Residents invited to join virtual bookclub to mark 150th anniversary of Dickens’ last novel – May to October 2020 – Medway

Medway Council is inviting residents to take part in an online book club to discuss Charles Dickens’ final unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

To mark the 150th anniversary of Dickens’ death, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Mystery of Edwin Drood, the council is encouraging residents to download a copy of the eBook from Medway’s library service and join them in reading the mystery in monthly instalments, the same way the original readers would have enjoyed the novel.

The central mystery, the disappearance of Edwin Drood, plays out in a thinly-disguised gothic Rochester.

Can you solve the mystery? Download the eBook and join in discussions about the novel on the Reading Drood blog each month from May to October. If you’re not already a member of Medway libraries you can join online and borrow eBooks immediately. In recent weeks more than 15,500 eBooks, eMagazines and eNewspapers have been accessed by residents.

Chapters one to five will be read in May, six to nine in June, 10 to 12 in July, 11 to 16 in August, 17 to 20 in September and finally chapters 21 to 23 in October.

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “I am pleased we are launching a virtual book club to discuss Dickens’ last novel, it is one of the ways in which we are adapting services in these unusual times. I would encourage residents to sign up for an online library account as there are thousands of eBooks, audiobooks and eMagazines on offer for them to read, as well as The Mystery of Edwin Drood and I hope as many people as possible join in with the online discussions. We look forward to welcoming you all back into Medway’s libraries and community hubs as soon as we can.” 

To sign up for a library account visit www.medway.gov.uk/libraries

Local Poet Launches First Book Inspired By Unusual Stories of Medway – 28th November 2018

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A local poet is launching her first book “Fire In The Head” at Poco Loco, Chatham on the 28th of November at 7:00pm. SM Jenkin, a second generation Irish poet, born in Chatham, was inspired to publish the book which features Medway inspired poems after attending poetry classes lead by local writer Philip Kane some years ago. 

The book draws attention to the many different stories of Medway, honouring the influence of people like James McCudden, Anne Pratt and SM Jenkins very own mother and father. The book notes interesting incidents that few people know about, such as the time William Blake was arrested when he visited Medway for a sketching tour.

The launch lands on the anniversary of Blake’s birth, and the book includes a great deal of  remembrance, which is why it is being launched in November. Speaking about the book SM Jenkin said “The book remembers the stories, people and myths of Medway that often get overlooked. Medway is a place that has many stories and many people passing through, it is a place of transition and transformation. I include myths woven into the fabric of the place. It ties well into the theme of #wearemedway”. 

To find out more about the event visit the Facebook event page 

You can follow SM Jenkin on social media via:

https://www.facebook.com/SMJenkinWriter 

@sajenks42

https://www.instagram.com/smjenkin42/

https://smjenkin.blogspot.com/

Reviews of Fire in the head: 

“You can taste the tang of the Medway in these sharp, observant poems, where myth and history gang-up on the present to tell new tales. A fine line-up from poet, SM Jenkin, to waken the sleepers and inspire fresh dreams.”

Caitlín Matthews (author of Diary of a Soul Doctor and King Arthur’s Raid.)

“In this collection, Chatham based poet SM Jenkin, interweaves myths of seal wives and Medway mermaids, with her own stories and experiences. She questions what it means, if anything, to be ‘adjusted’ in the world and contrasts her philosophies with rich imagery, exploring the ferocity of nature and her thirst for its wild freedom.”

Isabelle Kenyon (Fly on the Wall Poetry Press)

Confluence Writer Development Programme seeking Medway applicants

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Local literary arts organisation Wordsmithery has been granted funding for a year-long writing project which will allow them to enthuse and infuse Medway with words. More details about the project will follow on the Wordsmithery website,  but part of this project will allow them to offer a personalised Writer Development Programme to 6 emerging Medway/Kent-based writers as part of the Arts Council England funded Confluence: Plant; Grow; Nurture project, which starts at the end of October.

If you are an emerging writer, aged over 18, based in Medway, or surrounding areas of Kent, who has had at least one piece of writing published, you are eligible to apply for this brilliant opportunity.

