The first time I arrived in the W10 area in August 2017, I travelled via car from the hostel I was staying in, loaded up with art equipment to run workshops for families affected by the Grenfell fire. I was later glad I had approached the workshop with almost rose-tinted glasses, traveling straight to the workshop space. I’m not sure I would have initially been able to deliver that session in the same way, had I seen the Grenfell tower first, I will explain later.
I had responded to a call out for volunteers to help with the summer activity programme via Arts Emergency. I then asked whether people in my network would like to help with purchasing materials, knowing that it really wasn’t all that far away from Medway and my own community had been impacted too. Paint The Town festival also kindly sponsored the workshops which paid for enough materials for 2 workshop sessions and my travel costs.
The session in August went so well, the venue was absolutely packed and I had multiple craft activities on offer. First we had wooden boat decorating, then T-Shirt printing, then stress putty! Something so tactile like this can be an excellent stress reliever – some of them couldn’t leave it alone for the rest of the afternoon!
All the people there were a delight to work with and it was reassuring to know there were trained counsellors present in case any families needed support. I brought a friend too, Saira, who has over 20 year experience in nursing. I have training in mental health first aid for young people, but my experience so far had never amounted to a local disaster like this.
There wasn’t anything in particular I could say was different about the workshop, young people are at first glance so resistant – often inside there are a lot more issues, that they may not have even realised yet. I could tell the young people and parents really appreciated the effort everyone was making to support them and provide distracting activities.
And heck do they need distraction.
Once the workshop was finished myself and Saira made our way to Latimer Road station. The walls of the pathways leading to the station are covered in memorials, missing posters, and big big signs demonstrating an understandable anger of residents – One sticks in my mind in particular, just reading “WHY?”.
Then we reached the station, where the Grenfell tower itself looms over the community. We all know what it looks like don’t we? I thought I did. But let me make it clear, nothing, absolutely nothing, can prepare you for how black that tower is, it is completely incinerated. Myself and Saira look up, tearfully and discuss the tragedy. We discuss when we found out, both unaware initially of the real devastation – us both knowing we will probably never really know the true devastation in fact. Only that community truly knows and to this day it is being very well disguised as to how and why the tragedy happened.
Visiting again today (11th November) months later, the missing posters have turned to beautiful memorials and shrines for those who are definitely lost. I’m not talking small hidden memorials, the whole of Bramley Road is decorated. My heart sinks. Most people across the UK have stopped talking about the incident, and yet every day families STILL have to deal with the bereavement. People are still living in hotels having not been rehoused yet, the council clearly not being quick to lend a hand in housing communities in the area they live due to London rent prices.
A stall is next to the station raising awareness of a people’s inquiry into exactly what happened that day and promoting prevention of it ever happening again. The lady on the stall explains she’s heard a PR company have been commissioned to take care of the way news about Grenfell is presented. I don’t know what to say.
Today running a second session for the amazing project “Kids on The Green”, I did notice children’s behaviour being more unsettled than previously. The impact of what happened would do that, especially over time with a lot still not being resolved 5 months on. Bereavement and loss will always have an impact somehow. That’s why I wanted to help in some way, even just to be a friendly face.
If you would like to help families impacted by the Grenfell fire you can donate to the Kids On The Green Project via You Caring www.youcaring.com/kidsonthegreenfamilies-886162
Thank you to Paint The Town Festival for sponsoring the bulk of my workshop costs and to the following people for their additional amazing support:
Emma Williams (Shadow Paper Cuts)
Experience a diverse range of artworks in the show 51°23’00.2″N, 0°30’56.0″E from ‘We are Here’ collective – featuring the work of 21 graduating BA and MA Fine Art students in the School of Music and Fine Art at the University of Kent (Medway). The exhibition takes place at Chatham House, 351 Rochester High Street, a beautiful historic Georgian building.
The Private View is Friday 8th December, 6-8pm. Guests meet at Chatham House to view the artworks before gathering at the Northern Seaman pub across the road for food + drink. https://thenorthernseaman.wordpress.com/
Book for the Private View via the Eventbrite link. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/we-are-here-collectives-private-view-5123002n-030560e-tickets-40031850342
The Show will be open to the public as follows:
Saturday 9 December – Wednesday 13 December, 11am-4pm. It is FREE to attend.
Links and further info:
On Tuesday 28th November in the Galvanising Workshop, Historic Dockyard Chatham from 5.15pm – 6.45pm, the next School of Music and Fine Art Visiting Artist Talk of the Autumn term will be Malawi born London based artist and author Samson Kambalu. Working in a variety of media, including site-specific installation, video, performance and literature, he has shown his work around the world and won research fellowships with Yale University and Smithsonian Institution, and is Associate Professor of Fine Art at Ruskin College and fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford University.
Previous speakers in this exciting programme of talks from visiting artists, writers, filmmakers, curators and performers, with national and international profiles. have included Lindsay Seers, Jeremy Deller, Oreet Ashery, Sonia Boyce, Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt and John Russell.
FREE to attend but booking via Eventbrite. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/school-of-music-and-fine-art-visiting-artist-talk-samson-kambalu-tickets-38497857127
image courtesy of the artist
From 8 – 12 May, there is a veritable feat of exciting, immersive and innovative events that showcase the final independent projects from third year students on the Event and Experience Design programme in the School of Music and Fine Art. More info here https://www.kent.ac.uk/smfa/events/eed-projects-2017.html
The Events Schedule (subject to change) is below and although FREE to attend, booking is via Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/2pQPc8H
Monday 8th May
ShuXin Wong: “MT Playhouse” – 12.00pm – 2.00pm Namur Room in Mess Deck, CHDT.
A participatory product launch event for Japanese product MT (decorative reusable masking tape). Live entertainment – Malaysian & world pop songs and craft activities related to creative travel journals.
Jake Thornton: “Dock Box”, 2.00pm – 4.00pm – Galvanising Shop, Production Space.
An alternative video tour of the Dockyard, a constructed narrative of filmic space and time.
Tuesday 9th May
Elise Berdah: “Fight Flight Freeze”, Drill Hall Library, Café – Archibald Hay Mess, Tuesday & Wednesday 10.00am – 9.00pm.
An immersive experience examining participants’ attitudes to and understanding of the issue of consent and serious sexual assault in Universities in the UK & US. This installation contains explicit accounts. The installation is a collaboration with Kent Union Welfare and Wellbeing team and is part of a week of awareness raising events.
