Community Engagement Projects

April to May – new Charleston drama project at Hillcrest Centre in Newhaven

We are returning to Newhaven to run another Drama Project for people with learning disabilities.

This time, we will be bringing some of the Charleston paintings to life through drama.

The project will be taking place over seven consecutive Thursday afternoons.

For more information about the project, please look at this: Charleston Drama Project – Publicity for Recruitment

To book a place on this course, please contact Mark Richardson on 01323 815142 or by email

Black Gender Fluidity and Freedom

On Tuesday the 5th February 2019 we held an immersive conversation at Charleston around the Coco Table in the new Threshing Barn, in partnership with Take The Space

With guest speakers KUCHENGA and Bee Tajudeen, Zanele Muholi’s photographic exhibition ‘Faces and Phases’ was the backdrop to our conversation exploring blackness, gender fluidity and freedom of voice.

This is our Event record

Unexpected Delights

A group of 13 local LGBTQ+ people worked together at Charleston to explore the House, Garden, and surrounding South Downs landscape with photography and words. They created a beautifully imagined Zine. Participants worked together, facilitated by Mark Richardson, to draw inspiration from Charleston’s Small Wonder short story festival, the history of the Bloomsbury Group at Charleston and Orlando at the present time – the first exhibition in our newly-built galleries. They worked with invited queer writers Juliet Jacques, Shivanee Ramlochan and Neil Bartlett who talked about their creative processes. Please click on this link to read the Zine: Unexpected Delights Zine

Unexpected Delights Zine


Some members of this group will be joining others from the local LGBTQ+ community to create a new LGBTQ+ Forum that will advise Charleston on future planning and programming, to ensure that a queer voice is present and visible across all of our work here. Our first meeting will be in December 2018 in Lewes. Please contact Mark Richardson (details below) if you would like further information or would like to join this group.


The Stories of the Statues in the Garden

During October 2018, we worked with a group of 10 people with learning disabilities in Newhaven at The Hillcrest Centre on Thursday afternoons. We used the many statues that are around Charleston’s garden to create stories that we brought to life using dance and drama. The project culminated in a visit to Charleston, with a celebratory tea in the newly restored Threshing Barn.

We really hope to run more projects for people with learning disabilities in Newhaven during 2019 – watch this space!

Click here to see films and photographs from the project on our blog

Discover Charleston events

We are working with diverse groups from Brighton and Newhaven, offering them a Charleston visitor experience and asking them the question “How can Charleston be useful to you and your community?”. So far we have worked with the Older People’s Group from LGBT Switchboard in Brighton and the Newhaven SEN Parent and Carers Support Network. There will be more to follow!

Switchboard’s Older People’s Project with Community Engagement Officer Mark Richardson


For more information or to join these projects, contact Mark Richardson, Community Engagement Officer. | 01323 815142

We are also planning further projects – watch this space!

Past Community Engagement Projects at Charleston include:

  • Small Wonder Creative Writing – a project with hard to reach young people from Eastbourne funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England (2017)
  • Painted Furniture – a project with older people in Lewes funded by Garfield Weston Foundation (2016)
  • Ceramics in Nature – a ceramics project with isolated women from East Sussex funded by Garfield Weston Foundation (2016)
  • Healthy Walking – a walking and poetry project with people on low incomes from East Sussex funded by Garfield Weston Foundation (2016)
  • Painted Cows – a ceramics project with East Sussex Young Carers funded by Heritage Lottery Fund (2015)
  • Natural Garden Structures – a sculpture project with school children and members of the public attending Charleston (2015)

What's on

Charleston Festival 2019 17 May - 27 May
Charleston Festival 2019

30 years of books, ideas and creativity at Charleston

05 JunTalk
Kit Kemp at Charleston

Charleston and Much Ado Books present an evening with internationally acclaimed interior designer, Kit Kemp at Charleston.

08 Jun
Queer House Tours Launch

Queer Bloomsbury presents an LGBTQ+ day of celebration and the launch of our new queer house tours.

22 Jun - 23 Jun
Designer & Makers Fair

Beautiful and unique wares from the finest designers and makers in the South.

Get involved