Towner on the Town (TOTT) is a unique visual arts outreach project linked to the collections and exhibitions programme of the Towner Art Gallery.
In 2000, TOTT conducted research and consultation with groups at the forefront of community development in Eastbourne to identify issues facing less advantaged groups and to establish a dialogue with potential partners.
TOTT was developed following this consultation so that its programmes are led by the needs of participants and based on outcomes.
Subsequently TOTT gained partners and additional funding in order to provide developmental and diversionary projects targeted at young people at risk of social exclusion, older people and people currently engaged in substance misuse programmes.
TOTT aims to work with participants to increase their self esteem and confidence in making choices about their future development which indirectly leads to training, education or employment. It also aims to challenge participant’s views of the cultural, social and political world through exposure to art.
The programme utilises the combined visual and intellectual works of the Towner’s art collection and exhibitions programme as a catalyst for engaging hard to reach groups. Uniquely the project has succeeded in exposing these groups to art by physically repositioning pieces from the Towner into community environments and settings.
This process has been made possible by a number of leading regional artists who to date have led over 300 workshops. The results of the projects have been seen in the form of public exhibitions and events by an estimated new audience of over 90,000 people.
In 2002 as part of the Best Value Review of the Arts and Heritage service of Eastbourne Borough Council the programme was selected by the National Audit Office as a case study for Best Practice in its field.
The TOTT project would not have been possible without a number of funding agencies and the assistance of many partnership agencies such as homeless projects, schools, young people’s service providers and drug rehabilitation centres.
Results are evaluated through both extensive research, developed in partnership with programme partners and funding agencies.