Kira Tisbury: “Festopia”, 1.00pm – 4.00pm Galvanising Shop, Production Space.
An interactive immersive event, sharing memories of festival participation and experience.
Kirsten Short: “Hooked”, 11.00am – 7.00pm – Tuesday to Saturday (11.00am – 8.00pm Thursday) Box Park, 2 – 10 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch E1 6GY. A London launch and live retail event for online retailer “Hooked”.
Wednesday 10th May
Kylie (Min Jing) Lee: “Through the Lens”, 12.00pm – 2.00pm – Galvanising Shop, Production Space.
A participatory photography & travel/cultural event.
Savannah Giorgi: “A day”, 5.00 – 6.00pm – St Bartholomew Hospital Chapel, 5 Gundulph Road, Rochester High Street, ME4 4ED
An immersive and interactive video engaging with the dilemma’s and drama of everyday life.
Thursday 11th May
Linh Chi Dinh: “Vietnam through my eyes”, 12.00pm – 2.00pm – Galvanising Shop, Production Space.
An immersive autobiographical video journey in Vietnam.
Luisa Armand Ugon: “Moonshine”, 9.00pm till late at the Deep End, Student Hub, Pembroke Campus.
Rewind to the illicit society of 1920’s America. Jazz, flappers and mafia come together for a unique prohibition bar experience.
Friday 12th May
Greta Pencheva: “Inside the Raindrop”, 1.00pm, Gulbenkian Theatre.
Live and mediated dance performance.
Leah Stewart: “Unwind at University”, 12.00pm – 5.00pm – Galvanising Shop, Café & Production Space.
Participatory well-being event in collaboration with The University of Kent Student Support and Wellbeing Team. Pets as Therapy, Drop-in Meditation and wellbeing tips and tricks and more TBC!
IMAGE from Luisa Armand Ugon: “Moonshine
The School of Music and Fine presents the End of Year/Graduation Shows for Fine Art, Event and Experience Design and Music, celebrating the talents of our amazing students!
SMFA End of Year Show Schedule of Events (subject to change)
All events take place at Historic Dockyard Chatham. Entrance is via the Galvanizing Shop Café and reception.
Fine Art Degree Show: “Reverberate”
Open to the public: Sunday 21st May to Friday 26th May, 10am til 5pm (closed Tuesday 23 May) and Saturday 27th May, 10am til 5pm
Special Private View on Saturday May 20th, 1pm-6pm, with guest speaker, Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller, and special performances. For guest list contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Event and Experience Design Live Events: “Borderless”
Monday 8th May to Friday 19th May in the Galvanising Shop Performance Space
Event and Experience Design Showcase
Open to the public: Sunday 21st May to Friday 26th May, 10am til 5pm (closed Tuesday 23 May) and Saturday 27th May, 10am til 5pm
BMus. Final Public Performances Showcase
Talented graduating students on Music and Popular Music pathways offer a rich mix of musical styles. Not to be missed!
Venue: Cargo Bar, Liberty Quays
Tuesday 16th May 4-8pm
Wednesday 17th May 4-8pm
Venue: Galvanising Shop Performance Space
Wednesday 17th May 11am – 12.45pm
Monday 22nd May & Tuesday 23rd May: Technology in Performance
To get your FREE tickets go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/school-of-music-and-fine-art-end-of-yeargraduation-shows-2017-tickets-33004272668
For more info go to https://www.kent.ac.uk/smfa/events/degree-show-2017.html
School of Music and Fine Art students are organising a series of creative workshops and events to engage with the community and raise awareness of, and funds for, their upcoming Degree Show.
This Henna Workshop, with local henna artist and teacher, Lynn Smith, costs £5 (includes materials) and is limited to 25 participants. To book, contact Nicole email@example.com
The venue is The Deep End, Student Hub, North Road, Chatham Maritime
School of Music and Fine Art students are organising a series of creative workshops and events to engage with the community and to raise awareness, and additional funds for, their upcoming Degree Show.
The first event, organised by the Fine Art Degree Show Private View and Engagement Team, will be a life drawing workshop on Wednesday 8th March from 6-8pm in the Clock Tower Building (Rooms 301-302) at the Historic Dockyard Chatham. It is open to everyone (age 16+) and only costs £1.
Please contact Charlene firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space.
The next Visiting Artist Talk from the University of Kent’s School of Music and Fine in The Royal Dockyard Church at the Historic Dockyard Chatham takes place on Tuesday February 28th, with poetry, multimedia and video artist Heather Phillipson.
Heather Phillipson’s videos and sculptural installations collide images, noises, objects, language and bodies – attending to how physical and affective ‘selves’ are constructed, manipulated and, above all, escape. Often rendered as walk-in conglomerations of readily accessible materials (digital images, paint, cardboard, words, audio loops and reproducible consumer detritus), her works stake out an ambiguous territory in which cultural references and emotional responses are mutually contingent and reactive. Phillipson’s solo projects in 2016 include Whitechapel Gallery London, Frieze Projects New York, the 32nd Sao Paulo Bienal, Images Festival Toronto, and a major new commission for the Arts Council Collection. Recent solo exhibitions include: Schirn Frankfurt; the 14th Istanbul Biennial; Performa New York; Sheffield Doc/Fest (with Serpentine Galleries); Opening Times (otdac.org); Dundee Contemporary Arts; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, Serpentine Park Nights and a video commission for Random Acts, Channel 4 television.
Also an award-winning poet, she has published three volumes of poetry and was named a Next Generation Poet in 2014. Writer in Residence at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2015, Phillipson was awarded the Friends of Literature Prize from Poetry journal in 2016, and writes a regular column for Art Review. She has been shortlisted for the Film London Jarman Award 2016.
On Tuesday 28 March, writer Maria Fusco is the speaker. Maria Fusco is a Belfast-born writer based in Glasgow, working across fiction, criticism and theory, and has been translated into ten languages. Her latest work, Master Rock, is a repertoire for a mountain commissioned by Artangel and BBC Radio 4. Her solo-authored books are With A Bao A Qu Reading When Attitudes Become Form, 2013 (Los Angeles/Vancouver: New Documents, 2013), Gonda, 2012 and The Mechanical Copula, 2011 (both published Berlin/New York: Sternberg Press) and she is founder of The Happy Hypocrite, a journal for and about experimental writing. She is currently a Reader at the University of Edinburgh and was Director of Art Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. New books in 2017 are Legend of the Necessary Dreamer (London: Vanguard Editions) and Give Up Art: Collected Writings (Los Angeles/Vancouver: NewDocuments).
