The UK’s First Road Safety Experience Uses Immersive Teaching To Save Lives

Last year I was invited to a Medway Dementia Action Alliance meeting at the new Kent Fire and Rescue Service building in Rochester, Kent. When I arrived I imagined we would be going into a boardroom as normal and that Kent Fire and Rescue Service were just kindly hosting us. We had been warned that if we wanted to attend the Road Safety Experience as well, then to arrive early. We were also warned not to attend this if we were of a sensitive disposition.

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As I entered the large foyer there was a crashed car in the middle of the floor. With my associates around me waiting, I presumed this was where the Road Safety Experience began. However this was not the case, and we were lead into a new room which was beautifully laid out as a small cinema.

I instantly realised I had completed misinterpreted the lovely new building – having opened in April 2016, this was no mere fire station as I had for some reason presumed (or fire station in the typical sense at all it turned out) or Kent Fire and Rescue Service HQ – this was an immersive teaching centre.

As I sat down and the lights dimmed, a film began to play. A young man who has been drinking gets into his car, turns his music up loud and drives off rapidly without fastening his seatbelt (literal schoolboy error). The music pumps out loudly from the cinemas speakers and you are taken into the young teenagers world. The excitement of driving through the night from one destination to the next, music blasting and making the car vibrate.

Of course, just as in harsh reality, this does not end well. The young man crashes and he and all his belongings go flying through and around the car. As the chaos ends he is left in the darkness – his phone vibrates and bleep’s with a text from his mum saying “Are u okay?”. The screen goes black and I hear sirens. Then, something completely unexpected happens, the screen the film was projected onto bounces up and disappears – revealing the car crash reenacted. Car debris are scattered across the stage area and the car is in carnage. We didn’t get the full experience on this occasion, but usually there would be firemen who come out to reenact the difficult task of trying to cut someone out of a car crash.

I could not actually believe what I was seeing, this was theatre being used to educate young minds, in a setting that was completely unexpected. I was so excited that someone, a group of people even, had been smart enough to realise the value of creativity and immersion for education.

I planned to visit again and take a deeper insight into the centre and what it was about, so I re-visited in December 2016.

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I sat down with road safety manager Lawrence Pater over a coffee and we discussed the way the Road Safety Experience came about. Lawrence explained that there were some vital lessons they wanted people to learn through the experience – from risk assessing an accident scene through to knowing that it is definitely 999 that you call in an emergency.

Lawrence asked me “When you were 16 did you worry about much else apart from yourself?” “No!” I replied laughing. “This is the issue, many young people do not think about situations outside of themselves, therefore we have to try and reach their heart to adopt a change in behaviour”. The point about behavioral change was a clear one, Kent Fire and Rescue are a trusted ‘brand’ to begin with – which helps people to listen and believe. Additionally,  the ‘experience’ rather than simple classroom teaching has more of an impact – you as an audience member, or even participant (I will explain in a minute) become involved.

Lawrence explained that the increase in drink driving and drug driving was becoming of such a serious concern, that something had to change to educate young people to be aware of the dangers. The centre is the first and only purpose built road safety experience in the UK – and we are lucky enough to have it here in Medway. I had to ask “How was this place and concept designed? It is so unique!”. “Students were involved in the design, they gave feedback about what would have the most impact and what they would engage with the most” Lawrence replied.

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I watched students from a local academy as they toured the other various experiences in the building.  There was a ‘bar’ scene where students had to guess how much alcohol they were “allowed” to drink before being over the limit. They then moved on to a large roulette wheel, where students had to guess the answers to certain questions and battle against their friends to score points. Then came the obligatory goggle glasses test, where students were asked to walk and balance on a raised platform.

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I asked some of the students about the experience and what had the most impact in the centre. They all agreed that it was the film, which is the the introduction to the experience day. Charlotte, 17, commented “When the young man crashed and his mum text him asking if he was okay, that really got to me. It made me think about how you should think about your parents when driving. Also I have learnt today that even if you were drinking the night before, you might still be over the limit the following morning and not be equipped to drive”.

I had a brief chat with a teacher who had brought her students to the centre, she said “This is a really good way of engaging students – it is realistic and has clear messages. The space is clearly designed for delivery and is very interactive – however it is also serious and had a clear impact on the student’s mood because this is a real danger”.

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Immersive teaching, often created by theatre groups like “Punchdrunk” or creative organisations “Ministry of Stories”, moves hearts and minds. “Visitor feedback tells us that immersive environments create the most memorable experiences” says Sarah Lockwood (Head of Learning and Interpretation at the National Maritime Museum) in a video about “Against Captain’s Orders” which was created at the museum by Punchdrunk.

The difference with Punchdrunk is they create theatrical immersive teaching experiences within spaces that would usually not usually have such. Kent Fire and Rescue Service have however created a permanent immersive teaching space that will likely be shaped by the needs of the time. Take a look at KidZania if you want to see a really full on version of what immersive teaching can look like!

 I can only hope that the future of education includes even more immersive teaching. Let me know if you have seen other great examples of what immersive teaching can look like!

To find out more visit www.kent.fire-uk.org or/and watch the video below.

By Natasha Steer

Escape Plan Live – Immersive Game At It’s Best – Chatham

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I first completed an Escape Plan Live Experience last year in 2015. Myself, Mr Creatabot and 3 friends had to solve some coded lock puzzles in the Gatehouse section of Fort Amherst. We had a brilliant time and learnt how the game worked by thinking about where the codes might be hidden. To win the game I would say you have to think in a non-linear fashion, very much out of the box.

I think 1 year may have been a little too long a time to have passed between games, as I will explain later.

Having helped facilitate the concept of including Escape Plan Live in the meanwhile use of Medway’s old housing benefits office, Riverside One, I had to of course try out the newest edition of rooms. Despite having been around during the refit of the space and being delighted about them making use of the old council advice booths (out of the box in the box thinking there) I tried to avoid plot spoilers as much as possible, so luckily had no idea of what to expect during my visit on Tuesday.

We played the game “Conspiracy” which sees the story of a murdered detective friend unfold. We were given 1 hour to get ourselves out of the room and find the codes the detective had carefully hidden. When I say hidden, well that’s an understatement. The codes for the padlocks, attached to a briefcase, were hidden in so so many places and ways in the room. The set was brilliant and very immersive, these guys really know how to design a space.

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I will repeat, I regret having left it so long since the last game! Despite there being a full group of 8 of us, we ran out of time. Those 60 minutes sped by and when we found out clues (a hidden item that I was convinced was in the room somewhere, was in an obvious place) we felt like fools!

I am not typing this from the room though, so we were allowed to leave despite our failure to solve the game, phew! I highly recommend having a go of Escape Plan Live, it is great for team building, getting to know friends better, experiencing something out of the ordinary and of course really really fun!

To see the variety of games and find out more, visit www.escapeplanlive.com

By Natasha Steer

30th June 2016

 

A Slightly More Interesting Interview With Two Cat Inspired Artists

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Slightly More Interesting are a Kent based artist duo who have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new range of brightly coloured cat inspired cards.

I was very pleased when not only did they agree to be interviewed but also created an exclusive Creatabot inspired cat design!

Who are you and where are you?

We are Paul Flood and Matt Hayward and we have lived in Medway all our lives. We work pretty much exclusively from Matts bedroom/office.

Matt & Paul (Respectively)
Matt and Paul

Why illustrations and why cat illustrations?

We chose cats as we both have two cats each and when your bedroom is your office then the Cats are your colleagues. We were both huge fans of Garfield cartoons when we were children and so when thinking of creating a cat project, illustration seemed the obvious choice for us.

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The real bosses at Slightly More Interesting…

Are you self taught creatives?

We both went to KIAD when we came out of school but both continued on with self teaching after we had finished our courses.

Matt specialised in digital design and I (Paul) worked primarily in ink. Through the process and other previous designs I have been learning the craft of digital design using Photoshop and Illustrator.

Congratulations on reaching your Kickstarter target! Can we expect to see many new characters in the new year or will moggies stay the focus?

We are already planning the future of our creation that will expand out into film/tv and video game homage designs staring out kitty creation.

We would also love to do an extensive range of ethnic holiday themed cards also. The thought has crossed our mind to include other animals in the future but for now it will be centred, much as our lives are, around the cats.

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Who inspires you?

