Nick Ewbank Associates

is an innovative consultancy firm delivering creative solutions in the fields of culture, learning, regeneration, wellbeing and social cohesion. We carry out ground-breaking research and we help organisations to develop and to achieve their goals.

Drawing on a wealth of experience in cultural leadership, design, project management and academia, our outstanding team brings a diverse and eclectic range of skills - from research to hands-on project delivery via community consultation, event planning, fundraising, mentoring and the production of robust business plans. Have a look around, follow us on twitter and call or email us if you'd like to talk ...

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Watch this 30 second animation by Cognitive Media for an overview of our approach.

Latest News

  • Nick Ewbank is delighted to have been appointed Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Public Policy and Professional Practice at Edge Hill University.
  • NEA has been commissioned by Maidstone Borough Council to advise on the early stages of the development of a Cultural Strategy for Maidstone, the county town of Kent.


Current and past clients include:

Who we are

Nick Ewbank

Nick Ewbank

Nick Ewbank is one of the UK's leading authorities on creative urban regeneration. He was the founding Director of the culture, education and regeneration charity The Creative Foundation and, with the philanthropist Roger De Haan CBE, steered the ground-breaking project to revitalise Folkestone from its inception in 2001 until 2010. Prior to his work in Folkestone, Ewbank was the Director of Devon's leading arts centre, Exeter Phoenix Arts and Media Centre, for seven years. From 1988 to 1994, he was Director of the Old Bull Arts Centre in Barnet, North London, establishing its reputation at the time as one of London's most innovative arts centres.

Nick founded NEA in 2010 and has led on all its projects. He has developed NEA’s distinctive brand of research-led consultancy, which combines a strong theoretical approach, rooted in social capital theory and the social model of health, with pragmatic, locally-based solutions that often make surprising connections and inspire clients and partners to see new opportunities. He lectures for a number of universities and regularly contributes to conferences and symposia in the UK and abroad. Although he is happy enough to work away from the sea, he has particular penchant for UK’s coastal towns and is passionate about the role that culture and creativity can play in their regeneration as great places to live, work and visit.

Click to view full CV (pdf)

Stephanie Mills

Stephanie Mills

Stephanie Mills has three decades of design and development experience in architecture, urban design and independent film production. Mills has worked within interdisciplinary teams to realise a broad variety of projects in Europe, Southern Africa and North America. These range from infill housing to large scale master plan frameworks and the translation of client briefs to formulate design principles, guidelines and implementation strategies. More recently she has been researching how to foster social innovation in cities. This is founded on an interactive workshop and events based approach with mapping and talk walks as part of the public engagement process. The aim is to nurture self-organising initiatives, to facilitate alternative ways of learning and co-production while improving the utilisation and vitality of buildings and the public realm in order to foster resilience and sustainability. In 1999 she established Cite Design Limited a London UK based consultancy which aims to to incite new perspectives, processes and ways of doing things.

Fred Gray

Fred Gray

Fred Gray is a researcher and writer specialising in the history and contemporary character of the Western and particularly British seaside. A social scientist and historian, he has degrees from the University of Hull and University of Cambridge. For over three decades Fred worked at the University of Sussex, Brighton, becoming a senior academic and experienced academic manager before leaving Sussex in 2011. His current research interests include the history of Western seaside architecture; the contemporary social and economic condition of seaside resorts; coastal regeneration through interventions in arts and culture, higher education and architecture and urban design; and the cultural history of the relationships between society and nature at the seaside.

Click to view full CV (pdf)

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly

Paul has more than 20 years experience in strategy development, project delivery and funding, with a particular focus on business planning, partnering and alternative service delivery models.

Paul's ethos is all about pragmatic innovation, essentially applying new ideas and solutions that are robust and effective.

Much of Paul's work is focused on helping Clients secure external investment without increasing current spend. Solutions developed involve using external expertise to deliver more efficient services and using the savings generated to support the costs of investment in facilities. He can assist in developing the business plans to demonstrate the benefits of partnering and subsequently help manage the procurement of the necessary external expertise and investment.

Paul is also working with a number of partners to develop more affordable design solutions to modernise the leisure and cultural infrastructure, as well as harnessing the growing social enterprise movement to develop new models of community ownership and management.

Click to view full CV (pdf)

David Powell

David Powell

David's practice brings together public agencies, regeneration bodies, community and cultural organisations to secure benefits from regeneration. His professional practice, running as DPA since 1991, has helped develop and deliver projects like QUAD, Derby's centre for art and film, Stratford Circus in East London, Brighton Dome, BALTIC on Tyneside, inIVA and dozens of smaller projects. David, through DPA and in his own right, also provides data, intelligence and strategic advice for a wide range of artist led, cultural, government and other civic agencies.