The artist talks start at 6.15pm and are FREE to attend but please book via Eventbrite.
image credit: Publicity still from Master Rock, experimental radio play, written and
directed by Maria Fusco, 42 mins 17 secs, broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
We have an amazing range of – mostly free – creative events coming up in Medway between now and April in the School of Music and Fine Art, and our Spring What’s On booklet is out! Print copies are available from our Reception and in various venues across Chatham, including the Waterfront Bus Station in Chatham and the library, but you can also view events online here.
Please do share with anyone you think might enjoy our concerts, workshops and events, which mostly take place in the atmospheric Historic Dockyard Chatham.
Image credit by Paul Stott
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
To get the latest updates from the fund search the hashtag: #WeLoveChatham
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/
Artwork by Luiza Jordan (2016); Feminine Vessels: balloons, wool, string.
Images by Rose Sizer. Words by Megan Boyle
The University of Kent’s School of Music and Fine Art is thrilled to welcome painter Simon Ling to deliver the first talk of our fantastic Visiting Artist Talk programme in The Royal Dockyard Church at the Historic Dockyard Chatham on Tuesday 11 October from 6.15pm.
Born in 1968, British artist Simon Ling studied at Chelsea College of Art & Design and then at the Slade School of Art in London. His practice is involved in a deep engagement with painting and his subjects can often appear banal street scenes, still lifes, rocks, stones or patches of scrubland – but through a process of sustained and rigorous looking, his works transcend the ordinariness of their initial appearance, taking on a strange and at times unsettling quality.
In 2015, Ling had a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle, Bergen, and London art gallery, greengrassi, as well as taking part in numerous group exhibitions including Tate Britain, Camden Art Centre, and CAPC Bordeaux, France.
All the talks are FREE to attend. Please book via Eventbrite http://bit.ly/2dbMHd4
To find out about the entire series of talks, with speakers who include Martin Clark, Heather Phillipson, Erica Scourti and Maria Fusco, click https://www.kent.ac.uk/smfa/fineart/visitingartists2016.html
We have some fantastic – mostly free – creative events coming up in Medway between now and December in the School of Music and Fine Art, and our Autumn What’s On booklet is now out! Print copies will be available from our Reception and in various venues across Chatham, but you can also view events online here.
Please do share with anyone you think might enjoy our concerts and events, which mostly take place in the atmospheric Historic Dockyard Chatham.
Our exciting programme of Artist Talks is currently being finalised – watch this space for more info or check our website www.kent.ac.uk/smfa
And we also have a TASTER DAY coming up on Saturday 26 November – more info here! http://bit.ly/2d1ZkpL
Image credit Jane Seaman
Heading into it’s fifth year, Medway Open Studios and Arts Festival has doubled in size since it’s inception in 2012! Taking place every July throughout the Medway Towns, the volunteers who run the festival aim to celebrate the wealth of creativity in Medway as it continues to thrive. The first festival took place in 2012 and highlighted the quantity of artistic talent in the area. Every year since, more and more artists have signed up and have subsequently benefited the festival by promoting a positive opinion of Medway.
No previous knowledge of Art needed or pressure to buy…just the enthusiasm to enjoy a day out with a difference! Rest assured, there’s something for everyone with such a range of work on show!
Click the image below to visit the website and find out more!
I first encountered fundraising camps a few years ago when I was about to launch a crowdfunding campaign (my first) for a music project. I set off for London on a chilly December day and came home energised and inspired, having met some amazing people who generously shared their range of experiences of fundraising with me, and the new skills I learned were so useful, that when, a year later, I had the chance to attend another camp in Canterbury, I booked my ticket immediately. So I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to invite Fundraising UK to bring the format to Medway on:
Thursday, 14 July 2016 from 09:30 to 16:00
Hosted by the University of Kent’s School of Music & Fine Art, this is a fantastic practical opportunity for local and regional arts professionals and fundraisers to learn, share good practice and network. Despite the name, there are no tents involved. (Phew!)
Fundraising Camp is a one-day ‘unconference’-style event for fundraisers: there are no set speakers and no set topics. Each participant is invited to suggest a topic at the beginning of the day. It could be something you know about, it could be a problem or a question you have and you want help with. Each Fundraising Camp invites local fundraising, business, philanthropy or grantmaking experts to help ensure even more practical fundraising knowledge and experience available at the event.
It’s like those valuable networking chat sessions you have at normal conferences – but for a whole day! Fun, lively and practical, this is a concept that really works.
The venue is The University of Kent, The Historic Dockyard Chatham. Book here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fundraising-camp-arts-registration-21486231898
Early bird tickets are just £30+VAT for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises.
The University of Kent’s School of Music and Fine Art presents the Fine Art Degree Show 2016 in the extraordinary environment of The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, featuring the work of 26 graduating BA and MA Fine Art students.
Opening with a preview on Saturday May 21st, 1pm-5pm. We are delighted that Patricia Bickers, who has had a hugely important role in creating and documenting a sustained, dynamic debate around British contemporary art practice, will be our guest speaker.
The exhibition is open to all and is free to attend.
Open to the public (10am-5pm): Sunday 22nd May and Tuesday 24th May – Tuesday 31st May inclusive.
Continuing a tradition of showcasing bold, exploratory exhibitions, visitors will encounter a broad range of artistic styles and media, an explosion of imagination and a celebration of art’s potential for society.
See the video from 2nd Year BA student Sharmaine Kwan https://youtu.be/fWygcAOOkaM
On Tuesday 24h May and Wednesday 25th May Education Days will be held for local schools and colleges. Attendees will be able to view the Show and hear talks from the artists; they will also be encouraged to produce their own artwork in response to their experience of the Show. If you would like to bring a school, college or university group to this event (all ages welcome) please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Degree Show Address:
The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TY
Entry is at The Historic Dockyard Chatham Visitor Entrance, via The Galvanising Shop (next to the Dockyard’s visitors’ carpark on the East Road).