Writers on the scheme will be offered:

  • 1 hour of mentoring advice for 6 months from a local writer-mentor.
  • The chance to attend a Confluence Writers’ Retreat local to Medway, with guest tutors.
  • A bursary for a short group writing visit to Sunderland.
  • The opportunity to organise and host Roundabout Nights, and on another occasion, headline it.
  • Writers will optionally be able to attend a pamphlet and zine making course (3 sessions) and a monthly drop-in workshop to learn how to produce your own pamphlets on a Risograph printer (10 sessions).
  • Writers will have the opportunity to lead/assist with writing workshops and pop-up open mics in Medway Libraries (paid).
  • Writers will be able to contribute articles to the new look Confluence website.
  • Writer Development Programme students will be showcased in Confluence.

* It is important that those applying can attend the majority of the opportunities on offer. Please email confluencemedway@gmail.com if you have any questions about the scheme or your eligibility.

How to apply:

They are looking for emerging writers with some experience, who are serious about developing their craft. You should have had at least one piece of writing published in a literary magazine or journal (online or in print), which is not your own blog. You should be based in Medway, or within an easy commute.

Please send a letter outlining why this opportunity appeals to you and what you’d hope to get out of it (no more than 2 sides), your CV and a sample of your writing (no more than 2,000 words of prose or 5 poems) to the Confluence email.

Applications will be decided by a panel consisting of representatives of the editorial team and an external advisor.

Deadline: 20 October 2017, (applicants to be notified of outcome by 27 October).

Advance Your Education Through The University Of Kent – 2017 Programme – Medway and Margate

The University of Kent are offering a variety of courses that enable people to gain qualifications which can help them get into University.

The wide selection of courses available includes English Literature, Fine Art and Sociology.

The courses are delivered at Brompton Academy, the University of Kent Medway and Hartstown Academy, Margate. To see all the courses on offer visit www.kent.ac.uk/courses/part-time/access

 

Paint The Town Festival Returns For 2017 With Something For Everyone! – Medway

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Paint The Town returns to Medway this year with a selection of performances, experiences and workshops by both local and national creatives.

The festival, organised by Medway based organisation Lyrici Arts, are particularly bringing events centred around mental health and diversity to the Medway towns, including the show “My Beautiful Black Dog” on Wednesday 19th April at The Brook Theatre, Chatham. The show challenges the stigma around mental health and encourages the audience to take ownership over their own black dogs whilst channeling infectious dance moves, swagger-boss costumes and banging tunes!

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Also look out for fun craft workshops, mental health and brain injury support, an inspiring spoken word collaboration with Wordsmithery, interesting panel talks with the stars of the shows and industry professionals, children’s fun time activities and much more.

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Creatabot will be running creative workshops at the event “Hip Hip Hooray” on the 22nd of April, at Woodside Community Centre, Rochester.

Hip Hip Hooray will be a children’s party with a difference! Take part in singing workshops with Tom Penn (creator of Neverland), a recycled arts and crafts workshop with Creatabot to celebrate world Earth Day, show us your moves on the dancefloor and then settle in for a surprise show that is out of this world.

Suitable for ages 3-8 years

TICKET INFORMATION:

Date: Saturday 22nd April 2017

Party: 3.30- 5pm

Price: Standard £5 per child. This ticket admits one child – Adults tag along for free!
Purchase tickets here

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Carry On Crafting will be happening on 24th April at St Paul’s Church, Parkwood, Gillingham at 10:30-12:30pm places are limited so please book in advance.

There will be events for all ages and interests, so to see the programme visit: www.paintthetownfestival.co.uk

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Additional info:

In April 2016, Medway based organisation, Lyrici Arts were awarded a regional place within the Collaborative Touring Network, enabling them to be a National festival partner until 2019, and help to address diversity and arts inclusion aims within the Medway Towns.

The Collaborative Touring Network is supported by Arts Council England , Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation and Unlimited Impact.

Introducing Confluence magazine

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Confluence is a new writing magazine from Wordsmithery. Confluence aims to introduce writers from the East Kent area to writers from everywhere else and promote artistic exchange. We are open now for submissions of short plays, short stories and poems.

We will be publishing a print copy four times a year (August, December, February and May). See the Submissions page for what we’re looking for and how to submit!

You can order Issues 1 and 3 and subscribe at the Wordsmithery website if you want to get a feel for the type of writing we’re looking for.

Writers we have featured so far include: Issue 1 (all available online)  Janine Booth, sean burn, Matt Chamberlain, Nancy Charley, David Cramer Smith,  Zack Davies, Rachel Davis,  Sarah Hehir, Dan Horrigan, SM Jenkin, Daphne Margolys, Tara Moyle, Katarina Rankovic (illustrations), Angel Uriel Perales, Cameron Williamson.

