Creative Cargo project aims to fill vintage steamer trunks

Claire Sambrook, senior lecturer in the School of Creative Technologies is building on her portfolio of innovative creative projects that collaborate with the creative industries and communities in the City of Portsmouth, such as Love Your Bike Portsmouth, Southsea Deck Your Chairs, the Round Tower exhibition, Creative Portsmouth book and last year’s Creating Balance Project. Her latest project is a partnership with local community arts company Strong Island, led by Paul Gonella, who took part in the recent Victorious Southsea and partnered with the University for the Far from Home project earlier this year.

Their new collaboration is called Creative Cargo.

Portsmouth’s creative community are collaborating and paying homage to the 1000+ years of trade in their historic and thriving port city by packing ten vintage steamer trunks with products from many of its very best creative businesses. Over 25 different artists and businesses are represented, including Anglepoise®  UK who recently collaborated with Paul Smith, international design studio I Love Dust who produced the ‘Risk Everything’ campaign for Nike Football during the 2014 World Cup, independent games studio Climax, internationally exhibited street artist My Dog Sighs, award winning jeweller Barbara Tipple plus many, many more.


Alumni of the university feature in some of the businesses including I Love Dust (BA Graphic Design), Emma Nicol (BA Illustration), Arran Mackintosh (BA Illustration), Jodie Silsby (BA Graphic Design), Rachel Lowe, Barbara Tipple (honorary degree) and Pete Codling (BA Fine Art).

Creative Cargo draws together collections of Portsmouth manufactured created and designed products, artistic works, creative artefacts and more, all contained within specially customised vintage steamer trunks. This Creative Cargo will signify the very best of what the creative community of Portsmouth can offer.

Portsmouth has a thriving cultural and arts scene with many individuals and businesses creating high quality, successful products and designs to an international audience. The creative sector both nationally and locally is dynamic, growing rapidly, bringing in investment and creating jobs. Local cultural resource Strong Island, with the support of Portsmouth City Council, The University of Portsmouth, Anglepoise® and Penny Mordaunt MP, want to shout about what the creative sector of the city of Portsmouth is already achieving and its potential to grow. Through the Creative Cargo project they wish to celebrate, promote and introduce these great creative businesses that call Portsmouth home to people and businesses nationally & internationally.

This Creative Cargo will signify the very best of what the creative community of Portsmouth can offer, ready to travel onwards from a city historically known to be the home port for journeys far and wide.

Creative Cargo will be launched in September 2014 at a special VIP event in Byron Chambers, Albany, London by MP Penny Mordaunt to an array of high profile dignitaries from fashion, film, politics and business, many of whom have links to Portsmouth.

Seven of the ten trunks have been rebuilt and customised by volunteers and are lined with local maps, pages from books from the city’s famous authors & the distinctive stripes of deckchair materials produced by the UK’s only deckchair manufacturer, Southsea Deckchairs. Three of the steamer trunks will also be renovated in partnership with local community craft and design groups. An eleventh trunk will be restored by students in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at The University of Portsmouth with a cargo of work produced by the students.

In 2015 many of the trunks will be distributed to selected ambassadors who are influencers, leaders in their field and catalysts to help promote awareness of Portsmouth’s creative offering and to increase investment in the city’s creative sector.


Some Creative Cargo trunks are destined to travel across the UK and internationally to other port cities, connecting with other communities resulting in ‘creative exchanges’ of art and design products. The team look forward to discovering how people everywhere might describe as their own home town or city’s Creative Cargo. A special 96 page book has been designed with interviews and features on all of the businesses involved with the project along with the volunteers restoring the trunks.

Catherine Harper, Dean of the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries said “I am enormously proud of the energetic and energising role University of Portsmouth students and graduates play in the creative and cultural life of this unique city: many remain as part of its creative workforce, incubating their ideas, generating, innovating, producing, and making significant contributions to the city’s culture and economy, while others travel out across the globe as ambassadors of this community of design businesses, creative collaborations, entrepreneurial partnerships and creative practices.”

Penny Mordaunt MP, Portsmouth North, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government said “Nationally, the creative sector is dynamic and growing rapidly, bringing investment and creating jobs which can be seen clearly in the island city of Portsmouth with its thriving cultural and arts scene, with many individuals and businesses creating high quality, successful products and designs to an international audience.

Portsmouth has a history of being a hub for artists and ideas. In the last few years in particular our city has seen a real boom in the creative industries. We are bringing our artistic heritage to life – metaphorically and literally through the regeneration of our theatres, the creation of galleries from dockyard buildings and by recreating the old artists’ quarter in new studios in Portsmouth’s ancient hot walls.

It is not only the quantity but also the quality of what we do that makes us stand out, though perhaps, above all, it is our passion which sets us apart. It is certainly true that art can be a powerful tool for growth and regeneration, but fundamentally it is about quality of life and enriching our experience. I am delighted to support our city and the Creative Cargo project at this exciting time.”

The project has been devised and run by Portsmouth’s cultural resource and community arts company Strong Island and Claire Sambrook from The University of Portsmouth, with the support of Portsmouth City Council, the University of Portsmouth and Anglepoise®.

“This city has so much creative energy, talent and raw determination that filling the steamer trunks was the easiest part of the project. Along with established businesses we have many start-up’s and sole traders some of which are alumni and all eager to work together to promote Portsmouth. The steamer trunks have been renovated by a team of volunteers who very generously gave up some of their summer to work on the project, again, a testament of the support and collaborative spirit this island city has” explained Claire Sambrook and Paul Gonnella at Strong Island Community Projects.

Visit the website for more information about Creative Cargo