For further press information and images of the works on display please contact School Reception: MFAReception@kent.ac.uk or telephone 01634 888 980.
Work by graduating students from the School of Music & Fine Art’s BA Event & Experience Design is celebrated from Monday 9th May until Tuesday 17th May, 10am-5pm, with a range of innovative live events from EED 3rd Year projects in our production studios, performance space and in sites off the campus – ambitious projects, which creatively explore a broad range of formats and subjects, questioning what constitutes an event? This includes:
Huh an interactive multilingual cultural experience by Nian Earn Ooi.
My Diary an experiential journey via Taiwanese beauty products and treatments by Chien-Yi Yang.
K2, the Kreating Kindness Laboratory an interactive opportunity to generate and receive a small act of kindness by Sophie Cawsey.
Tides of Misfortune, a circus of lost souls an interactive performance by Jade Alcock.
Gothic Butterfly an artist launch event by Jade Wildes.
5 Minutes a physical and immersive game environment by Garrick Chan.
The Secret Garden Project an immersive walk in Chatham by Charlotte Harding.
And from 21st May, there will be a showcase of past EED student projects presented in Room 101. This will take the form of documentation. Opening times are:
21-22 May and then 25-31 May, 10am-5pm
Check our webpage for updates and regular bulletins! https://www.kent.ac.uk/smfa/
All events are open to all and FREE to attend. Click here to get your special Visitor Pass!
The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TY
Entry is at The Historic Dockyard Chatham Visitor Entrance, via The Galvanising Shop (next to the Dockyard’s visitors’ car park on the East Road).
Throughout May 2016, starting on the 9th, the quality, diversity and range of work from the University of Kent’s School of Music & Fine Art’s graduating students from Fine Art, Event & Experience Design and Music is celebrated – and on show at various venues across The Historic Dockyard Chatham. Entry is FREE and everyone is welcome. Check for updates and regular bulletins! https://www.kent.ac.uk/smfa/
Monday 9th May – Saturday 14th May
BA Event & Experience Design 3rd Year Showcase
The final independent projects of third year students on the Event and Experience course are being included as part of their ‘Showcase’ in our production studios, performance space and in sites off the campus. This is an exciting expansion of the celebration and presentation of work made by students in EED as they are ambitious projects, which creatively explore a broad range of formats and subjects, questioning what constitutes an event? From 21st May, there will be a showcase of past student projects.
Tues 17th May to Friday 20th May, 9am – 6pm
School of Music & Fine Art music student solo recitals.
Friday 20th May, 12 noon, Galvanising Shop Performance Space
MA Music Student Lunchtime Recitals
Saturday 21st May (Private View 1pm-5pm), then open from Sunday 22nd May – Tuesday 31st May, 10am-5pm (closed 23-24th) Engineering Workshop
MA and BA Fine Art Degree Shows
An exhibition of exciting emerging artists in Kent. Visitors will encounter a broad range of artistic styles and media, an explosion of imagination and a celebration of art’s potential for society.
We will be holding Education Days for our Degree shows on Tuesday 24th May and Wednesday 25th May for local schools and colleges. Attendees will be able to view the Show and hear talks from the artists; they will also be encouraged to produce their own artwork in response to their experience of the Show. If you would like to bring a school, college or university group to this event (all ages welcome) please email email@example.com
IMAGE CREDIT: Yik Lam Yiu, BA Fine Art
On 24th February at 6pm, artist and pioneering experimental filmmaker Tony Hill will be visiting the School of Music & Fine Art at University of Kent, Medway to talk about his film practice. Organised and funded by 51zero/voyager – an ongoing series of events, projects and touring activities, organised by 51zero, that engages directly with the communities of Medway, Kent, Northern France and further afield – the celebrated filmmaker will present and discuss his pioneering films and groundbreaking filmmaking techniques. Internationally renowned, Hill makes experimental short films that are somewhere between sculpture and cinema. To create his visually challenging and timelessly beautiful imagery, he often develops his own camera rigs, ingeniously using mirrors and unusual lenses, and sometimes humorous vantage points to make us rethink our assumptions about perspective, gravity, scale and movement.
Born in London in 1946, Tony Hill studied Architecture and Sculpture and has been working as an independent film-maker since 1973, he also works with installations, photography and sound and has presented his work at many galleries and in film festivals worldwide. His award winning films have been broadcast on network television in many countries and published in the UK and Japan, with commercial work including directing music videos and TV commercials. He taught film and video from 1982 until 2002 at the University of Derby becoming Professor of Film and at Plymouth College of Art from 2004 until 2011.
The venue is the Royal Dockyard Church, Historic Dockyard Chatham and the Artist Talk starts at 6.00pm and will explore Tony Hill’s unique film production techniques highlighting the formalistic qualities and contexts at play in his work, followed by a discussion with curator Keith Whittle exploring Hill’s aesthetic and conceptual approach and the research and production processes involved in the making of his films. The event closes with an informal opportunity to meet the artist from 8pm until 9pm.
For more go to http://www.tonyhillfilms.com/
For info on more events in the School of Music & Fine Art go to https://www.kent.ac.uk/smfa/events.html
IMAGE CREDIT Still image from ‘Holding The Viewer’ © Tony Hill
On Tuesday 23rd February at 6.15pm in the stunning setting of the recently refurbished Royal Dockyard Church in the atmospheric Historic Dockyard Chatham, acclaimed artist John Russell will give a free talk about his work as part of the Artist Talk series from the School of Music & Fine Art at the University of Kent, Medway.
Formerly a member (and founder) of the subversive London art collective BANK (whose antics included faxing galleries “corrected” versions of their own press releases back to them), artist Russell has continued to make art on his own which likewise casts a gimlet eye on the doings of the art world and culture at large. The centrepiece of his recent NY exhibition consists of a video made up of animated gif files that tell the story of a near future, where humans have learned to extend life by downloading consciousness into the brains of small animals. A tale of technological transformation, SQRRL is also a chilling allegory for our own time.
Recent solo shows include “SQRRL” Bridget Donahue Gallery, New York, 2016, Jexus, MOTINTERNATIONAL Brussels 2012; Angel of History: I can see for miles, Focal Point Gallery Southend 2011; and Ocean Pose, Matts Gallery London.