Issue 2 (all available online) Linked to our ‘An assemblance of judicious heretics; re:imagining Shakespeare’ project – featuring poetry and prose from 33 writers and interpretations of their words by 32 artists.

Issue 3 (some video extracts available online) Stories and poems from Matt Chamberlain, Nancy Charley, Maggie Drury (woodcut illustrations), Barry Fentiman Hall, Sam Hall (a play), Mark Holihan, Shaun Philip Hutchings, Philip Kane, Bill Lewis, Daphne Margolys, Maria C. McCarthy, Katarina Rankovic, David Cramer Smith, Spreken, Jonathan Terranova, and Barrie West.

The magazine is printed using a Risograph machine locally at Intra on recycled paper, using vegetable inks, which gives it a retro feel. “…it’s so satisfying to hold and read! Typeface is fab, paper is perfect magazine weight. Old school printing was an inspired choice…”

See more at the Confluence website.

The Pentagon Community Fund – Up To £2000 – Open To Projects In Chatham – Closes 12th March 2017

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The Pentagon Community Fund is now open to projects in Chatham!

Through the Pentagon Community Fund, Project Dirt are offering up to £2,000 to community projects and social enterprises that have a positive social and/or environmental impact and which are located in the local Chatham area. There is a total of £15,000 up for grabs, all to kick start your local community projects that will improve your neighbourhood.

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Types of Projects – who can enter?

Community Projects: Any non-profit making organisations can apply including charities, not-for-profit organisations, Community-Interest-Companies and also informal community groups with their own bank accounts. Individuals cannot apply for their own personal projects.

Social Enterprises: Entrepreneurial business ideas with a social or environmental mission, are also encouraged to apply.

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All applications (which don’t take long) need to be submitted by midnight on Sunday 12th March. You can find the application guidelines here. 

Start the application at: www.projectdirt.com

Please note this grant is available for non-formal community groups, charities and not-for-profit organisations. It’s not open for profit making entities nor personal/individual projects at home. Any Social Enterprises, with a social or environmental mission, are also encouraged to apply.

If you have any problems or questions, please get in touch with Project Dirt at pentagoncentre@projectdirt.com

To get the latest updates from the fund search the hashtag: #WeLoveChatham

Feminine Vessels in Medway heralds exciting new exhibition

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Preparations for the Interim Degree Show from 3rd Year BA (Hons) Fine Art students in the School of Music and Fine Art are now in full swing – literally.

On Thursday morning, should you have ventured onto Chatham Historic Dockyard, you would have encountered a strong female presence, floating high above your head, suspended from a large industrial crane. Just outside the School of Music and Fine Art studios, artist Luiza Jordan installed her delicate yet immersive artwork Feminine Vessels.  The work is the result of extensive research and discovery into the history of the Dockyard.

Artist Megan Boyle observes, “Jordan’s work is an exploration into materiality, which often manifests itself through sculpture and installation work. She attempts to represent the presence of the female, omitting images of the female nude and without explicitly making reference to the female body.  Rather, she uses materials associated with feminine identity and domesticity, engaging with organic bodily textures and shapes. In terms of the site in which these pieces can be found, Jordan aims to construct particular juxtaposition between the organic, fragility and fluidity of her invented forms, and the virile, masculine and industrial nature of her surroundings, which at the moment, is that of the Historic Dockyard, where the School of Music and Fine Art is located.”

Jordan is now continuing to experiment with size, scale and material to prepare her work for the upcoming BA (Hons) Fine Art interim Degree Show Loading…  but this time within the beautiful historic Georgian building that is Chatham House in Rochester High Street.

The show, which features work by 30 artists, will be open as follows:

Saturday 10 December – Wednesday 14 December, 11am-4pm (closed Tuesday).  

The Private View is Friday 9 December, 6-9pm.  

If you would like to be on the guest list, please book via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/loading-private-view-for-the-interim-fine-art-degree-show-from-3rd-year-ba-hons-fine-art-students-tickets-29333853345

Show venue: 351 Rochester High Street, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1DA

Further information here:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mfadegreeshow/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mfadegreeshow/

 

Credits:

Artwork by Luiza Jordan (2016); Feminine Vessels: balloons, wool, string.

Images by Rose Sizer.  Words by Megan Boyle