Food & Fine Art


The Birley Centre’s art-gallery foyer will be home to 2 wonderful private events for the duration of the weekend

Pop-up Café

A pop-up café serving truly delicious vegetarian food and cakes will be hosted by award winning chef Jackie Walls.

Jackie is a published author of vegetarian cookbooks and is the private chef to international sports stars including Novak Djokovic.

Art Exhibition

Joanne Olney

Original artwork by Joanne Olney, created especially for the inaugural Eastbourne International Singing Competition 2024, will be on display.   Joanne describes her work as "intentionally subdued, offering a respite from the ceaseless demands of our modern world"

Joanne Olney's new 'Still Life' series, crafted specifically for The Eastbourne International Singing Competition, captures fleeting moments with a blend of mixed media. The artwork explores the interplay of vastness and intricacy, delving into themes of impermanence, resilience, and renewal. Through intriguing compositions and delicate marks, Joanne creates atmospheric pieces that convey an intimate and mysterious sense of fragility. The intentionally subdued creations serve as a momentary respite from the demands of contemporary life, offering a broader reflection on awe, wonder, endurance, and hope—both for humanity and the natural world.

Mark Monroe-Preston

Mark was born in Yorkshire and studied photography at Wolverhampton Polytechnic before moving to London. He worked as a still life photographer before becoming interested in digital illustration and eventually moving on to work with CGI as a children’s illustrator.

He moved to Sussex in 2001 and it was there that he reignited his passion for landscape photography, exploring the local landscapes, particularly the Ashdown Forest and the South Downs National Park, with his dogs and his camera. It was not until 2017 that he began utilising these images to create pieces of art for his first exhibition at a local art fair. Since going full time as an artist in 2018 he has exhibited across the UK and beyond.

Mark’s work coalesces photography, painting and collage to create atmospheric pictures inspired by his experiences in nature. Beginning with images drawn from his expansive collection of original landscape photographs, he transforms them, revealing subtleties of colour, texture, light and form, while evoking the natural beauty and drama of the scenes, blurring the boundaries of what is traditionally considered photography and painting. They are presented as limited edition prints on sheets of brushed aluminium, which gives the work a uniquely dynamic look, depth of colour and contemporary feel.

Trees are the focus of his art, transposing their energy as exceptional, complex organisms in our environment, each having its presence and characteristics from diminutive and delicate to monumental and sculptural. The emphasis on trees also comes from an appreciation of how fundamental they are with human life, affording us food, shade and materials as well as playing an ever-increasingly important role in our world ecosystems and clean air, yet all too often taken for granted.

His approach embraces several facets of landscape art including sublime windswept views and more conceptual compositions where the implications of the root and interrelated mycorrhizal fungi networks are evident, using mirroring and silhouette effects as well as attention to the illuminating presence of the sun, often filtered through a diffuse mist.

Each of Mark’s works is titled with the GPS coordinates of where the original photograph was taken so they can be found on interactive maps, encouraging others to experience the locations in person.

Susie Monnington

My work evolves from speedy, responsive drawings and painted sketches made on adventures in the landscape; canoe expeditions, Hebridean cycling adventures or walking the Sussex Downland and beaches. These rapid drawings capture expressions of fleeting moments, and inform the larger paintings.

I work in a very physical way, in an outside studio space for as much of the year as is possible; this helps to keep the air in the paint, allowing it's life and energy to gently invite the raucous chanting of the painting elves to encourage the process of letting rip with the  paint; at which point a painting may or may not emerge and evolve into an expression of something that taps into what it felt like to be there at that time.

I graduated from St Martins School of Art in London in Fine Art painting and then continued at Brighton Art School to complete an MA in Fine Art and later a PGCE.  I set up Dairy Studio Art Courses in 2013 in Lewes where I continue to work and run painting courses.