We have been recently infulenced by Matt Groening, Justin Roiland and Ralph Steadman and would love to do a few future designs showing more influence of other styles while still keeping the integrity of the cat character intact.

Do you have a favourite type of music to listen to while creating?

Our creativity has recently had the soundtrack of many a podcast such as Grandma’s Virginity, No such thing as a fish, Down the line and RHLSTP.

What is your favourite place in Medway?

For us, Rochester castle Gardens is the best place to spend a day sketching and coming up with new ideas along with intermittent rounds of frisbee.


Thank you so much for talking to us and thank you so much for the amazing Creatabot Cat! I think I will be ordering a batch of cards for Creatabot supporters!

Please support Slightly More Interesting and back their Kickstarter by visiting www.kickstarter.com/projects/1337916852/cat-cards and making a pledge in return for some of their wonderful cards to call your own.

By Natasha Steer

Star Wars Day

The Dismal Time Machine – Medway Fun Palace 2015 – How It Was Made and Why

The Medway Fun Palace took place on the 3rd of October at Nucleus Arts in Chatham. After a lot of thought about what I might be able to contribute, I decided that with the impending Back To The Future II date in mind ( 21st of October 2015) I would create a Time Machine.

You see the problem already don’t you? For many weeks I was not quite sure how this was going to work. But I knew I would need a lot of boxes, due to the lack of a flux capacitor. In one of the Fun Palace meetings we spoke about lighting, a smoke machine, audio…within some type of large card box! 

Then one day, as I walked past a local greengrocers, I discovered tomato boxes. They are strong and they stack, and I have hot glue! What more could I need? Ah yes a helping hand!

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The boxes piled up in the Nucleus office!

Queue some workshops! Thank you to Stephen Bartholomew and family, Laura Fisher and family, Debbie Crow and Ben Boardman for supporting this crazy idea. Also Nucleus Arts for supporting the Time Machine project by providing space!

I soon realised that there was something missing as the machine started to take shape. It was lacking some comedy based around the fact the machine was made of tomato boxes. Then I realised, here was a strong connection to the absolutely incredible Dismaland, which I had been to within the first 3 days of opening may I add because…I am impatient. I started to plan how I could include an edge of Dismal to the experience for those who hadn’t made it to the real thing. I was so pleased when Esther agreed to be my fellow miserable colleague, to open the Time Machine to visitors.

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One of the installations at Dismaland – by Paul Insect

The machine took around 10 hours to finish, there was (did I mention?) tomato boxes, packing tape, gaffa tape and a lot of hot glue holding the machine together! We probably used around 100 small sticks of hot glue!

Once the ceiling had been secured, which mainly meant flat cardboard being securely taped to the box walls, the machine was surprisingly strong! This really is a great way to build an art installation.

Time Machine frame complete!
Time Machine frame complete!

We covered the inside of the machine with VHS tapes and weird vintage photographs, one was of a woman, Florence Priscilla, on an electric scooter in 1916.

Florence Priscilla
Florence Priscilla

I just had to make some finishing touches on the Saturday morning, get the fog machine going, and most importantly play the Power Of Love by Huey Lewis & The News and the Back To The Future Theme on a loop (I didn’t once get sick of it!). 

Someone brought their own mini installation of vicious, dangerous My Little Pony models, which were displayed to a backing track of “Only The Horses” By Scissor Sisters.

As our willing tourists came in they were handed an old Nokia mobile and given instructions to have a good time, but not too much of a good time. They walked through the machine to then be “greeted” by my assistant who told them there was a range of activities including climbing through a box, that went to no where, or taking a photo in the selfie hole.

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She explained though whatever they chose not to tell her as she didn’t really care. Anyone who touched the My Little Pony models were firmly told to not touch them as they were wild savage beasts. 

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They then got a text saying ” Now Get Out”.

Now I can’t really explain why…but we have over 100 people come through the Time Machine, some people even came back a second time. So that makes this my most successful exhibition yet. I didn’t have to smile once, which was great as I was ill. Unfortunately I couldn’t help but laugh quite a few times due to my assistants amazing improvisation, which at one point consisted of her telling visitors what happened to the last person that touched the ponies. She also told people to keep moving through the machine otherwise there won’t be a future for them to go to.

The entrance!
The entrance!
Inside the Time Machine
Inside the Time Machine

It really was a great day, we confused a lot of people, one lady left before she even went in (see, ‘actual’ time travel) one child cried. Definitely a success.

By Natasha Steer

natasha@creatabot.co.uk


On October the 3rd and 4th 2015 Fun Palaces took place across the UK. Fun Palaces are about creating and making together: they are a space where arts and sciences, fun and learning meet, working alongside and working together. See www.funpalaces.co.uk for more information. 

Creatabot Creative Of The Year 2015 – Xtina Lamb

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Xtina with her award                      Photo by Zara Carpenter

Back in late 2014 we asked the local community in Medway to vote for the person who inspired them in the local creative scene. After the tough task of deciding from the nominations who would be awarded the lovely title, it was decided by the judging panel that Xtina Lamb would receive the award for 2015 due to the wonderful work she does in Medway to support local arts.

Xtina helped to form the Medway Fine Printmakers and was a leading part of a collective that created the arts venue, INTRA, at 337-341 on the High Street, Rochester (the old High Street between Chatham and Rochester).

I interviewed her to find out more about her background and what she loves the most about doing the kind of work she does!

How long have you been doing printing and what made you get into it?

I started printmaking in the late 80s at college, first of all at Ware college with linocut, then on foundation at St Albans doing mono printing and etching and on my degree for a while doing screen printing at Falmouth. I loved it but ended up choosing painting instead for quite a while, and I think that was a good deal down to the lack of prestige afforded to printmaking in the art pecking order. I came back to printmaking when a friend Mark Pawson asked me to join a project he was doing. He invited 10 artists to make a print edition with the cult Japanese machine Print Gocco, which is similar to screen printing but you print with a pressing motion and can use several colours at once. I loved it, bought my own Gocco machine and from there ran courses and took part in several Gocco exhibitions.

From there I got back into screen printing. I’ve always really loved illustrated books and there is something about the quality of a handmade print that I find delicious to look at. I enjoy that there are traditional skills involved, but it’s also a very free medium open to lots of experimentation and an exciting range of marks can be made.

Where did you grow up? What made you choose Medway?

I grew up in Hertfordshire, just north of the M25, but didn’t really like it there much and always wished my family hadn’t moved out of London. I moved to Holloway after college and used an open plan workspace at Craft Central in Clerkenwell for a few years when I first got back to printmaking. I’d been gathering lots of art stuff though and when I had to move to a smaller flat and needed more space for it all, I rented a corner of studio space from Wendy Daws for storage. I had Medway friends through music and small publishing so was already spending time here.

Eventually I moved everything down to my own space at Boundary Wharf (on the border of Rochester and Chatham), when I realised I could have a 600sq foot studio by the river for the price of a box room sized space in London. My neighbour was fortuitously Adam Piper, another printmaker. We got on instantly and between us had amassed an impressive array of printmaking equipment. It made sense to work together, so we formed Medway Fine Printmakers.

What other creative talents do you have?

Before I moved my studio here, I did a week’s residency on Lightship LV21 with my craft gang Seaside Sisters with Gillian Elam and Linda White. We did all sorts of craft workshop events for festivals and craft fairs etc. and ran a giant marquee of craft workshops for the diamond jubilee pageant in Battersea Park. A lot of the activities we like are textile based and I love sewing and embroidery. I’ve also worked as an illustrator, doing book covers, editorial and advertising work. My creative talents don’t extend to music though, apart from I can make some agreeable noises on a musical saw.

Who and what inspires you to keep going?

It’s the people who love coming to INTRA who keep me going in my work. Since moving to this building and setting up an arts venue here that caters for all kinds creative activity, I’ve met so many people who really need art in their lives. I was very lucky to meet Faye Lamb who runs Unravel & Unwind the craft drop-in at INTRA as she brings fantastic energy to the space and has developed a lovely community here.

I spent a time after college where I didn’t make art and it wasn’t good for me at all! The things that inspire me in my art are often related to folklore and superstition. I’ve been making things on a lucky theme for a while and am interested in the ways small superstitious behaviours are so embedded in us we hardly notice them. I love the work that illustrator and curator Barbara Jones did mid last century, and in fact a lot of my favourite artists worked in that period. I can be inspired by a design on a colourful vintage tights packet, or a walk around the British Museum, or a wander in the Scottish highlands.

