The Southsea Night Markets, which are returning for a second year, offer a touch of the Mediterranean night market to residents and visitors of the city. They will run from 4:00pm to 8:00pm every Friday in July, starting Friday 03 July, on the site of the ARTches project, where vacant arches between the Square and Round Towers will be converted into studio spaces. They will build on the phenomenal success of the 2014 Markets in bringing together the best of Portsmouth and Southsea’s artists, artisans and makers to sell their handmade items on Southsea seafront.
As with last year, what’s for sale depends on who’s involved. Some sellers might be there each week, whilst others might come and go – giving a reason to come back each week to see what’s new. Visitors could find unique illustrations and prints; knitted and crocheted items; jewellery and accessories; or hand-thrown pottery and ceramics.
This year’s Markets move from the seafront to the area just in front of the Round Tower on Broad Street, on the way to Spice Island in Old Portsmouth. Something new for this year is the organisation of the Markets by the Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium, doing so with the full support of Portsmouth City Council. The Council recognised the positive impact of the 2014 Markets and have been eager to facilitate the inclusion of this year’s Markets in Portsmouth and Southsea’s incredibly varied summer 2015 events schedule.
Co-organiser Tom West says one of the most positive outcomes from the 2014 Markets was how engaged visitors became with the sellers, “It was incredible to see people’s reactions to learning everything on offer was there because the person behind the stall had made it. There was immediate respect for the creativity, originality and skill of those involved.”
The Markets were set up following Portsmouth City Council’s 2014 decision to allow artists and artisans to sell their handmade wares along part of Southsea seafront for free, providing they held public liability insurance. This opportunity remains for those wishing to set up on the seafront; the Southsea Night Markets offers sellers the opportunity to come together as a united and passionate community that supports one another’s entrepreneurial efforts, as well as Portsmouth and Southsea’s vibrant creative scene.
Councillor Linda Symes, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “Following the popularity of the Markets last year, it’s important to help creative industries thrive in the city and we will support opportunities where possible. We hope they will build interest in the ARTches project, where the former arches will be converted into studios. Work on the project is due to begin in September and we’re keen for this to get underway; however, it wouldn’t be appropriate to start work during the peak season and disrupt visitors. The Southsea Night Markets are a taster of the creative quarter to come.”
Co-organiser Roberta Fidora says, “In a time when many question the future of the arts and creative activities, we’re thrilled the Council has taken the decision to proudly support local makers and designers, and show that we, as a city, value the contribution of its creative community.”
Use #SouthseaNights on Twitter and Instagram to share experiences of the Markets and search for The Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium on Facebook and ‘like’ the page to receive further information.
*Tom West studied BA (Hons) Applied Languages within the School of Languages and Area Studies (SLAS).
Content courtesy of Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium.