Work Your Way With Words – The Word Shed – Various Dates – Medway

shed_graphic1_weblogo

ME4Writers present their collective, collaborative project ‘The Word Shed’ at Fuse Medway Festival!

Come and visit The Word Shed, where inside, instead of seeds, pots and a lawnmower, and that drawer that’s full of things that you might need one day, you will find yourself in a blossoming, inspirational world of words.

During the festival, visitors to The Word Shed will help create a new ME4Writers’ publication. On the first two days, visitors will have the chance to add their poem or short story to the growing publication, on the third day, the writers will perform highlights from the new, nurtured and fully grown publication, and giveaway a free copy

The Word Shed is a Spark Commission for the Fuse Medway Festival, 14-16 June 2013.

‘ Wordshops’

ME4Writers will also be running some creative writing workshops, ‘Wordshops’, in the run up to the festival, where we will invite attendees to write short prose and poems inspired by Medway, Fuse and festivals!

Wordshops will be held at:

11 May – 1.30-3.30pm – Rochester Library

18 May – 10.30am-12.30pm – Strood Library

25 May – 10.30am-12.30pm – Walderslade Village Library

8 June – 1.30-3.30pm – Chatham Library

Places are free – but please reserve a place with the library concerned, or by phoning 01634 337799.

All submissions will then be added to our website, and a selection will be available from the Shed on the last day of the festival, printed in our new publication.

ME4Writers are known for their innovative, collaborative projects, and guerrilla publishing techniques, and have previously produced a poetry treasure hunt game played around the streets of Medway, ‘Poetrymon’, and the popular ‘Letters Home’ project, which asked people to write about home, culminating in an afternoon of readings and an exhibition at Rochester Library.

Dates: The Word Shed will be at various locations in Medway throughout the Fuse Festival. For exact locations please see their website, nearer the time.

http://me4wordshed.wordpress.com / Twitter @wordshed / http://www.facebook.com/wordshed

The Art of Crowdfunding: Presented by Crista Cloutier – 22nd May 2013 – Folkestone

Image by Rocío Lara
Image by Rocío Lara

The Art of Crowdfunding: A one hour workshop for artists, writers and creatives presented by Crista Cloutier.

Crowdfunding is fast becoming one of the most popular ways for artists and creatives to raise money. But is it as easy as it sounds? What is involved in a crowd funding campaign? In this intensive one hour workshop, Crista Cloutier will discuss the recent trends in crowd funding as she reveals the successes and challenges faced during her recent Indiegogo project.

Participants will learn:
– What is crowd funding and how does it work?
– How to choose the right platform
– How to approach budgets
– The importance of planning and implementation
– The hidden values of crowd funding
– Dealing with failures and setback
– Tips and tricks

Actively involved in the contemporary art world throughout her career, Crista Cloutier works internationally as a writer, artist, playwright, and educator. For more information go towww.cristacrista.com

Host University Centre Folkestone
Start Time Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 at 14:00pm
Entry Fee £FREE
Member Entry Fee £FREE
Location University Centre Folkestone
Mill Bay
Folkestone
Kent CT20 1JG

FREE to attend but booking essential – contact Jane Seaman

The weblink is here: http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/events/event-details.asp?eventId=3848

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

Hello? Is this thing on? – The People Fighting Your Corner

publicRelations

It’s been a while! Too long, in fact. So it’s about time for another article, methinks

This time, I’m going to try and shine a light on the weird and wonderful world of PR (or Public Relations in layman’s terms).

For those of you who don’t know, these are the lovely people that will be sending your music out to the world to get you as much profile, and radio play as they can, as well as loads of interviews, TV spots, and features as they can, and they can be split up into these rather broad categories:

  • Print
  • Online
  • Radio
  • Club

Print

The print PR team are going to spend their time targeting magazines and newspapers, ranging from being featured in their Albums/Singles of the Week to reviews, features, Q&A’s and more. Traditionally, these guys will also be writing up your press releases (I wrote previously about these devious documents here) and even biographies on occasions. Print is where most of your press would have come from in the old days, but with blogs and online editions starting to take over, this is less true, though still massively important. If successful, and I say ‘if’, because  PR can work day and night at times to make the project big but seemingly hit a brick wall, this is also where your quotes will come from for posters, product stickers, adverts and more.

Print press is the grandfather of PR in the music industry, and is continually merging with online going forwards as more magazines and websites increase and improve their web presence, which leads quite nicely to…

Online

 …Online PR (Pretty sure I’m breaking a lot of grammar rules using an ellipsis to bridge paragraphs but hey, that’s why I work for a label and not PR!). This is now arguably as important as print, if not more in the modern game. I say that because blogs are now the heart and soul of new music and main tool for breaking it. It’s also worth bearing in mind that it costs a magazine or newspaper to print an article in its physical form. The only cost of putting a review or feature on a website is bandwidth, the writer and whoever they pay to maintain the website, so as a rule they are much more susceptible to putting things up for you, given the amount of content uploaded in a day. This isn’t a make or break type scenario, but just an opinion of mine – you take what you want from it. It’s also a damn sight easier to get people to listen to your music on a website, with a Soundcloud link for example, than an article telling them the music is available to buy. That’s not to say they won’t go and seek it out at the record shop or iTunes, but think about it – one click of a Soundcloud/Youtube embed versus trawling through iTunes to find it themselves. This is probably a good time to note that PEOPLE ARE LAZY. Shove it in their face and make it as easy as possible and you’ll find more people will engage. Don’t believe me? Think about how you surf the web/read magazines and you should be able to answer me.