Tell us something unusual about yourself that most people don’t know?

Something unusual about myself? I have some extra lines on my fingers in between the joint creases. My Dad has them too. I designed a printers fist (the pointy hand symbol you get in old advertising and posters) that has an extra line on the pointing finger to reference my family trait!

Find out more at www.medwayfineprintmakers.co.uk

By Natasha Steer

Urban Expressions – New Street-based Arts Event – 27th-29th August 2015 – Chatham

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Urban Expression is an exciting new event aimed at celebrating different forms of streetbased arts, activity and creativity in locations around Chatham. A variety of activities will be happening in different locations around Chatham High Street, including: MC’ing, busking, parkour, dance, spoken word, street-art, eco-crafts, skateboarding and skating on the 27th and 28th August from 1-5pm.

Activities are aimed at young people aged 12 years plus – but are not exclusive to young people.

In preparation we will be running workshops over the next few weeks, keep an eye on our Facebook Page for more information.

Like and share the Facebook page to get updates on workshops and activities on the lead up to the event: https://www.facebook.com/urbanexressionsmedway


As part of Urban Expressions, The Urban Playground Team are bringing their parkour / dance performance STEAM: bOing! to Sun Pier, Chatham on the 27thand 28th August from 1-5pm.

As part of Urban Expressions, bOing! comes to Medway on Thu 27 & Fri 28 August this year, when the brilliant Urban Playground Team bring their energetic Performance-Parkour to Sun Pier, Chatham.

The Urban Playground Team will also be performing at bOing! (University of Kent) as part of the bOINg! weekend on 29 & 30 August.

STEAM

The Urban Playground Team are the original Performance-Parkour (2PK) company and are coming to Medway with an energetic dance-theatre piece unlike anything you’ve seen before.

In STEAM, The Urban Playground Team reimagine the life of a steam locomotive through scenes inspired by the silent movies of Buster Keaton, the gun fights of the old West and the rooftop stunts of James Bond.

Combining contemporary & urban dance with Parkour and physical theatre STEAM is brought to Medway by Gulbenkian as part of the bOing!2015 International Family Festival, Canterbury (29&30 Aug) and forms part of Urban Expressions in Chatham.

Performances will be at:

Thu 27 Aug – 1pm

Thu 27 Aug – 3.45pm
Fri 28 Aug – 1pm
Fri 28 Aug – 3.45pm

Recommended for all ages. Performance run-time: 20 mins.

Workshops and freeplay will take place between performances.

STEAM is presented in partnership with Medway Council.

Medway Youth Service Summer Activities 2015

This summer Medway Youth Service will be offering a variety of activities from youth centres and parks across the area. Outdoor sessions are free and other sessions cost between 50p and £1.00 per session.

Activities may include; Urban Arts, Break-dancing, Film, Archery, Cookery, Climbing, Graffiti murals, Music, Football and many more.

Downloadable Summer Activity Programs:

Medway West Summer Activities will be taking place in the following parks:

  • Hook Meadow, Weedswood, Chatham, 3 to 6 August, 1pm to 4pm
  • Northcote Rec, Strood, 10 to 13 August, 1pm to 4pm
  • Jacksons Field, Rochester, 17 to 20 August, 1pm to 4pm

Summer poster

Medway East Summer Activities Gillingham Area activities will be taking place at Woodlands Youth Centre, Woodlands Road, Gillingham on various dates.

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Woodlands will also be celebrating its 50th birthday with live music and a BBQ, by hosting the popular Garden Party event on the 25 July from 3pm to 9.30pm, FREE ENTRY.

Garden Party 2015

If your into skating, BMXing, scooters or street-art, join the ‘Cozzie Summer Jam’ at Cossington Park on
1 August, 12pm to 5pm.

Gillingham and Twydall Sports Week will be happening from the 3 to 7 August at venues including Medway Park, Skinner Street and Beechings Park Twydall.

Medway Youth Service Sports Week

For young people in the Chatham area StreetChat are organising a variety of activities, visit their Facebook page to find out more: www.facebook.com/streetchat.detachedproject

Please note: some activities have limited places.

For more information contact your local youth centre

or email: youth.enquiries@medway.gov.uk

Brief – For Local Artists To Design Artwork And Paint New Dickensian Themed Street Furniture For Rochester – Deadline 31st August 2015

BRIEF

Artist/Maker for bespoke Dickens Book Benches

 

Medway has an ambition to become known as Dickens Country; similar to Shakespeare’s County and with that in mind we wish to develop our brand of Dickens throughout the area.

 

Medway Council are looking to commission a Medway based artist to design a series of Book Benches with a Dickens theme, which will be placed in Rochester High Street, and surrounding area.

 

Ideally, following planning consent and permission from the owners we would look to place the first three at some of these points:

St Mary Meadows

Eastgate Gardens

The Vines

Guildhall

At the r/o the VIC

Each book bench is:

H: 920 x L1450 x W700                                  Weight – 36kg

 

The Book Benches are manufactured using a mixture of Class 2 fire retardant laminating resin and chopped roving fibreglass over an initial brushed-on layer of polyester gel coat. Each sculpture is finished with a primer and is ready to paint.

 

Finish will need to be hard wearing, weather proof and if possible graffiti proof.

 

Applications will need to take into account that Rochester is a conservation area and the design will need to be in keeping with the area.

 

The design for each bench should look unique and could be from a different Dickens novel or theme.  Visitors and community alike will then be able to have their picture taken on the books and they will bring some of the dickens stories to life as well as being more visible to visitors giving the dickens country a more visible presence in the area.

 

Timeframe

–          31st August briefs submitted

–          4th September Design chosen

–          7th September Planning application submitted

–          16th October planning consent decision

–          7th November installation of benches

 

Fee

The artist will be paid a fee of £3,000 for the commission to include sourcing and supplying all materials and any necessary hire charges for work space.

 

How to apply:

  • Provide a covering letter outlining your relevant previous experience and suitability for the commission, together with visuals/design ideas/sketches, and an outline plan for completing the work, including timescales and basic costings for the three benches.  Please also indicate where you will be completing the work (please note the benches will need to be painted off-site and will then be moved to the location where they are to be installed)

 

Submission will be by email to Lindsey.Horton@medway.gov.uk by 31st August 2015

Any further information required or for an informal chat please contact Lindsey.Horton

 

Applications will be judged on:

·         The relevance of the artist’s previous work and the potential quality of the commissioned work

  • The quality of the information / material supplied
  • How closely related to the brief the design is

Examples

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Exact locations have not yet been decided, but this would be discussed with the artist appointed to work.

To express your interest in this commission please contact Lindsey Horton – lindsey.horton@medway.gov.uk or on 01634 338255 

It would be beneficial to decide and quote your hourly/daily rate in the initial contact. If you need help in deciding your hourly rate please contact myself, Natasha Steer, on natasha@creatabot.co.uk or refer to this resource on the a-n website if you are a member https://www.a-n.co.uk/resource/fees-and-payments-for-artists.

I am also willing to support artists in project management (i.e. insurance, risk assessments, collaborations) and provide free advice for projects such as these. I want to see more local creatives involved in creating functional public art for public spaces, so please feel free to ask for that support! 

By Natasha Steer

UCA Student Reveals Sneaky Secrets About Her Degree Exhibition

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May and June are always one of the most creative months of my year, Summer supposedly starts, Fuse festival ignites and the local creative universities, UCA Chatham and the University of Kent’s School of Music and Fine Art reveal the incredible work students have been creating during their studies through brilliant free open days.

There have been a number of pieces that stood out to me, and hopefully one by one I can speak to each of those students, but the first graduate I would like to tell you more about is Louise Collins from UCA in Chatham.

Louise’s work was on quite a hidden floor of UCA, along with other Photography students work. I love painting stars and supernovas so her work caught my eye. Her write up divulged how during her research she had discovered that her Great Grandfather has been an amateur astronomer and although having already decided to concentrate on the cosmos for her final work, this had added another depth to her display as she was able to add photos of her Great Grandfather and diary entries that she had found of his.

Quite something eh? But there is a secret to be revealed, the whole story is made up. I spoke to Louise to find out more.

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So Louise what were you studying at UCA?

I was studying a BA in Contemporary Photography.

How did you come about creating this body of work?

