History 

 How Ideas Become Reality 

Hello,

 

I am John McKiernan, the founder of Fourth Portal, a business that I have been toying with for more than a decade.  Having had an early career in advertising before travelling the world, I set up one of the UK's first coffee bar chains in South East London in the 1990s, which included performance spaces and a theatre.  Since closing the last of these in 2009, I have been toying with creating a new type of hub space focused on technology, environment and sound that could create opportunities for entrepreneurship that benefits whole communities while reducing the impact on the planet.  To understand how people consider ideas and make decisions I curated and produced a large number of long-term public art interventions, along with my ever-increasing network of fantastic Platform-7  collaborators (view here).  In spring 2019, I set out on a journey to finally take the plunge and create my first hub somewhere in the UK.  Calling the journey Haphazard Business I began documenting my thinking and reasons for my decisions as I went in search of a suitable location. The intention has been to outline how haphazard such a journey can really be, with unexpected obstacles and random meetings dictating direction of travel (and this was well before the Covid-19 outbreak sent the world into a haphazard spin). One such random event was meeting Gillian Harwood, founder of Busworks in King's Cross - a large 350+ business hub, who invited me to view Great Yarmouth, an English seaside town as a potential location.  Gillian and I clicked immediately and I agreed to open Fourth Portal in two buildings that she has recently purchased.  Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, this was a risky venture as the town has been on a downward economic spiral for many years.  However, the locals are very friendly, chatty and welcoming and I have really taken to the town, so I decided to set up here.   At time of writing, 15 April 2020, no one knows how the Covid-19 outbreak will play out; basically the world is closing down for the spring.  What we do know is that beyond this period a new World will emerge, and I believe Fourth Portal will become one of the beacons for a positive more reflective future.

 

Thanks for your interest in Fourth Portal; I hope you will visit soon, John M