Editor of Frozen Tears, Russell is Professor in Fine Art at the University of Reading and is Director of Research for Art. His research interests are: “Affect. Affirmation. Figurality. Event. Art/politics. Art/philosophy. Art/language. Class. Performativity. Fiction/fictioning. Visualisation. Digital media. Philosophy. Bad philosophy. Printed matter. Staging”
Although the talk is free and everyone is welcome, please book via: https://alumni.kent.ac.uk/events/john-russell-feb-2016
IMAGE CREDIT: Untitled (Abstraction of Labour Time/ External Recurrence/Monad), 2010. John Russell
Chatham Placemaking Commissions
Temporary Artists’ Commissions ‘Chatham Storyline’, Chatham, Kent
Commission timescale March – August 2016
Medway Council is looking to commission a temporary programme of three community engagement projects looking at character and place.
Medway Council has been awarded £4 million of government funding to help regenerate Chatham and make it a better place for residents, workers and visitors. The funding will mark the start of an exciting new project, which will create an easier journey for pedestrians and cyclists from Chatham railway station to the waterfront bus station and town centre.
Creative public realm has been identified in the project where an artist’s contribution is integrated into placemaking.
Public Art Consultants FrancisKnight and Lead Artist Christopher Tipping have been appointed for the Chatham Placemaking project and will be overseeing the temporary programme through an overarching project called ‘Chatham Storyline’.
Chatham Storyline commissions:
Writer in residence – £8,000 (includes fees and expenses)
Print / Graphics – £5,000 (includes fees and expenses, with a separate budget for materials)
Film maker / observer – £6,000 (includes fees and expenses)
Artists can apply individually for each commission or as a collaboration/collective for all three commissions.
The process is open to professional artists who are UK residents and who are living or working in the South East and London. Our South East Area covers Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Medway, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Surrey and West Sussex.
Full details of the artist brief and how to apply here: http://tinyurl.com/z8p7lsa
On Tuesday 26th January, 2016 in the stunning Royal Dockyard Church, The Historic Dockyard Chatham, from 6.15pm to 8pm, the School of Music and Fine Art is thrilled to welcome Jaki Irvine, an artist working in mixed media, but mainly film, video and writing. She is represented by Frith Street Gallery, London.
Originally Dublin based but now living in Mexico City, she represented Ireland at the 1997 Venice Biennale. Overheard conversations and human incidents, casually observed, often form the starting point for Jaki Irvine’s work. She weaves these real events with fictitious narratives to produce haunting films and videos. Her work makes use of the potential discontinuity between moving image, musical score and narrator to undermine any sense of linear narrative. Irvine’s work suggests the fragmented mysterious and often absurd nature of the human condition.
The talk is part of an exciting series of visiting artists, writers, filmmakers, curators and performers who will talk about their work. Each speaker is renowned in their own field and uses imagery, materials and processes differently to pose distinct and searching questions to address the urgent concerns of our age. Our guests will provide a detailed presentation of their work, share their experiences of making work and also their involvement in navigating the complex multifaceted artworld.
Our Visiting Artists have national and international profiles, many are multi-award winners and their practices include multimedia installation, moving image, sound, photography, performance, socially engaged practice, painting, sculpture, publishing and curating.
Free to attend, and everyone welcome but please book via link: https://alumni.kent.ac.uk/events/jaki-irvine-jan-2016
Image credit: Production still from Se Compra: Siné., 2014. Jaki Irvine.
On Thursday December 10th, from 1.30pm-4pm, students from the School of Music & Fine Art on the BA (Hons) Event and Experience Design create a choreographed journey through stunning multimedia installations and performances in explorative response to the physical, historical and social contexts of the atmospheric Fort Amherst, a Napoleonic defence system of underground tunnels and above ground deep trench earthworks known as the lines. This innovative event, which is open to the public and free to attend, produces an interpretive and immersive tour of the spaces and environs.
Based at the Historic Dockyard Chatham, part of the University of Kent’s Medway campus, the Event and Experience Design programme is the only undergraduate degree in the UK dedicated to developing skilled practitioners for the creative events industry for entertainment, commercial, heritage, tourism and hospitality environments. The programme, which is offered both full and part time, has the 5th highest score for overall student satisfaction in the latest National Student Survey (NSS) 2015, and 100% of graduates are in employment or further study within 6 months of graduating, with 75% in professional or managerial posts (UniStats 2015).
Says Peter Hatton, Lecturer, “This project at Fort Amherst challenges the students in every way; creatively, logistically and technically. It is a great opportunity for them to devise, produce and present an event unique to its location for an audience. We are very grateful for all the support of the staff at the Fort.”
For more information on the event on December 10th at Fort Amherst, Khartoum Road, Chatham ME4 4UB go to: http://www.kent.ac.uk/smfa/events.html?eid=15093&view_by=day&date=20151210&category=&tag=
IMAGE CAPTION: Interactive Game, Pek Ling Liam, 2013. Photo Peter Hatton
The School of Music and Fine Art, part of the University of Kent’s Medway campus, is proud to announce the new series of Visiting Artist Talks, which are FREE to attend but booking is required. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place.The venue is the stunning restored Church in the Chatham Historic Dockyard.
Launching the programme at 6.15pm on Tuesday November 10th is international Kent-based artist Benedict Drew, who works across video, sculpture, music and their associated technologies. Born in 1977, he graduated from Slade School of Fine Art in 2011 and was a LUX Associate Artist (2011/12). Drew’s often chaotic environments and installations feature screens, cables and small-scale anthropomorphised sculptures made from lo-fi materials such as tin foil and, occasionally, mud. Intended as a response to our ‘over-saturated digital realm’. Drew’s installations are attempts to ‘articulate the horror of the modern world.’
The artist says: ‘I make videos and music and exhibitions and picture and sculptures. I am interested in the potential of these combinations to create an ecstatic and sometimes abject alternative universe.’ A review from the current British Art Show observes: http://afternoondust.co.uk/blog/british-art-show-8#.VilIkxCrRR0
…Benedict Drew’s “Sequencer” is all about stuff: sticky, splodgy, gooey stuff, material through and through. His film presented across multiple screens is full of rough, ready landscapes of dirt and rock juxtaposed with paint erupting like volcanoes or oil burps. It’s also full of holes: holes that gape like ears, squish and stretch like mouths, or wobble like the cones of the speakers scattered prominently in front of the screens, spewing out squelchy psychedelic goop. Yep, it’s all about stuff, and that stuff is sound: gleefully trashing the painstaking refinement and posed ephemerality of much of contemporary sound art, Drew gives us an earful of messy, splurging sonic substance that injects the silent, airtight contemporary landscape with a gelatinous, technologically-mediated roar. The horror of the Real — the material encounter with a thingy world beyond the control of language — becomes the bass pulse you can feel.