Click to view full CV (pdf)

  • I am finding the way you work outstanding - committed, deeply efficient, pragmatic and imaginative. Thank you in general for your exceptionally efficient and intuitive grasp of everything that comes your way. Alain de Botton, Living Architecture
  • The work that Nick has done with the Trust has been exceptional in quality - Nick's sensitivity and intuition made what could have been a very difficult process much easier for voluntary trustees to absorb and accommodate, and his professionalism, integrity and honesty have been fundamental to the success of the project. We have been impressed with the knowledge and expertise of Nick and his Associate on this project, as well as with the creativity, innovation and good humour with which the project has been delivered. Mel Bonney-Kane, Chief Executive Officer, Hastings Trust
  • Over the past nine years Nick Ewbank has made an outstanding impact on the arts in East Kent. The transformation of Folkestone has been an inspiration to the Arts Council and to towns and cities across the world. Folkestone's cultural profile has been raised beyond anything I could have imagined. Sally Abbott, Executive Director, Arts Council England South East
  • We have greatly valued the work which Nick Ewbank has done during his time with the Creative Foundation. He has been an innovative and committed contributor to realising the vision for a university centre in Folkestone as well as facilitating a wide range of artistic activities to which the University has been delighted to contribute. Prof Michael Wright CBE, former Vice Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University
  • As a leading exponent of cultural regeneration, Nick Ewbank is an innovative thinker who combines an in-depth understanding of the public sector with an expert knowledge of the arts world. His great strengths are his vision and his ability to identify creative solutions to resolve difficult issues. He approaches his work with tenacity and resilience and demonstrates a capacity for strategic thinking which he harnesses to great effect. Roger De Haan CBE, Chairman, The Creative Foundation

Everyone an Artist?

NEA was commissioned by East Sussex County Council to organise and present Everyone An Artist? – a symposium investigating connections between culture, society and health & wellbeing. The event took place at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea on 30 October 2015.

Chaired by Baroness Kay Andrews, this one-day symposium brought together over 120 prominent policy-makers, artists, researchers and health professionals to explore the role of conceptual and empirical research in understanding the cultural sector’s impact on people’s health, wellbeing and social connectedness.

The symposium highlighted three research projects NEA has been involved in over the past three years, building on an initial commission from East Sussex County Council’s Cultural Research Project. These were undertaken with De La Warr Pavilion, Turner Contemporary, Folkestone’s Creative Foundation and Project Art Works – presentations on each of these were given by Stewart Drew (DLWP), Dr Trish Vella-Burrows (Sidney De Haan Research Centre) and Kate Adams (Project Art Works). Full details can be found below.

The day also featured powerful testimony and international research findings from:

We filmed the day’s proceedings and the edited highlights will be available here shortly.

Project Art Works

In September 2015 NEA published an Impact Analysis of the work of Project Art Works. This remarkable company, based in Hastings, East Sussex, transform the lives of people with complex needs through innovative creative arts practice. Our Report into their ground-breaking work can be downloaded here:

Project Art Works Report

AHRC Cultural Value Report Launch at House of Commons July 2014

Cultural Value & Social Capital ReportIn partnership with the internationally renowned Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, we launched the report Cultural Value and Social Capital at the House of Commons on 16 July 2014. The report is part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Cultural Value Project. At the launch a distinguished panel of speakers welcomed the report's findings and recommendations, and debated some of the topical issues it raises. You're welcome to view a 7 min film of the event and to download the report.


Cultural Value Report
Cultural Value Appendix
Cultural Value Press Release

Previous Publications

Social Capital & the De La Warr Pavilion

In Sept 2013 NEA published a report on the Social Capital generated by the De La Warr Pavilion. You can download the full report and the appendix here. The De La Warr Pavilion says that our report:

"...has offered a new way of thinking for the Pavilion, reinforcing the cultural change made within the organisation, led by the Pavilion's director, Stewart Drew, over the last two years. It has revealed that our vision remains strong, but our strength and resilience as an organisation depends on our connections and what we mean to those with whom we are connected. We do not stand alone, but are part of a bigger picture. - in simple terms, it revealed that we are an integral part of people's lives and stories but not always in the ways we expected ... Not only does it helps us to consolidate our thinking, building sustainability and resilience at a time when it is crucial to evolve our business, but clearly illustrates the responsibility we have, as custodians of this important building, to continue to have meaning and relevance to the communities it serves."

How to save a city centre

How to... save a city centre (click to view pdf)
Published in E&T Magazine, January 2013.

Adventures In Regeneration

NEA's unique approach was developed over the course of a decade of pioneering work in Folkestone, a coastal town on the south east tip of the UK. The story of the Folkestone project is told in Adventures in Regeneration, available as a paperback or as a free downloadable pdf.

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"Interwoven with a cogent description of many complex layers of local and national context, Ewbank's account provides an important record of how the much-touted (but usually elusive) ideal of 'urban regeneration' through the arts was to emerge, in Folkestone, as a reality." Dr Stephen Deuchar CBE, Director, The Art Fund

In some quarters, urban regeneration through the arts has come to be seen as a panacea - something that will, almost miraculously, cure all the ills of communities afflicted by years of decline. At the other extreme, there are those who argue that the arts have no place on the battlefields of regeneration: in economic development; in enhancing health and well-being and in tackling social issues.

In Adventures in Regeneration Nick Ewbank provides new fuel for this debate by offering an illuminating history of the first decade of the ground-breaking experiment in regeneration through the arts that began in Folkestone - a medium-sized town at the south east tip of Britain - at the start of the new millennium. Focusing in turn on the physical regeneration of Folkestone's Old Town, the transformation of Folkestone's educational landscape and the development of the town's cultural life (including the launch of the Folkestone Triennial), Adventures in Regeneration sheds light on the personalities of some of the key individuals involved in the project, including the philanthropist Roger De Haan, whose personal quest it has become.

Featuring many colourful, informative and often entertaining images, Adventures in Regeneration is a thoroughly readable and visually fascinating account of a cliff-top town brought back from the brink.

Adventures in Regeneration by Nick Ewbank (Published June 2011, NEA Publishing; 135 pages).