I am very inspired by the work of Joan Fontcuberta and I wanted to create something that played on the idea of what you believe to be real, whether you see something as fact or fiction. I had the idea to develop photographs in the darkroom to look older than they actually were, but also needed an archive to back them up – so had to fabricate a whole story with evidence. So along with the photographs I created images that looked like photographs of the stars and also diary entries.

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Who was the man in your photographs?

It was my dad! He was really excited about being involved!

How did you create the supposed cosmos photographs?

They were created using bleach and bicarbonate of soda.

What made you decide to study photography?

I had studied Art at A-Level but felt I wasn’t advanced enough to earn a living through Fine-Art, so decide to move forward with Photography instead.

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What are you plans looking forward?

I am saving up to live and work in London, I would like to work in the creative industries within design, ideally as a problem solver. I really enjoy working as a team, so know I would be happier working within an organisation.

Thank you to Louise for speaking about your work with me.

To contact her email louiselindacollins@hotmail.com

By Natasha Steer

Steve Sinyard Talks About Why He Has Peanut Butter Fingers

logoNew indie clothing brandPeanut Butter Fingers has just been launched by Kent based designer Steve Sinyard. The brands look brings a refreshing look to the future of street wear and connected art prints. I caught up with Steve to ask him some questions about the edgy new brand.

So Steve, what role do you play in PBF?

So Peanut Butter Fingers is just run by me, all designs, social media everything is me with a little help from my girlfriend Lauren and my sister, Ally, who writes some of the blog content.

What made you set it up?

I won a Puma competition back in 2013 where I got to design Professor Green’s Limited Edition t – shirt. I loved seeing something I designed on clothing and from there I just had the bug for it!

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Where are you based?

I’m from Medway and lived there most of my life, for the past year I’ve been living in Tunbridge Wells but I’m back in Maidstone now.

Are you a multi-creative?

Illustration is my main passion, I’ve just moved into a flat with my girlfriend who loves to restore furniture so I’ve been helping out with that lately, I’d love to get into some water-colouring in the near feature.

Where would you love the brand to end up?

I don’t really have a main aim or goal for this, just going to see where it goes. I’d love to just be walking down the street and see some strangers, maybe a famous face or 2 wearing Peanut Butter Fingers.

A question I ask everyone – what’s your work soundtrack?

Current soundtrack at the moment… I’m listening to a lot of (local bands) Slaves, Wolf Alice, Mallory Knox and my all time favourite band, The Dykeenies – check them out! It all depends what mood I’m in, if I’m in a more relaxed mood I like to listen to a few comedy podcasts.

See the collection at www.peanutbutterfingers.co

You will be able to see more of the Peanut Butter Fingers brand and meet Steve at the Nucleus Arts Centre “ArtsFest” on the 16th May.

By Natasha Steer

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Creatabot Creative Of The Year 2014 – Nominations Open!

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It has been 2 years, YES TWO YEARS since the last Creatabot Creative of The Year Award. Wow, that is pretty crazy. The amount that myself and Richard Jeferies (the first winner!) have worked on since has been amazing. We teamed up for the site responsive theatre piece “Survived” at Sun Pier House, before it was brilliantly refurbished, and then Richard managed to get the role of creating the Chatham Mural, which was an incredible project! It was a 2 week project and now everyone in Chatham gets to see his work and the work created by over 200 people, which was curated and designed by Richard. This is literally 2 of so so many projects Richard has worked on. I don’t think I can list all the work he has been doing!

So, here we are, the 2014 Creatabot Creative of the year award. The winner will gain a lovely glass award as well as promotion and support through Creatabot.

This time I am going to do things a bit differently. I would like  you to recommend someone to me that deserves support and recognition in their creativity. Fill in this contact form and then myself and a panel will look at all the nominations and reasons for being submitted, then a winner will be announced in December.

Terms: This is open to creatives in Kent. Closing date for nominations – 29th November.

Medway’s Creative Spaces

Medway is lucky enough to have multiple arts spaces that each have something unique to offer. If you would like to book a days tour (for a small donation to the Creatabot project) please contact Natasha on natasha@creatabot.co.uk

Nucleus Arts

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Nucleus Arts is the Award Winning flagship arts organisation founded by the Halpern Charitable Foundation. The Foundation was the brainchild of the late Hilary Halpern and it was his dream to promote the Arts in Medway and Kent. Nucleus Arts has become the cultural and creative heart of Kent & Medway over the past 12 years and focuses on affordability, accessibility and excellence in the Arts. They run multiple workshops, events and training programmes.

The main centre is at 272 High Street, Chatham, where the gallery, conference room and main artists studios are based. The artists open studios are held here every 1st Saturday of the month for all to attend for free.

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Nucleus Arts also have creative studio space in Military Road, Chatham, Rochester High Street (which also includes retail space) and Lower Stone Street, Maidstone. All spaces have a lovely cafe managed by Cafe Nucleus.

Nucleus Arts are working in collaboration with multiple local charities on their Arts Inclusive programme to make sure the arts can be accessible to all.

Sun Pier House

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This Community Interest Company was formed in 2012 to support and promote the best of Medway’s talent, providing a base for established and start-up businesses in the creative sector.

Within the building, there is a large exhibition gallery, tea room, events space, hire rooms, artist studios, open plan creative office space with hot desk facilities, all enjoying a glorious panoramic view of the River Medway.

Sun Pier House CIC actively promotes the businesses working within Medway’s creative community, encouraging them to grow and develop to their full potential. Sun Pier House is right next to Sun Pier, Medway Street, Chatham.

POP Creative Space

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POP is an abandoned shop turned into a Creative space in the heart of Chatham, Medway. The shop has been funded by EU and Recreate and hosts various free events and exhibitions throughout the year. POP is at 64 – 66 High Street, Chatham.

Unravel and Unwind

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Unravel and Unwind are working to develop a “country cottage” style craft drop in centre for crafters of all abilities, ages, background and culture where they can come and craft while they socialise-practice-teach-learn.

Their aim is to create a friendly open environment,”a crafting home from home” ) where local crafters & families can practice, learn, teach and sell their crafts. A place where skills can be shared and new ideas encouraging community engagement, increasing social well-being, removing isolation and possibly mentoring transitions into employment. They are based at Intra Arts, 337-341 High Street, Rochester.

Intra Arts

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INTRA is a Medway based arts venue, hosting creative events, classes, activities and studios, and offering one of the best collections in Kent of specialist arts equipment accessible to the general public – especially specialist printing equipment.

The not for profit company Intra Arts Ltd. was formed in 2014 when they took on the former Spemco building in Rochester High Street. This Art Deco fronted, Victorian building is much loved in the historic area of ‘Chatham Intra’. Their aim is to provide an arts programme, creative opportunities and education in a space that welcomes people of all ages, abilities and circumstances. They are based at 337-341 High Street, Rochester.

Making It! – Project and Career Workshop for 9-15 year olds – Chatham – 15th August 2014

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15th July 2014

10am

Nucleus Arts Chatham

This workshop will help young people to think about what they would like to do as a young person. Would they like to run a certain project? Maybe they would love to run their own business? Maybe they want a career in a certain field? The workshop will be a fun event that will help young people to plan practically what they can do to achieve their goals, whilst also considering how valuable they can be to their community. It will include drama, drawing and various creative projects. Lead by Natasha Steer.

Parents can leave their children in the workshop whilst shopping or having a coffee in our lovely cafe.

Tickets cost £5 – book below.

https://www.eventjoy.com/e/making-it-project-and-career-workshop-for-9-15-year-olds-298466

The Shop Full Of Felt – Cornershop

 

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A London based artist has began her path to re-opening an abandoned cornershop, with all the stock completely re-made out of felt and wool.

Lucy Sparrow, a textile artist originally from Bath, has already started creating the felt products after a successful Kickstarter programme raised money to create items for the project. The Cornershop, based in Bethnal Green, will be visited by both local passers-by and art audiences. Once inside the shop they will not only be able to view the products, but also handle, and even buy them.

The funding through Kickstarter has paid for materials and 1 months rent for the shop, but Lucy is seeking further sponsorship or funding to pay for the planned outreach programme.

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The Cornershop pivots around 12 community workshops which will teach creative skills and be developed in collaboration with local community groups. The workshops will involve those of all ages as well as people who are socially excluded and those suffering from mental illnesses.