Represented by Matts Gallery, London, Drew’s recent solo exhibitions include: Heads May Roll, Matt’s Gallery, London; The Persuaders, Adelaide Festival, SASA Gallery Adelaide, Australia; Zero Hour Petrified, Ilam Campus Gallery, School of Fine Arts University of Canterbury, New Zealand (all 2014); The Onesie Cycle, Rhubarba, Edinburgh; Now Thing, Whitstable Biennale; This Is Feedback, Outpost, Norwich; Gliss, Cell Project Space; and The Persuaders, Circa Site / AV Festival, Newcastle (2013).
Links: http://www.benedictdrew.com/ and information on Drew’s work which attempts to tackle the anxiety and neurosis generated from the condition of dyslexia can be found here: http://events.arts.ac.uk/event/2014/12/18/Benedict-Drew-Dyslexic-Shanty/)
PHOTO CREDIT: Charlotte Jopling, TIFF KAPUT Exhibition at QUAD July 2015
An Assemblance of Judicious Heretics is a large scale collaborative project from Medway-based literary art organisation Wordsmithery, fusing words and images from writers and artists from Medway and beyond. Last year, in our inaugural year, as part of the Rochester Literature Festival, we teamed up 22 writers with 20 artists. This year the exhibition has grown by a third, as 32 writers will have their work interpreted by 27 or more artists… (we are currently collecting the artworks!)
We asked writers to write a piece inspired by Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’, then we gave these writings anonymously to artists who interpreted them without knowing who the authors are.
The collaborations are revealed in the exhibition which runs until from 1-30 September 2015 at Rochester Library, then will move onto another local library.
Artwork by long-standing and established Medway writers and artists sits alongside the work of new talent in this stunning exhibition. Some of the writers whose work features are Bill Lewis, Maria C McCarthy, Sarah Hehir, Sam Fentiman-Hall, Sally Evans, Philip Kane, and some of the artists include: Peter Reeds (whose art features as the illustration for the exhibition poster), Heather Haythornthwaite, Chris Van Beck, Dianne Reeves and Maggie Drury.
Artists have interpreted the texts in a variety of media – including, photograms, oil paintings, photographs, linocuts, textiles, collage and sculpture.
The texts which inspired the artwork will be revealed in full at an event on 3 September 2015, where the writers will read their work, and leave a booklet of the stories and poems for visitors to read. The event, which is free to attend, takes place at Rochester Library.
Barry Fentiman-Hall of Wordsmithery, who curated the exhibition said: “This is collaborative art at its best. A simple idea passes through many hands and emerges in a way that is completely unpredictable. It is still recognisable in some vague way, like a distant relative, but it has evolved into a different thing, and it is beautiful.”
Exhibition: 1-30 September 2015
Rochester Library, Community Hub Rochester
Launch Event: Live readings from the exhibition: 3 September, 7.30pm, Rochester Library. Please book with the library on 01634 337799.
Ideas Test has been out and about over the last few months promoting their Six Ways to Wellbeing Swale project. They’re offering an exciting programme of workshops for young people 13-19 (25 SEN) in Swale aiming to improve their sense of wellbeing through film, dance, drama, writing and creative technology. Working with some of the most exciting arts organisations in Kent and beyond, it’s a great range of opportunities – have a look at the list below for details.
A crowd-sourced ‘wellbeing poem’ has been launched with Dan Simpson, who’s one of the workshop leaders. Get involved on Twitter with #wellbeingpoem or email email@example.com. The result will be broadcast during a final performance at The Avenue Theatre in Sittingbourne on December 6, which will showcase what participants have done during this project.
- Join Codasign to make an interactive phone cover which lights up when your phone rings or to create an interactive installation.
- Explore elements of dance and develop your dance and physical theatre skills with The Jasmin Vardimon Company.
- The Rochester LitFest offers you the chance to have fun with poetry and spoken word – writing and performing – and learn about digital storytelling using social media.
- Want to write, direct, act or design a TV series? These fun, exciting and hands on sessions with Viola Films will give you the chance to learn some basic film making skills and create a new Six Part Webseries.
- Your ideas performed from scratch – Wide Eyed Theatre will help you create a story of people, place and events that make you happy!
The Six Ways to Wellbeing are:
- Connect – with family, friends, colleagues, neighbours
- Be active – walk, run, garden, dance
- Take notice – be curious, reflect on experiences
- Keep learning – try something new
- Give – doing something for others
- Grow your world – planet care for its sustainability
Find out more about the Six Ways to Wellbeing at www.liveitwell.co.uk
The project is jointly funded by Kent County Council, Artswork and Royal Opera House Bridge.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
Would you like to volunteer at community art events but not sure what it might entail? If so, Ideas Test would like to invite you to a free volunteer training opportunity to help you help them find out more about the people coming along to their arts events.
It will take place at Swale CVS in Central Avenue, Sittingbourne on Monday, July 14th from 5.30pm – 7.30pm. Ages from 14 upwards are welcome and expenses will be covered.
For all activities, particularly publicly funded art ones, knowing who comes to events and takes part in activities is crucial to making sure we involve the whole community, and important for feeding back to funders and sponsors.
The session will be run by The Audience Agency, specialists in training fieldworkers – especially volunteers attached to projects – to get the most useful feedback from audiences and participants. This session will look at asking people the right questions, in a variety of ways, from surveys to vox pops. We hope this will provide an opportunity for people in the local community to volunteer and to learn useful new skills.
Real Medway and Swale are running two workshops to explain more about their augmented reality game project and to start planning the first games. They are looking for artists, storytellers, game makers, sound designers and others who would be interested in helping to plan and create content for the games. Book a space at either the Faversham or Rochester workshops listed below:
22nd April 7pm – Creek Creative, 1 Abbey Road, Faversham – book a place at:realswale.eventbrite.com
1st May – 7pm – coFWD, 161 High Street, Rochester – book a place at: realmedway.eventbrite.com
Real Medway and Swale is funded by Ideas Test – Creative People and Places Swale and Medway
Real Medway and Swale is funded by Ideas Test – Creative People and Places Swale and Medway
‘Real Medway & Swale’ is a new project funded by Creative People and Places (Medway and Swale) that aims to create an augmented reality adventure game, encouraging players to explore the area using mobile phone and tablet devices to find clues; interact with characters and solve puzzles, whilst moving around the real world. Imagine Monkey Island on your doorstep.