Radio

Radio can make or break a campaign. If you get loads of radio play across lots of a stations, then great! It gives you something to talk about and also gets the tunes out to more ears. If you get a few plays across a few stations, that’s good. Something, at the end of the day, is better than nothing. When you end up getting little to no plays, it makes the whole campaign a lot harder. After all, where else do you expect to hear new music? Traditionally that is, don’t forget how strong online is now, with iPhones, Galaxy phones the size of a dinner tray and tablets that make you try and remember why you ever had that giant, windows ‘95 computer tower decades ago. I digress. Radio PR teams will go and talk to presenters and producers (usually producers) and harass them until either they play your tunes on air or get removed from the building. They pitch to get you into playlists.

Now, for those of you that don’t know radio stations usually have a set of playlists, from which they make up the majority of the music in their shows. It usually consists of;

  • The ‘A’ Playlist – Big stars, super popular tracks (Adele, Beyonce, 1D and the like).
  • The ‘B’ Playlist – Tracks that are popular, but not quite at A-list status yet
  • The ‘C’ Playlist – you get the idea by now, right?
  • The ‘Specialist’ Playlist – This is where the tracks that don’t quite fit the mould sit, like big tracks that aren’t ‘pop’

This applies to most commercial stations, BBC Radio 1 & 2 and more online stations too. Just switch the genre up depending on the station. Presenters usually get one or 2 free plays, which are usually tracks of their own choice they can slot in once in a while.

As well as trying to get the recorded track on the air, they’ll try and get you in to talk, co-host where possible or go on and play a track. Be prepared to sit around for a long time to then play 2 songs, say 4 lines then leave. You’re at the mercy of scheduling, remember this. Especially live.

Club

The mystical and baffling world of club promo. Now as a rule this does not usually apply to traditional bands, it’s always been for electronic music really. House, D’n’B, Trip-Hop, Glitch Funk and Mooba-core. They’ll take your package of tracks and send it out to scores of DJ’s, both radio and live, to try and get them to play it. You often get loads of feedback from them about what they think of it but it’s incredibly difficult to track this back into sales. Get a review in a paper, have a website premier a single or have BBC 6 Music play your track, and it’s very easy to track and analyse just how effective it has been, be it new Facebook ‘Likes’ or 500 people buying your single. Club promo is almost under the radar in some ways. It puts the tracks in the hands of a select few people, nudges them to drop it into their set at XOYO or Plan B, hoping that the crowd goes wild and then goes off in search of just what the hell track it was. And there is your issue. Radio, print, online, all say what the track is, who it was by etc. In the club, you’ve either got to ask the DJ (If he/she’s not holed up in his/her booth), pray your ‘in the know’ club buddy knows the track or you can get close enough to a speaker to Shazam the track without overloading your phone’s microphone. A double-edged sword, but if you get the right DJ behind a track and they pioneer it, you’re onto a winner.

Now, I would advise all of you to read this as it is. I work with PR through a label, not for a PR company. This is just my words and thoughts and a little insight into how I see it working, as well as some generalisations and opinions I read in ‘Music Week’ from time to time. Do your own research. Approach a PR company and see what they think of your tunes. Get them to pitch you their opinion of how they could work your track and where they think is a good place for it.

This is also a work in progress. Undoubtedly I’ve missed things that I know but don’t remember that I know. Pop a question in the box below and I’ll do my best to answer it. In fact, here’s a link to my previous articles. Read them and ask me questions. I started writing these blogs to try and give an insight and some help, so help me do that by picking my brain.

By Luke Crook

Survived – Chatham Clinic – Open 19th May 2013

Chatham Clinic - Open 19th May 2013

The clinic will be open in Chatham on May the 19th 2013. Book at www.survived.eventbrite.co.uk

A unique theatre experience is taking place at Sun Pier House, Chatham, on the 19th May.

Entitled “Survived”, the event is described as “site responsive interactive theatre”, which means you as the audience get to walk around the performance taking place throughout the building, and engage with the performers.

Set in the distant present, Survived is a clinic for people who have survived a nuclear explosion and need treatment for their radiation poisoning caused by fallout. You, the visitor, are in this case, the patient needing help.

This is the perfect opportunity to see how empty space can be used for unique types of theatre, as well as an example of collaboration within the community. The event is aimed to be inspiring and educational. 

Expect gas masks, steampunk and bizarre medical instruments.

Survival wear is optional.

There are two clinics, one at 7.30pm and one at 8.30pm. Each clinic lasts 45 minutes.

