Vicky Meets… Matt Reed, Artist

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Vicky Meets… Matt Reed, Artist

You are the artist behind the Bognor Regis Time Portal. What was the inspiration behind the project?

During COVID all of my work in the film industry stopped and I decided to go back to

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university to do a master’s degree. I studied architectural and urban design and became

Matt Reed, ArtistMatt Reed, Artist
Matt Reed, Artist

interested in how new technology like augmented reality can help us to see the world

differently. I was very interested H.G. Wells’ classic story ‘The Time Machine’, so that was

definitely an influence. Then I heard about the amazing Bognorian Mary Wheatland – ‘The

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Bathing Woman of Bognor’ – and thought that she would be a really fascinating subject for

the portal.

How was it funded?

Getting the money for the project wasn’t easy. The competition was fierce, but I managed

to secure most of the funding from Arts Council England. Their grants are partly made up of

lottery money and there is a rigorous application process. We also had some help form the

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UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which is money from central government that was secured

through Arun District Council. I’m really grateful for the funding and happy that the money

was invested in Bognor Regis, as it would have otherwise gone to somewhere else in the


The portal recently welcomed its 10,000th visitor. How did that feel?

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Myself and the team worked very hard to bring the story of Mary Wheatland to life and it

feels great to see that so many people have tried out time travel for themselves. We hadn’t

dared imagine that so many people would have used it at this point. Hopefully many more

people will come to the beach to experience the Portal. As we update things from time to

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time, maybe those who have been already will come again? Mary’s story is such a wonderful

one. It’s such a positive thing for the town.

You are about to go to LA for a swanky award ceremony. What's the story?

Yes, it’s all very exciting! The project has made it to the finals of the ‘Auggie Awards’ which

are the most widely recognised accolades for the augmented realty and virtual reality

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industries. We made it through to the finals following a public vote and we are entered in

the ‘Best Art or Film’ category. It’s up to the judges now and the winners will be announced

on the 19 th of June. I’m off to Los Angeles to the awards ceremony which is a dream come

true. Wish us luck!

What's next for you?

I’m hoping to take the time portal concept to lots of other places that have a story to tell, so

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I am starting a company called Xray Portals to work on ideas for new projects. We are so

lucky in the UK to have so many wonderful locations with such a rich history, and I’m excited

to see what the future holds.

For further info on The Bognor Regis Time Portal: Stay updated

by following us on social media using the handle @BRTimePortal