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35 Kingsbridge at work


Art, culture and history play an important part in local Kingsbridge life. Kate Cotton spoke to three local people whose professionla life is wrapped up in these pursuits.


Emma Cook


Office manager, Harbour House Centre for Arts and Yoga


What happens at Harbour House? Lots of arts and yoga classes, as well as tai chi, meditation, pilates, kung fu, keep fit, counselling services and lots more. We have a beautiful ground floor gallery with regularly changing exhibitions. We have three yoga studios, an art studio and meeting rooms and are always putting on new classes. We also have a lovely café that serves fantastic vegetarian food and has a balcony area overlooking the art gallery.


How long have you been working there? Harbour House opened in 1997 and I joined in 2001. Lots of things were happening here when I started. The gallery was being extended and refur- bished for its re-opening in 2002.


What is your role at Harbour House? I deal with the bookings and enqui- ries, including yoga, art and general enquiries. When people want to hire a room, I show them around the centre and talk through all the preparations with them. I also help to co-ordinate our gallery schedule, community exhibitions and open art exhibitions.


What happens in the office? There are four of us who work here. I’m in four days a week covering bookings, enquiries and the website; Alison concentrates on the arts, publicity and also the website; Linda deals with accounts queries, enquiries and bookings; and John with the cleaning and maintenance of the building.


We all have designated roles, but they overlap at times, as we all have a shared knowledge of the place. The office is open to the public for two hours every morning, Monday to Friday. At other times we’re happy to see you by appointment.


How did you get into this role? I trained as a theatre designer at The University of Central England in Bir- mingham and moved to Kingsbridge in 1999 after graduation. I’ve always had an interest in the arts and when this opportunity arose I grabbed it. It’s a great job with a lovely team and I’m very happy here.


“I think it enriches lots of people’s lives in lots of different ways”


How did you get to be in Kingsbridge? I met my husband in Birmingham, he grew up in Kingsbridge, so we moved here together after I finished my course. I was born in Dundee and grew up in Yorkshire – I’ve gradually moved South so you could say I’m a bit of a hobo…until now! I love it down here. Kingsbridge is such a great town to live and work in and the people are lovely.


Do you join in with any of the classes at Harbour House? I’ve joined in classes in the past but I don’t have much time now. I have


two small daughters, aged seven and two. When I finish work I’m off doing the school run and then it’s school clubs, swimming etc, and family stuff at the weekends. I’m planning on going back to Print- making classes at Salcombe Art Club in January. I discovered printmaking after I left uni and absolutely love it.


What do you think makes Harbour House so successful? I think it enriches lots of people’s lives in lots of different ways, through yoga, support groups, arts classes and exhibitions, giving artists oppor- tunity to show their own work. Arts and yoga works really well together. We organise two open art exhibitions every year. The most recent was ‘Self Portrait’ and the next one in March is ‘The Energy of Plants’. Anybody can enter work, they are usually very popular, sometimes reaching around 80 artists. Harbour House is fortunate to be supported by a Charitable Trust.


Does the centre slow down in the winter? Not really, classes and exhibitions run throughout the year, except for two weeks over Christmas. The centre is closed, and we have a holiday. Lots of maintenance work is done during this shutdown time.


Do you have a favourite des- ert island disc? Oh, I think it’d have to be All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix. For more information on Harbour House see www.harbourhouse.org.uk


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