Speaking about the Cornershop Lucy says ”With the project I hope to help re-create the community contact that used to revolve around local cornershops, by engaging with local people. I want to help bring back the communication and friendship that used to exist around a familiar building, which is what the cornershop will become. We want to work with local people and help them gain new skills through the project, which can then be developed and passed on to others”.

To follow progress of the project and find out more visit: http://www.thecornershopblog.com

By Natasha Steer

 

The Days When Gillingham Fraggle Rocked

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I have always been a huge Jim Henson fan, my dream was to work at their Creature Studios in Camden, I was even offered work experience there whilst at college, which sadly fell through as they began working on a “top secret project” – I now believe this was actually closing the Camden studios.

It is no secret that I love Medway, and now I am in love a little bit more thanks to my friend Laura Murthy breaking the news on Facebook that the UK inserts were filmed in none other than Medway’s very own Gillingham.

For those who didn’t already know (like me) where the joy that is Aldi now sits (although I do like their waffles) once sat the Plaza cinema, which was built in 1931. At the time it was one of the most modern cinemas in Kent with seating for 1,800 people. This then closed in November 1980 and was bought by TVS South and turned into studios.

Attribution prefabkid - Kent History Forums
Attribution prefabkid – Kent History Forums

“The original intention had been to sell it off as soon as Maidstone was open but TVS hung onto it for a while, making programmes such as regional afternoon magazine Not for Women Only and from 1986 The Television Show, which was broadcast live from here on Sunday evenings across the ITV network.

Oddly, the show that kept the studio open was Muppets spin-off Fraggle Rock, which ran from 1983-1987.  Once this ended the studio was hardly used so it was put up for sale early in 1988 and was purchased by Network One TV in June 1989.  (This company also took over the Greenwood in 1990.)  Masterchef was made here then, plus a handful of other shows.  It closed as a studio in July 1991 and following a brief spell as a Quasar laser gaming centre, it lay empty for several years and was demolished in 2001.”(Taken from TV Studio History)

Attribution - Kyn - Kent History Forum
Attribution – Kyn – Kent History Forum/KM

Victor Pemberton who was co-producer at the time says “We took over an old cinema in Gillingham in Kent, and it was wonderful. The auditorium was cleared of seats, the stage was raised and extended.” (www.adventuresinprimetime.wordpress.com/2008/06/01/return-to-fraggle-rock)

The UK scenes involved the internal shots of the lighthouse, where Sprocket the dog lived with the lighthouse keeper, and of course, the tell tale “tiny cave in the wall”. (if anyone knows of other shots filmed there involving more Fraggles please say)

The main episode I remember, which was the episode I watched over and over again,  was when the water of Fraggle Rock was poisoned and Boober pleads for the humans to make it stop. The scenes that were filmed in Gillingham (inside the lighthouse) can be seen in this clip. I now watch this in awe even more, when realising it was filmed on ground I have walked over many times without even realising. It may sound silly, but it makes me a bit emotional! Here is the clip for you to enjoy…

By Natasha Steer

Creepy Retro Gaming Night – 28th March 2014 – Chatham

Creepy Retro

NEW LOCATION!

Retro’spect Kent and Creatabot present a classic night of retro computer gaming, with an additional creepy retro gaming Vault. Prepare for a nostalgic evening gaming on Atari, Amiga, Playstation and Commodore consoles plus more.

Children welcome but only with a parent/guardian.

Feel free to bring your consoles and games to trade!

Drinks and snacks available at the in house cafe (including a selection of alcoholic drinks)

Location 5 mins walk from Chatham train station.

Place: 13 Military Road, Chatham, Kent

Time: 7.30pm

 

We are afraid there is no disabled access to this event.

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Creatabot Funded To Run Project To Help Mobility impaired

CreataboX at Home

Application now open – see here.

Creatabot has been awarded funding from Creative People and Places (Medway and Swale) to run a brand new project aimed at helping people with mobility problems to still be involved in their local arts community.

CreataboX At Home will provide 50 people in Medway and Swale with materials needed to create small pieces of their own choice for the CreataboX Art Dispenser, which is present at many events in the local community. They will be given photos and videos from events so that they can see their contribution is appreciated in the community. 

Additionally if they are on occasion well enough to attend events, then transport will be provided, and they will also be given the opportunity to be given transport to local creative classes if they are able. People will also be given, if they wish, a Crafting Companion – someone who will visit them and provide company and encouragement whilst creating their chosen pieces.

MakingApart from various basic council/government/food services there is little in the UK to help people who are housebound feel involved in their local community, especially when it comes to local arts. Even from their own home they can contribute and be valuable to their local area, and the CreataboX At Home project will help make this happen. 

The project will also support those whose contact with their local community is limited due to mental and physical health conditions.

We will soon be releasing more details as to how people apply to be involved, in the meantime we would like to hear from people who would like to help support the project, especially those who are able to transport the CreataboX vending machine to events (petrol costs provided).

If you would like to help please email Natasha Steer on natasha@creatabot.co.uk 

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Living Africa – A Talk with Steve Bloom – Saturday 5th April 2014 – Canterbury

 
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Join internationally acclaimed photographer, author and adventurer Steve Bloom as he takes you on an incredible visual journey across Africa. It is staggeringly comprehensive: dynamic wildlife and landscapes from desert to jungle; human cultures from remote village to teeming metropolis.
This will be followed by a Q&A and book signing.

A 365 fundraiser event, brought to you by Kent Creative Arts CIC

Tickets: Full £9 / Student £7.50

Saturday 5th April 2014
7.30pm
The Gulbenkian, Canterbury, CT2 7NB

Book is now open! Book your tickets here:
http://365projects.co.uk/steve-bloom-living-africa/

My Favourite Things Cocktail Night – 28th February 2014 – 7.30pm – Chatham

Photo by Walter Wick
Photo by Walter Wick

It has been a while but the event “My Favourite Things” is back and better than ever. Being held in the Nucleus Cafe in Chatham, the evening promises to bring inspiration, stories and creativity.

A selection of cocktails will be available for the reduced price of £5 and teas/coffees/soft drinks are also available. Booking only costs £1 and you can book by buying a ticket below.

Favourite things is a “take your turn” discussion about what inspires you and why. This could be an album, film, instrument, a particular type of creative skill, a piece of art…anything! If you can bring examples with you we will have a laptop to show videos from You Tube.

No need to dress up – this is a relaxed event, just come and chill and chat!

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Buy tickets for My Favourite Things

My Favourite Things Cocktail Night – 28th February 2014 – 7.30pm

South East

Medway Photo Festival – 21st to 26th January 2014

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The Medway Photo Festival happens once a year in January and takes place in Rochester and Chatham. The photography exhibitions will all be open from 21st January to 26th January 2014. Exhibitions will feature exciting new work from students in their 2nd year studying Photography as Contemporary Practice at the UCA Rochester. This year the festival has become part of the Recreate project for Medway, which supports the development of the creative industries in specific regions of the UK and France.

 

EXHIBITIONS

FUSION
64 Chatham High Street
Chatham, ME4 4DS

BLACK BOX
SPEMCO BUILDING
337-341 High Street
Rochester, ME1 1DA

EPHEMERAL
NUCLEUS ART GALLERY
272 High Street
Chatham, ME4 4BP

FON-DU
SUN PIER HOUSE
Sun Wharf, Medway Street
Chatham, ME4 4HF

EVENT

ART IN FOCUS DAY

Sun Pier House: Saturday 25th January, 11am – 3.30pm

This event will introduce the audience to a diverse range of artists who predominantly produce work within the Medway region. Each speaker will present their work and reflect upon their inspirations and working methodology. Photography students from the University for the Creative Arts (Rochester) exhibiting as part of the Medway Photo Festival will also present their projects and group exhibitions. The day will provide a fascinating insight into the ideas and work produced by both professional and student practitioners.

11.00 – Introduction
11.15 – Rodrigo Orrantia (Art historian & curator)
11.45 – Fon-Du & Fusion Exhibition groups
12.15 – Jane Pitt (Sound artist)
12.45 – 1.30 – Lunch
1.30 – Xtina Lamb (Printmaker)
2.00 – Ephemeral & Black Box Exhibition groups
2.30 – Wolf Howard (Pinhole photographer)
3.00 – Panel discussion
3.30 End

 

www.medwayphoto.co.uk

Rochester and West Kent Art Society Welcomes New Members

1239788_436693566445372_1553442227_nEstablished in 1927, The Rochester and West Kent Art Society exists to encourage the appreciation of Art in its different styles and mediums and to reinforce the artistic skills of its members.