The game will be developed in collaboration with local artists, writers and volunteers who wish to experiment with augmented reality and digitally exhibit their work in unusual spaces.
Over the next few months there will be a series of workshops to explain the project in more detail, plan and find out who would be interested in getting involved.
email@example.com if you are interested in finding out more or would like to be invited to a workshop.
Are you a musician/filmmaker/artist/photographer/organisation etc who would like more people to know about your work and what you do?
Perhaps you always wanted to know what musicians/filmmakers/artists/photographers etc live and work and create in Medway?
Would you like to transmit your art? Would you like to project your talent?
Transmit:Project is a brand new project all about getting known. Its all about providing a platform for upcoming and established artist and performers. It’s all about having one place where people can go to find out more about the huge amount of talent that currently thrives in Medway.
This is going to be the place for local talent to be seen and heard. This is going to be the place where audience inside and outside Medway will come to see what talent is around. A while ago I wrote about some of the Medway scene with the popular Medway Visions articles. I hope these will morph into transmit:project files as well as adding new ones all the time.
But it needs you. Without talents to write about/broadcast then this project won’t get very far. Make yourself heard. Contact us.
Here’s how it works:
You send me a bio and some details about your work.
You send me a link to your work/send a cd etc.
With these things I can write about you.
You also send me a video file of you performing or a music video (musicians), interview/sequence of pictures of art (artists), sequence of photos (photographers) a short film (filmmaker).
With this I can post a clip of you/your work. (If you can’t get a video file to me then contact me anyway and we can sort something out)
This will then be shown from the transmit:project broadcast channel:
In time this project might spread out, but, for now, it’s all about Medway. And what better place to start. Transmitting art. Projecting talent.
The Moon The Eye
Seasonally Effected is a Rochester based open-mic night for creative and cultural exploration. It features a diverse mix of performances including poetry, short film, comedy, short stories, original music, plays and a variety of experimental content that is less easy to define. Usually happening at the lovely and cosy Dot Cafe on Rochester High Street, it is advisable to arrive early to guarantee a seat. The first events for this year are planned for the 29th January and 19th February and will run 7-9pm.
This year they are looking for performers who are up for more of a challenge. Organisers are suggesting people try something completely different from their usual practice, for example poets do a painting, singer-song writers perform some stand up, film makers experiment with flower arranging and storytellers sing a song.
The event is free to attend and there is no pressure to perform. However, if you are interested in booking a 10 minute spot to share something you have created, whether that be film, poem, song, art, idea or other form of expression, contact them on: firstname.lastname@example.org
We invest objects with emotional significance. Although they are simply things, they can represent something that connects us to a person or a time in the past. I have used objects as the starting point for creative writing exercises, and they can be useful for brainstorming ideas.
I try not to accumulate too much clutter (!) and only keep the few items that are precious, always mindful of the day when I’m no longer here and whoever is left behind will have the unenviable job of sorting out my stuff! But on a windowsill, I keep a few “ornaments”.
My cyberman model/toy – with moving parts! I’m a Dr Who fan and my favourite (and scariest) monsters were always the cyber men. When I was a child, I would hide behind the sofa when they came on TV. Something about the clanging metal, the unforgiving nature of a machine, the hollow empty space for eyes sockets – no emotion or humanity – gave me the creeps. The stuff of nightmares. However my more recent developing interest in cyber technology, sci fi, robotics, and neuroscience gives me a different viewpoint. How many of us who grew up in the 70s wanted the special abilities of the Six Million Dollar Man or the Bionic Woman? (Without the pain and injuries, of course!). Machines and technology have limitless power to transform lives for good. I sometimes wonder, when experiencing heartache and loss, how it would be to feel absent of emotion. A concept that is hard to imagine.
The Golem – My brother brought this back from a trip to Prague. According to good old Wiki, “in Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being, created entirely from inanimate matter.” The most famous golem narrative involves Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the late 16th century rabbi of Prague, who reportedly created a golem out of clay from the banks of the Vltava river, and brought it to life through rituals and Hebrew incantations to defend and protect the Prague ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks and pogroms. There are a whole host of legends and literature around the golem. My first ever encounter with the concept was a 1966 British/American film entitled It!, starring Roddy McDowall, who was at that time one of my favourite actors. I was about seven years old when I saw it.
This model is a symbol of my fascination with creation. I’m also intrigued the golem was associated with fighting oppression, which in turn connects to my loathing of bullying in any form. (See my post http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/which-fictional-character-would-you.html)
My clay horse. And, strangely, in writing this I see there is a link between my clay horse, Ernie, and my golem – that they were both born from clay, an amazing substance which resonates with spiritual significance. I made Ernie at school in art class when I was a child. I enjoyed shaping the clay and using my hands to create the shape. I couldn’t do the legs however – they kept snapping off – so decided to make a horse lying down to obviate that problem! His tail also fell off, so he became a cob. Ernie reflects my love of horses since childhood, and because I couldn’t have a real horse, I kept creating them – in my stories, my drawings and in plasticine and clay. When I left home at sixteen, Ernie was still living on my mum’s windowsill, where he stayed for many years. After she passed away, I brought him home with me and he took up residence on my windowsill. Ernie evokes a range of childhood memories and happy thoughts of mum.
I love the way that, unknowingly, all three of these objects are linked by common threads and themes; connections which I had never noticed before.
Creation. New life. Changed reality. Words we could also use to describe what we produce when we write. Wonderfully strange.
To find out more about Jane’s creative story, visit her blog www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk
Her recent e-book, Joyrider, is available from Amazon
How do you see the world? Is it ugly, beautiful, evil, good, exciting, depressing? A mixture? None of these? The mind’s eye is a strange expression. According to wiki (the fount of all knowledge!) it refers to the human ability for visualization using the imagination.
When you look at an object, or a place, do you see what is there – or beyond this? Can you see what it means, or meant; its place in history? Does it evoke the past?
