidence now that investing in culture can lead to a multitude of benefits for communities, including regeneration and new jobs, but the important thing is that the investment is coherent, across the board and carefully thought through from the outset.'

The Adventures in Regeneration book is available on sale as a paperback for £14.95 from Nick Ewbanks's website http://www.nickewbank.co.uk/, in Folkestone bookshops and in the Folkestone Triennial visitor centre.

It is also available as a free PDF download via the Arts Council's website.