Members and guests of the society meet at the Conference room, The Brook Theatre,Old Town Hall, Chatham. Kent ME4 4SE.

Every first Wednesday of the month, there will be a Workshop. Participation fees: member £1, guest £2

Every third Wednesday of the month, there will be an Art Demonstration or Presentation by a renowned artist. Participation fees: member £2, guest £5

Time: From 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Annual Membership: £20

The Society’s Schedule includes workshops, lectures, demonstrations, Summer outdoor painting and exhibitions.

Artists of all levels of expertise are invited to join. For more info:

Contact:  rochesterandwestkentartsociety@yahoo.com
Website/blog : http://rochesterandwestkentartsociety.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RochesterAndWestKentArtSociety

Nucleus Arts – A Video Introduction

Nucleus Arts is the Award Winning flagship Arts organisation founded by the Halpern Charitable Foundation. The Foundation was the brainchild of the late Hilary Halpern and it was his dream to promote the Arts in Medway and Kent. Nucleus Arts has become the cultural and creative heart of Kent & Medway over the past 12 years and focuses on affordability, accessibility and excellence in the Arts.
Featuring a wide variety of works by local artists, Nucleus aims to prove that beautiful, original and unique works of art can be both attainable and affordable, whilst at the same time providing low-cost studio space to artists in order to enable them to be able to practice their Art.
Now in our 12th year, Nucleus Arts has sites in Chatham, Rochester and Maidstone where artists can create and display their work. Open to the public (and free to enter), constantly updated, the Nucleus showrooms are a haven for local art lovers and a wonderful retreat for those who want a little something different from their shopping trip.

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Sky Academy Arts Scholarships For Artists Aged 18-30 – Closes 6th December 2013

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For the third year running Sky, in association with IdeasTap, is giving away five £30,000 bursaries and mentoring support to artists aged 18-30 from the UK and Ireland. Applications are open to individuals working in the following fields:

·       Performing arts

·       Dance

·       Music

·       Visual art

·       Creative producing

·       Creative writing

Find out more and apply at www.ideastap.com/sky

Blast From The Past – The Chatham Vines Project

By Matt Bray
By Matt Bray

FrancisKnight were appointed by Medway Council to work with international artist John Newling and consultancy ArtOffice to project manage Chatham Vines.

Chatham vines was a major commission to install and nurture a vineyard of 32 Pinot Noir vines grown hydroponically in St John’s Church, Chatham. Before the vines were removed the grapes were harvested and made into wine, some of which was used in the Easter Sunday Eucharist Service at Rochester Cathedral.

As part of our role we supported John Newling, provided day to day management of the vines and devised an education programme to accompany the commssion. A limited edition hardback artist book documented the award winning installation.

Chatham Vines scooped the Rouse Kent Public Art Award for 2006 and the internationally acclaimed art critic, Richard Cook of The Times said:

“In full bloom, it must have been a magical experience, even for visitors who knew nothing about contemporary art. It turned out to be a powerful, poetic symbol of regeneration for a disused church waiting to be transformed in the regeneration of Chatham town centre.”

http://francisknight.co.uk/projects/project/chatham-vines-by-artist-John-Newling/

Learn More about Medway’s Secret Island During Medway Visions Film Festival – 12th September

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A film documenting the experiences of an artist living on Darnet Island for 6 weeks last summer is being screened at Gillingham library on the 12th of September as part of the Medway Visions film festival.

Otherness; Forty Five Days on the Isle of Beauty, shows the life David Wise lived during 6 weeks camping on Darnet Island in the Medway Estuary. David lived partly off the food he found there and recorded life with a variety of means including a pinhole camera made from driftwood.

The film is a great way to see parts of Medway that most of us have never seen, and learn more about the nature around us that often goes un-noticed.

The free screening will take place on the 12th of September at 7.30pm and will be followed by a questions and answers session with David Wise. At the screening David will also be launching his complimenting book which will be on sale at £15 which includes a £5 discount.

People can book by calling the library on 01634 337799 or email chatham.library@medway.gov.uk with the reference “45 Days Of Beauty”.

A poem dedicated to the memory of Hilary Halpern

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I moved to Medway some time ago

This place inspires me, as you well know

I wanted to help with the amazing creativity

To help it be seen by more, to prevent exclusivity.

 

But fortunately I had somewhere to start

Someone had already helped Medway’s art

This man was someone who needed a studio himself

But was happy to share space with someone else.

 

So he looked for a place that would be just right

And in Chatham High Street he found just the site

There was room for lots of artists, not just him

And this is where Nucleus arts was to begin.

 

He saw in Medway there was a need

So in making studios for artists he took the lead

Him and his daughter made lots of studios and gallery space

At last creatives in Medway could find their place.

 

All that happened in 2002

And the arts centre just grew and grew

And now as the arts scene here continues to boom

Nucleus arts continues to bloom.

 

Over 400 artists have been there to create

The effect on Medway has been great

I know I will never forget what Hilary done

So Medway creatives, let us make sure the work he started, carries on.

By Natasha Steer

 

Dedicated to the memory of Hilary Halpern – founder of Nucleus Arts Centre.

It was Hilary’s wishes that donations should be made to Nucleus Arts  – click here for more details.

Crista Cloutier – The Video All Creatives Need To See

Crista Cloutier gave a motivating talk about the struggles and joys of crowdfunding at the East Kent Cultural Conversation in Canterbury on the 4th June 2013, and I was lucky enough to be there. For anyone passionate about their projects, this is a must see. For me the part where she talks about those that support her, and those that do not, her words could not have been more true for how I felt at that time – and often do still. But her talk helped to encourage me, to not give up. Hopefully it will help you too.

www.theworkingartist.com

http://www.cristacrista.com

An Interview With Jasper Littman – Savile Row Tailor

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Jasper Littman creates bespoke mens suits and works from his studio on Savile Row. I thought it would be interesting to ask Jasper Littman about his background and creativity.

So what is your creative background?

I didn’t study any creative subjects at university but I was trained at Kilgour (Savile Row) to understand and appreciate the importance of balance and silhouette.

The aim when designing a new cut was always to flatter the wearer, as well as being distinctive enough to look very different to an off-the-peg suit.

What other career paths have you taken?

None.

Who inspires you both locally and universally?

Locally I’m inspired by the old guard on Savile Row – the cutters and coatmakers that have forged Savile Row’s reputation over the years.  Universally I’m not sure.

What would you like to achieve in the future?

I’m aiming to grow the business to the point where my cut is easily recognisable to the sartorially minded and is established as a permanent fixture in London.

Can you recommend a creative website you love?

As an amateur photographer, I enjoy looking at other photographers accounts on Flickr and Zenfolio.

Do you have a “get to work” album? (music that helps get you motivated to create!)

I have to work in complete silence, sadly. Music distracts me.

You can find out more about the personally tailored suits Jasper Littman makes at www.jasperlittman.co.uk

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Catch Up With The Contributors!

The lovely Creatabot contributors have been very busy in their creative adventures, so I thought it would be nice to have a little catch up with some of them and see what they are up to!

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“I’m currently working on a new body of work in preparation for my first solo show which is scheduled to open around Halloween this year in Bocs Gallery [http://www.bocs.org.uk/] in Caernarfon, North Wales, so I’m locked away in the studio drawing lots of birds and skulls!