Recently, I spent an absorbing few hours catching up on programmes I recorded on Sky Arts (a brilliant source of material) which began with a film about my favourite artist Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) the Dutch pioneer of abstract art. Mondrian is my favourite artist. He sought through his work to find essence and truth using horizontal and vertical lines, to create a new kind of beauty through geometry. His art is about structure, distillation, order and emotional connection and he wanted his art to be part of a greater whole. Not surprisingly he saw architecture as living art. On arrival in New York in 1940 he commented, “They told me New York was a hellish place, where you grew old before your time and gangsters made the law. That may well be true. But that is not the New York I saw, the one I loved and thought of as my own.” He saw beauty in the lights, the sounds, the skyscrapers and the vibrancy. The film, called Dans L’Atelier de Mondrian (in the studio of Mondrian) shows the artist’s studio as a working art installation and moves me to tears every time I see it. Mondrian lived in poverty most of his austere life and did not receive critical recognition until he was in seventies. (A familiar story for so many creatives, regrettably).
The next film was a documentary called Hitchcock on Grierson, which offered further insights into the ways other creatives have seen the world. It’s always interesting to see what one film director thinks of another and how he was influenced. I admire much of Hitchcock’s work but knew little about Dr John Grierson, who I discovered was a prolific, influential and pioneering Scottish film director and producer (1898-1972) who used documentary to express his distinctive way of seeing the world, utilising stunning shots to find patterns in objects not usually considered art, such as scaffolding and cranes, and seeing beauty and meaning in geometric shapes and structures and feats of engineering. It reminded me of Mondrian, and also the French composer (and one of my favourites) Edgard Varese (1883-1965) a visionary who had been dreaming of new sounds and electronic music a generation before it was technically possible, and whose astonishing blocks of dissonant sound are incredibly beautiful. Listening to his music, it is not surprising to learn of his fascination with architectural structures.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8FcxVKIAwo extract from Octandre by Edgard Varese
Reflecting on the way that these contrasting but connected artists saw the world, I was also reminded of doing art classes at school, and learning about seeing the light and shade in an object like a pot or a piece of cutlery. For a long time, I just didn’t get this. I couldn’t see it. Then, one day, I did and it was like a revelation which has never left me. Like being let in on a wonderful secret.
Finally, I watched a deeply moving and hauntingly beautiful film called The Way of the Morris. http://www.wayofthemorris.com/
Written and presented by Tim Plester (who was also co-producer and co-director) it is a personal, heartfelt journey, both physical and spiritual. Every shot was like a painting or photograph, with amazing lighting and stunning landscapes. Subtlely observed, like Grierson, this film used documentary to convey something profound about community, ritual, and the human soul, and what tradition and shared history can mean to us.
To see beauty is a gift. I’m a natural pessimist. I get angry about injustice and passionate about causes I believe in. But I can get emotional about beautiful landscapes and wild birds; about music, art, film, and literature.
In the 1940s, Mondrian wrote: “Art today is condemned to a separate existence, for present day life is essentially tragic. But in some distant future, art and life will be one.”
How do you see the world? Consonant or dissonant? Can you find beauty easily? And has your view changed over the years?
To find out more about Jane’s writing and publishing experiences, visit her blog www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk
Her recent e-book, Beware of the Horse, is available from Amazon:
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.
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.
Order tickets via Eventbrite:
In one evening Natasha Steer will help you create a simple website and show you the basics of how to maintain it.
There are just a few things you will need –
Images for the website
Your bio details for the “About” page
Your email address details
Details of the domain name you own – OR if you do not yet own a domain name (ie www.yournamehere.co.uk) then please purchase beforehand or bring a debit card/Paypal details on the night so that we can go through this process step by step. 1&1 internet are really good – you shouldn’t have to pay more that £10.
Any questions just email email@example.com
Location – 161 High Street, Rochester (coFWD)
Time – 7pm to 10pm
Please note: Our venue is a very old bank building that is being slowly shaped by a community of individuals for long-term Community Interest. Sadly the startup project is in its infancy and being run on limited funds so the building currently has some accessibility issues. If you have specific access or disability requirements and would like to participate in an event or activity please let us know at least 5 days before the event date so that we can do our utmost to resolve any potential problems to accommodate.
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
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.
When composers and writers collaborate, what comes first – the words or music? UCF hosts a conversation between Mariam Al-Roubi, singer, songwriter and librettist for the opera Mirabai, and its composer, Barry Seaman.
How does a creative work, such as an opera, develop from idea to tangible form through musical and written language? What is it like to adapt original text to produce a libretto? How do you ensure that you honour the original text (the opera subject, Mirabai, was herself a mystic poet, musician and dancer from 16th century Rajasthan). How do you integrate newly written poetry? How does a composer work with a writer? How is it different to working on an album? These questions will be explored and the dynamics of creative minds working together discussed, using musical examples.
About the speakers
Barry studied at York University, specialising in composition, and works have been produced and commissioned in most media, with broadcasts on Radio 3 and his music for silent films Tsar Ivan Vasilyevitch Grozny (Alexander Ivanov-Gai 1915) and The Life of Richard Wagner (Carl Froelich 1913) was widely toured in the USA. He has a special interest in music as a healing process. His most recent project is Mirabai, a large scale multimedia opera that combines ancient spiritual and romantic ideas with astonishing technology in collaboration with Musion Systems.
Mariam is a classically trained singer, dancer, musician and poet. Whilst writing the libretto for Mirabai, she is also working on a number of projects, including her studio album. She studied BA (Hons) Music Technology at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance.
Mirabai is the third of a trilogy. The first two pieces were large-scale choral works: The Consoling Song (words in Sanskrit from the Bhagavad Gita; commissioned by The Brighton Singers and first performed in Brighton UK 2002) and Bhajans (words by Nimisha Patel and Elizabeth Newman; commissioned by The Madrigal Choir of Binghamton and first performed in Binghamton NY USA 2007).
In March 2013, The Lake, and Petals, two excerpts from Mirabai, were premiered by the Ealing Symphony Orchestra and the Krishna Dance was shown as part of the annual Kinetica Art Fair in London, presented by the Musion Academy. A short film of the Krishna dance scene has been produced, and directed by acclaimed film director, Tony Palmer.
This event is FREE to attend but advance booking is essential.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01303 760600.