Goodbye, ONCA Barge

It’s with much sadness that we share news about ONCA Barge. Our time there will end on December 31, 2022.

This is because our landlords, Brighton Marina Group, have decided to sell the Barge and have it moved away from the marina. Their reason is that this historic boat is very old, and the company feels that it is becoming a liability. The sale and removal of the Barge will leave a big gap at the marina – and for Brighton overall – in terms of diverse heritage, community and cultural provision.

We will continue to run our regular programme of activities on board until the end of the year (term ends for Dresscue and Community Afternoons on December 2). Then in 2023, Dresscue and Community Afternoons will continue at their current times on Fridays: Dresscue from ONCA Gallery and Community Afternoons from the beautiful BELTA comunity space in the heart of Whitehawk.

The end of our time on the beloved Barge has come much too soon for us but we remain devoted to environmental justice, social resilience, education and community building through the arts, and hopeful that we will find new partnerships and opportunities to continue this work in East Brighton.

The past five years have been a wonderful journey of learning and growth: from our first residency on board in summer 2017 with the Goodall Foundation, followed by ONCA taking over the management of the vessel and renaming it ONCA Barge four years ago – and all that has followed since then. We are immensely proud of the huge amount of creative activity, learning and activism that have taken place on the Barge, and grateful for all the love and energy that staff, artists, participants, educators, learners, allies and audiences of all ages have enthusiastically offered. We’re overjoyed at the creative risks taken and experiments carried out, and the relationships that have been nurtured.

Thank you to the Marina Group, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Enjoolata, The National Lottery, PFAFF, Brighton & Hove City Council and our other funders for their financial support of our activities on board.

Finally, we are deeply grateful to the beautiful boat itself for being a truly magical container for all this magnificent living and learning that we’ve been privileged to experience on and with ONCA Barge. 


Image by Ishtar Parrish Wain.

Image description: A simple black and white lino cut of a boat with the letters ONCA on the side.