My day job in MOSTYN [www.mostyn.org] takes up the rest of time, its Wales leading contemporary art gallery, and I’m currently co-managing the shop which specialises in contemporary applied art and craft, so I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by lots of inspiring artwork and craft.” – Badge

Jane Ayres

Lots of change in the pipeline for Jane.  Her contract for University Centre Folkestone (part of Canterbury Christ Church University) as Marketing & Outreach Coordinator ends in July, when, sadly, UCF will no longer exist, with academic courses moving back to Canterbury. Although Jane will be teaching a few hours a week from September on the BA Creative and Professional Writing, she will be taking on freelance projects in the creative industries and is open to new ideas and challenges.  She’s also doing a few talks and workshops locally, including work for Stepping Stone Studios.  For more info on these go to http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/p/news-and-events.html

Jack Burrows

” I’m currently volunteering at a company in Sheffield called Trivoloution, I’m doing all of their marketing for them.  So that’s rather exciting!  Also, as you know – I’ve been doing filming projects and things with a couple of friends with Fir Trees Productions – which has been slow, I must admit – but we’ve simply been planning anything we can…and attempting to gain clients whom we can create adverts for.  (Including my volunteer work, we have 2 clients which is great!).  As for future plans, I’m hoping all this experience, as well as my A-levels from last year will get me into University, when I re-apply in September for Marketing & Advertising”. – Jack

Really glad everyone is busy with creativity! Keep it up! – Natasha x

Chatham Mural Project Workshop Dates Announced – All Welcome

Would you like to be part of an exciting community art project to paint a big mural showing scenes from Chatham’s past present and future? The site is next to Homestyle 206/206A Chatham High Street. Artist Richard Jeferies will develop designs based on your ideas and work with you to paint the mural. Whether you are 9 or 99 years old you are welcome to join in!

Workshops to develop the designs will take place on these dates at:

Nucleus Arts Centre – Conference Room

High Street

Chatham

Sunday 9th June 2pm to 4pm

Monday 10th June 6pm to 8pm

Wednesday 12th June 6pm to 8pm

Painting the mural: Monday 1st to Friday 12th July

Launch – 13th July alongside Medway Open Studios launch

The mural project has been developed by DNA and the workshops and mural are being developed by artist Richard Jeferies.

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A Big Thank You To The Survived Team!

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We had great fun making the site responsive theatre show – Survived.

I want to say a big thank you to the following people, who I really look forward to working with again – because they are awesome! Also thank you to all who came, we really appreciated it and we hope that these events can get better and better over time, with more and more interesting locations. Thank you to everyone that wrote scripts for the recordings too, and those who helped with recordings.

Thank you also to everyones help and support with Survived, I think you are all brilliant! 

Chris Reed – Actress – Hippy patient

Ciaran McKay – Actor – Light treatment room

Colin Marrison – Filming

Dave Norris – Actor – Coffee machine repair/swabbing

Dee Hudson – Actress – Extra Sensory Nurse

Isabella Jeferies – Emily

Katie Charlton – Actress – Angela

Lance Philips – Actor – Coffee machine repair

Lee Philips – Props

Luka Lukasik – Actor – Hydro Therapy

Nick Shannon – Assistant and receptionist

Nikki Price – Photographer and actress – Waiting Room Assistant

Richard Jeferies – Actor – Professor Smith

Riven Gray – Make up and actress – Counselling Services

Roy Smith – Audio recordings and actor – Waiting Room supervisor

Sam Froudist – Stage Manager

Sarah Hehir – Script and actress – Probe Nurse

Sophie Williams – Actress – Mad swabbing lady

Thomas Kelly – Actor – Hydro Wave Therapy

Look forward to the next show! 😉

Natasha Steer

Chatham Mural Project To Bring Community Together In Creativity

The boards to be used in Chatham.
The boards to be used in Chatham.

A mural recently commissioned for Chatham High Street by the DNA project (Developing Neighbourhoods Approach) has given the go ahead to local artist Richard Jeferies.

Richard, from the Isle of Sheppey, is trained as an architect and has been running various creative workshops for over 10 years. He has been very involved with local arts projects, and is part of the team who developed the CreataboX art vending machine which will be launched at Fuse Festival 2013.

For the mural Richard hopes to bring a mix of art and recycling objects together for a unique display, which will be developed with a huge amount of help from the local community. The local community will also have the opportunity to develop ideas for the mural as well as actually make the mural. Richard also aims to create and launch the mural with events involving other creatives, including musicians and performers.

You can keep up to date with the development of the mural and call outs for help on Creatabot. For more details email natasha@creatabot.co.uk

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Richard received the Creatabot of the Year Award in 2012.

Call Out For Designer – Mural For Chatham High Street Project – By Medway Council – Deadline 7/05/2013

The boards to be used for the mural in Chatham.
The boards to be used for the project in Chatham. CC Attribution – Natasha Steer

Medway Council have released details for a commission to help create a mural in Chatham High Street.

The artist’s brief is to create a design based on feedback and to facilitate and support local people in the community to paint a mural. The working title for the mural is ‘Chatham – past, present and future’.

In June 2012 a residents’ working party was set up to identify the improvements needed in Chatham town centre. Following a series of consultation events in the wider community, a number of priorities and potential projects were identified. These included enhancing the appearance of the High Street through ‘Greening and Street Art’. Young people played a role in the consultations and suggested that painting a mural in the town centre would ‘give young people something to do’ and ‘if the High Street is made to look nice people will care about it’. Through discussion in the Residents Working Party, the idea of an intergenerational project with young people working alongside older members of the community evolved.

AIMS

  • To enhance the appearance of the site by creating an attractive art mural
  • To instill a sense of pride in Chatham by depicting scenes from its past, present and future
  • To foster trust and co-operation between younger and older residents through team-working

This is connected with the Developing Neighbourhoods Approach (DNA) project, which supports local residents to improve quality of life by empowering them to make changes in their communities.   

The deadline is the 7/05/2013

For the full details and to apply download the application form here:  https://t.co/67Rtl9VH9y

AREA: South East      Medway      Kent

Art Vending Machine For Medway – Lets Do This!

ArtVendingMachine

So…Leeds have recently been featured on the BBC news website  regarding their new art vending machine, and fellow creatives here in Medway think it is only fair Medway and Kent have one too. So lets make it happen.

Included in the vending machine could be art as seen in the BBC link.

Also poetry like this carried out here: http://nicelledavis.com/2013/02/19/we-made-our-kickstarter-goal-poetry-vending-machines-are-on-the-way/

The machine could tour round different venues and events 🙂 it would be so cool!

Any other ideas?

I am apprehensive to start an official crowd funder yet. It would be great to generate interest then ask people to send the money to a certain Paypal address – or just pay in cash at selected venues in Medway.

Ed Jennings has kindly worked out we need around £200 to buy a machine and the initial containers for the machine.

Can people who are willing to support financially, even a few £  –  please add a comment or email me?

Thanks guys! And thank you to Richard Jeferies for the encouragement to do this! 🙂

Natasha x

natasha@creatabot.co.uk

Get Your Application In For Medway Open Studios 2013 – Deadline 26th April

The Hazelnut Press studio - part of The Ridley Road Group
The Hazelnut Press studio – part of The Ridley Road Group

Registration for the Medway Open Studios and Arts Festival closes on Friday 26 April. All artists and makers from the Medway area are being urged to sign up quickly and avoid missing out on being a part of this creative festival.

Now in its second year, the arts festival has increased by 100% since its launch in July 2012. This summer, 30 venues will be displaying work by more than 100 local artists and students, making it the largest independent art festival in Medway.

To encourage more artists to sign up a Makers Market option has been introduced, offering pitches inside the new emerging art venue, Sun Pier House. The art market will be open over the weekends of the festival, with various products and crafts on sale. Apply before Friday 26 April to book your place.

The festival runs from Saturday 13 to Sunday 21 July 2013. For more information please visit www.medwayopenstudios.co.uk

 

Area: Kent       South East     Medway

Call Out For Actors, Actresses, Artists and Geeks – Site Responsive Theatre Event – Medway

Photo by Alexey Grachev
Photo by Alexey Grachev

I love alternative art in unusual places. I also love interactive art. For a few years now I have been knocking around the idea of organising my own site responsive theatre event in Medway, and have talked to a few people about it. I have held a few sciencey and geek events, and I think I have a better idea of how to do this now.

Having seen the amazing Dreamthinkspeak’s “In The Beginning Was The End” in Somerset house yesterday, it has pushed me to bite the bullet and put a call out to people who want to be involved in my idea.

This first stage is an experiment, I will be learning along with everyone else. The basic idea is to throw visitors to the theatre into a really weird unusual setting, in which they will be given a tour by actors and meet some unusual characters.

If you do not know what site responsive theatre is – please watch this:

I need the following types of people to make it happen.

  • Actors/actresses
  • Artists
  • People who love science

Things I need

  • Any weird unusual equipment you are happy to loan out. From computers to lighting.
  • Unusual art  linked with science, medicine and technology.

I can not guarantee how much people will be paid, but it will be ticketed which will pay for the space and if we encourage enough people to come we can generate some funds for all those volunteering – I just can’t guarantee how much.

