Research Network Forum
Cultural Regeneration in Folkestone
11/07. 15/08. 12/09 2008


The town of Folkestone is a historic seaside resort on the south coast of Britain (located at the English end of the Channel Tunnel). Like many seaside towns, it has suffered from a variety of economic and social problems that devolve from the perception of economic marginalisation and collapse of the traditional English seaside holiday.

Those problems are now being actively addressed through cultural regeneration. The Creative Foundation is engaged in promoting this regeneration through a variety of initiatives, not least the 2008, 2011 and 2014 Folkestone Triennials. In addition, the arrival of HS1 rail services to-and-from London will place Folkestone at one end of a development corridor stretching from King’s Cross to East Kent, via the Olympic sites of East London.

Accordingly, Folkestone is a uniquely qualified environment in which to investigate the effectiveness of these regeneration strategies and to elaborate the interdisciplinary and collaborative methodologies that will support the proper analysis of regeneration economics.

The Offer

The Research Network Forum (RNF) is organised by Dr Paul Rennie of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London. It is hosted by University Centre Folkestone and is supported by the Creative Foundation.

The RNF will take place over three separate days over the summer of 2008. The RNF coincides with the Folkestone Triennial – an international festival of contemporary public sculpture.

The RNF has three main objectives

  • To create a social network of postgraduate researchers from a variety of disciplines and from across the institutional frameworks of education, policy and regeneration
  • To informally elaborate the kinds of inter-disciplinary methodologies that can usefully be applied to the practical problems of regeneration
  • To provide a springboard for the elaboration of postgraduate research proposals and funding applications

  • In the first instance, the RNF will provide a base for the exploration and observation of Folkestone during the Triennial. The three days of activities are conceptualised, over the summer, to provide for:
    1. Introductions
    2. Looking and Learning
    3. Elaborating Interdisciplinary Methodologies
    4. Reports and Presentation

    So the offer is that, in the first instance, delegates will have a day by the sea, explore Folkestone, its cultural regeneration and its contemporary sculpture. They will meet people engaged in similar activities from a variety of backgrounds and institutions. The opportunity to network socially and academically will be encouraged. Folkestone has a number of good restaurants, fish and chip shops, and bed and breakfast hotels. There are selfcatering rooms at The Grand and a brilliant campsite under the East Cliff.
    Delegates may choose to make a long weekend of it.


    Within a framework of ten years, the regeneration of Folkestone will be powered by far-reaching educational reform, the refurbishment of historic buildings and the hosting of three Triennial Festivals. In addition, the arrival of HS1 will bring Folkestone and East Kent nearer to London and establish the eastern extremity of a development corridor to King’s Cross. The 2012 Olympic Games in East London will ensure the connection of these various elements through infrastructure development across the region.

    The research funding organisations are minded to support inter-disciplinary and multi-institutional projects. The scale and scope of Folkestone’s regeneration projects make it an ideal base for elaborating such research projects. The proper study of practical regeneration is likely to become significantly more important as an increasing number of towns and cities embark on similar projects. Fiscal prudence will require that information and practical data is shared.

    If you are a postgraduate researcher working in urbanism, design, art, architecture, social geography or economic policy, please join our adventure. Folkestone is a unique environment beginning a ten-year programme of cultural regeneration. The RNF will take place again to coincide with future Triennial Festivals.

    Date 11 July, 15 August and 12 September, 2008
    Place University Centre Folkestone, Kent
    Time 1100 to 1800 hrs

    The RNF event is free but you must register your interest, as a delegate, with Dr Paul Rennie
    Dr Paul Rennie
    Folkestone 2008