Weston Grand Pier
Courtesy of North Somerset Council

Local voices: Wayne Hemingway on Weston

Could Weston super Mare be the Venice Beach of the South West?

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Wayne Hemingway

Wayne is a designer and co-founder of Red or Dead and HemingwayDesign. As Hemingway Design, his work includes graphic, product and interior design, architecture, events, placemaking, brand and urban regeneration, and in particular seaside towns, such as Margate, Bournemouth and Morecambe.

October 30th, 2018

Hemingway Design has been working in Weston super Mare since 2016 – what have you and your team been doing?

In the summer of 2015 Dismaland brought Weston-super-Mare and Tropicana to the attention of a worldwide audience. 

At HemingwayDesign we didn’t need our arms forced up our backs to get involved in helping to create a vision for Tropicana’s future. We led a gathering of creative minds at Tropicana in March 2016 to discuss possibilities for Tropicana’s future uses. The discussions were lively and productive and it became immediately clear that there is a love for Tropicana and no shortage of ideas.

Dismaland, courtesy Creative Commons
Banky's 'Dismaland' at the Tropicana

The fortunes of many of our seaside towns has looked bleak - how do you think the arts and creativity can help revive their fortunes?

There is a new generation of culturally aware people who are rediscovering the British seaside, eschewing the crowded and oft cheesy Mediterranean resorts championed by their parents and grandparents and starting creative led renaissances up and down the country. People are moving from their one bedroom flats in London to a four bedroom house and opening cafes, galleries and shops.

From Margate to Morecambe I see more young couples doing something interesting with an old building. These towns are not being given a leg up by rich second homers. These are young, often creative people, without vast sums of money who are spotting an opportunity that is relatively affordable evocative property, a beach, big skies and room to breathe – and within reach of a city if they need it.

Credit: Theatre Orchard
WOW Circus in Weston super Mare

What do you think the future holds for Weston as a new kind of destination for visitors?

Well it’s lucky to have a great, youthful, creative city Bristol on the doorstep. All it needs is a forward thinking council that “gets” the exciting new opportunities out there and is not stuck in the past and mired in boring thinking.

Three words to describe Weston to someone who’s never been there.

Views, opportunity, fresh air (I combined that last phrase!)

What’s Weston’s best kept secret?

What the Tropicana could be if it were handed over to the creative community to do their thing.

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