Things to note:

  • The space will be in Medway
  • It will take place on a weekend evening.
  • It will be held in late May.

Please email me at natasha@creatabot.co.uk if you want to make this happen. Who’s with me?

Featured Creative: David Faltrego – Surreal Artist

les citroen

I love surreal art, Dali is one of my favourite artists in fact. So when I discovered David Faltrego’s work at Medway Open Studios last year I was excited to find a local artist creating surreal artwork. I thought everyone would be interested to find out more about David, who lives in Medway,  so here is a little interview with him…

So David, tell us more about your background and how you ended up creating surreal artwork?

Just prior to leaving school I was briefly interviewed by a recruitment representative from Maidstone Art College who wasn’t impressed. I had insufficient supporting grades, my portfolio was apparently of an unexceptional calibre and my “bolshie” attitude probably sealed my fate! I seriously doubt I would have lasted the course anyway as I don’t listen or rather I take on board only what interests me.

Today I paint whatever I please, as and when I please…

Other than an “A” Grade O Level, I’ve no further art qualifications. I have no awards and since I never submit to competitions I never will. Paradoxically my greatest delight in winning any award would be in politely declining it!

As a surrealist it can be a struggle both selling work and gaining acceptance into a gallery, since this particular genre is generally frowned upon and receives little credibility within the art world, particularly in the UK. Never the less I continue to plough a lone furrow quite simply because this is what I enjoy.

cattle of an udderworld

I began painting as a hobby, doing quite a lot of commission work throughout the 1980’s. However, by the end of the decade I’d become thoroughly bored with it all, I never really enjoyed commissions – but it funded some travelling at the time. This coincided with several galleries declining to show my work, leaving me totally disillusioned with the Art world. It was a further 12 YEARS before I picked up a brush, following persistent badgering from an ex work colleague who was into the “arts”. This time I was determined to do it differently – No more commission work and no appeasing others tastes. Self-indulgent? Absolutely!

I gradually amassed a small body of work to compliment my older material. By chance in passing, I stumbled upon the Nucleus Gallery in Chatham and I asked if I may hire their gallery for an exhibition. For the very first time I received a positive response without the stuffy, elitist attitude.

I had my first solo exhibition in May 2010, followed by two more in 2011 and 2012 and the feedback has generally been very good. Of course I cannot hope to please everybody, after all art is essentially subjective. You wouldn’t expect an opera lover to attend a punk rock concert but it’s still all music of sorts.

magic roundabout

Is your art your main income?

I know I’ll never make a living from painting, therefore it has always remained something I do in my spare time because I enjoy it. To pay the bills I have always worked in the printing industry as a Finisher, for a number of different companies in Kent.

Who inspires you both locally and universally?

Locally I would have to say several people connected with Nucleus Arts who have offered me encouragement particularly at the shops in Rochester and Maidstone.

On a much wider scale – since much of my work makes references to my childhood growing up in the 60s-70’s then my parents must take some credit. We certainly never had the material things but we did have everything that really matters, resulting in some of the best times that live on in my memories and sometimes resurface in my works.

Anything that messes with the logical way of thinking, the absurd, random thought process, etc – that’s what fascinates me!

Inspiration maybe stretching it but my art tutor at school could take some credit for allowing me virtual carte blanche to express myself rather than push me into the “traditional” route as he did with most others – although I’d have probably done as I please regardless! Universally, Artists I admire – Dali and Magritte (obviously), also Brueghel, Bosch and Vermeer who weren’t surrealists.

The music of the Beatles (post 1967) and Pink Floyd has influenced my thinking certainly. I’ve long since found inspiration from the surreal humour of Python and more latterly Eddie Izzard as well as the dark tales of the Brothers Grimm. Anything that messes with the logical way of thinking, the absurd, random thought process, etc – that’s what fascinates me!

serving the master

What are your plans for the future?

The future?, who knows. Currently I’m nearing completion of a whole new set of work due for exhibiting in August 2013 at Nucleus Chatham. Ideally I would like my work to be acknowledged with more credibility but I won’t hold my breath. A wider audience would be nice – that’s all.

Are there any other skills you would like to learn?

Other skills – not really. I’ve already discovered what I enjoy most and indeed what I do best. I simply wish to continue improving on what I’m already doing. As long as I have the ideas and desire to paint I will do so, but if or whenever I feel my standards are falling or I become disillusioned again, I will stop.

Are there any website you enjoy looking at?

I view Deviant Art, Red Bubble and Saatchi Gallery from time to time.

Thank you so much David for talking to us, we are really looking forward to seeing more of your work at the exhibition in August!

toys in the attic

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Geek Heaven – Minecraft : The Story Of Mojang – film screening + Retro and Minecraft Gaming 6th and 7th April 2013 – Rochester

Minecraft-The-Story-of-Mojang

Inspired by the recent GEEK festival in Margate and after the success of the Medway GEEK satellite events, Creatabot is screening the film Minecraft : The Story of Mojang in Rochester, thanks to the great guys at 2 Player Productions!

The film will be screened at 161 High Street, Rochester on the 7th April at 7.30pm.

Also on the 6th of April 7pm at the same venue coFWD in collaboration with Creatabot and Retrospect Kent are holding a retro gaming night – as well as a group server Minecraft gaming night (depending on the amount of laptops people bring with Minecraft on!)

Retrospect Kent will be bringing lots of retro games consoles, their nights are brilliant, you cannot miss this!

To book for the film please go here – www.minecraftscreeningcofwd.eventbrite.com

To book for the gaming night please go here – www.retroandminecraft.eventbrite.com

Any questions email natasha@creatabot.co.uk

retrosmall

Gig Review – Post War Years – Cargo – 25th February 2013

PWY Cargo

The joy with future music, is that we can only guess what it will be, and it doesn’t yet have a genre. Having just read a review of Post War Years new album, Galapagos, my thoughts are only confirmed. The review said “It’s tough to discern the group’s creative direction”. How can a new sound have a direction? It should stand on it’s own feet and become its very own genre of music. And that is how I feel about the music performed by Post War Years.

Having heard “All Eyes” on the first episode of the new Top Gear series, I instantly fell in love with their sound, and knew I had to see them live. The next nearest gig also turned out to be their album launch, so that obviously made me even happier!

Cargo is a fab venue, with Banksy graffiti  in the garden and situated under a bridge (reminiscent of Medway’s very own Tap and Tin) the surroundings for me could not have been better.

Banksy

The support act “Night Works“, were a good reflection on Post War Years as they produce a similar sound, although less electronic. If you like the style of Post War Years I would recommend them.

Opening aptly with “Galapagos” from the new album I was instantly hit with pure electronica sounds, with all of the band working together to create a collage of fantastic synthesised sounds (apart from the drummer as that would be a struggle).

Going on to “The Bell” and “Glass House” you realise, especially live, that this is a band with true talent. All the guys contribute vocals, as well as multi-tasking between guitar and keyboard. They make a fantastic united sound, and I think it is quite rare for a band to work together quite so smoothly.

Post_War_Years_–_Galapagos-17290

Like I said I really don’t like to compare, as to me this is the future sound of music, but having seen Com Truise and Blackbird Blackbird last year, there really were some elements of chill-wave in the music, and some likeness to Neon Indian for sure.

This band was better live than on record, and it is amazing to see the sounds being produced so perfectly right in front of you, I definitely recommend being at the front. Also stop frame animations related to each song were projected onto the screen behind the band, which added a perfect arty feel to the performance – something I really love to see.

The venue was packed, and the crowd loved the show, and we demanded an encore (especially when “All Eyes” had not yet been performed!). The band went on to play another 3 tracks, which was also complete with a confetti launch on the closing song. I also have to add, the band are genuinely lovely and were around after the gig to sign the new album for followers. Just so you know, I bought vinyl!

I was really pleased when the next day Time Out Music described listening to the new album as “Exploring Bowies goblin filled Labyrinth” making a connection with my most favourite film in the whole world.

Sarah and Jareth dancing to All Eyes...
Sarah and Jareth dancing to All Eyes…

In regard to the future of music, a tweet I noticed did make me laugh –  “Everything Everything, Foals, Delphic & Post War Years have all released albums in the last month. An electro indie band conspiracy?”.

No it isn’t a conspiracy, welcome (at last) to this generations music. Goodbye empty pop and rock.

By Natasha Steer

@natashasteer