Tickets cost £5 and must be pre-booked at www.survived.eventbrite.co.uk

Disabled access disclaimer: Unfortunately, due to the current nature of the building in use, we are unable to provide access to this event for the disabled.

Fresh Look For Fuse Festival 2013 With New Artistic Director

Fuse festival, a free outdoor festival held yearly in Medway, is back for 2013 with a new artistic director. The festival is also supporting some new exciting projects by local creatives.

The new artistic director, Megan Donnolley, is originally from Australia, where her working life encompassed an exciting variety of comedy, fashion, dance and theatre events including Sydney’s Fringe and Comedy festivals, Megan brings an international flavour to Fuse, together with an absolute commitment to local Medway communities and artists. Based in London, most recently she has curated public art and exhibitions, worked on community art projects in the Tower Hamlets, and is Co-Director of Comica: London International Comics Festival. She has also delivered large scale outdoor events, national open access film and literature competitions and worked extensively in contemporary music as an agent and music festival producer.

MeganDonnollyFuseMedwayFestival
Megan Donnolly

Back in January local creatives were offered the chance to put forward ideas for the festival, and 3 unique projects have been awarded with the commission to carry out their ideas.

Dizzy O'Dare
Dizzy O’Dare

Dizzy O’Dare Presents…. will be bringing ‘The Wonderful World of Mr E,’ an interactive show for ages 5+, featuring puppets, clowning and story-telling.  Mr E travels through the audience’s imagination, visiting strange new lands and going on fun adventures. Mr E and his two assistants will take their audience on an expedition into imagination itself. Between shows the audience will be encouraged to visit Mr E’s intriguing Museum where they can write a postcard, draw some of Mr E’s adventures, or help create a new artefact or creature.

Rebecca Ashton’s
Rebecca Ashton’s

Rebecca Ashton’s ‘The Sirens of Cetham’ will be a visually exciting dance performance on and around The Anchor in Chatham (Cetham being the ancient word for Chatham).  The bustling setting will inspire the costume design and in turn, the choreography. A sewing group will help make the costumes and a local school will decorate a ‘Feedback Fishing Net.’  Young choreographers and costume designers will learn new skills from professionals during the project and the whole performance will be live and interactive during the Festival.

ME4 Writers
ME4Writers

Innovative writers’ group ME4Writers are creating ‘The Wordshed’ – a cosy and intimate base for creative thought.  Guided by visitors to the Festival, the writers will develop and launch a new collection of poetry and stories for (and about) Fuse Festival, festivals in general and Medway. Visitors who wish to take part will be invited to create their own piece of writing to add to the collection. On Day 3 of the Festival there will be the opportunity to hear readings from the finished publication and collect a free copy.

 Other creative projects will be involved, but this is yet to be announced.

FUSE 2013 will take place from 14th to 16th June, preceded by Lighting the Fuse. Visitors to the Festival can expect to see Medway’s streets and open spaces filled with some of the most exciting and inspiring entertainment with lots of free arts events for all the family throughout the weekend.

For more information about Fuse Medway Festival visit the website at www.fusefestival.org.uk, or join them on Facebook or Twitter.

Area: Kent   South East    Medway

Chinese Brush Painting Workshop With Ann Fairchild – 26th March 2013 – Strood

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Artist Ann Fairchild will be running a workshop about Chinese brush painting in Strood on the 26th March. She will be demonstrating how she creates her paintings and then participants will be able to give it a try.

Bring along water pots, newspapers and wear your painting clothes!

The workshop has been organised by the North Kent Art Society www.facebook.com/NKArtSociety

New members/ visitors welcome.

Members £2, Non Members £5. Annual Membership £15.

Location: Peninsula Church Hall, Cliffe Road, Strood. ME2 3DY.

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

7.30pm – 9.30pm.

Enquiries:Tina Woodward 01634 725006 Email:tinwoody21@yahoo.co.uk

or

Hazel Kilburn 01634 250322 Email:hazelchristine1@btinternet.com

Area:  Kent    Strood    South East

What A Young Artist Taught Me About Crowdfunding – By Crista Cloutier

Harrison

It was Day 16 of the campaign and I had only cried in public once. Twice. Online crowdfunding is not for the faint of heart.

I’ve spent my entire career in and around the art world. I recently curated a touring exhibition of new work by Kiki Smith and Valerie Hammond. I have been a gallerist and a fine art print-publisher, collaborating with the luminaries of the international art world. I have sold artwork to nearly every major institution in the USA as well as thousands of galleries and collections.

But about five years ago I had what I refer to as a midlife “correction.” Desperate to become something different, I sold all of my possessions and used them as a ticket to a new life. I left my home in the states and moved to the south of France, devoting a year to discovering my own creative path, before moving to England where I really got down to work and became a writer and photographer.

Throughout my career I have seen how artists struggled and I knew it didn’t have to be so hard. So I began sharing with artists what I knew about how the art market works and giving them the tools necessary to create a successful career. I called my class The Working Artist and I have now spent the past three years teaching it throughout the world.

I’ve long wanted to turn this course into an online educational program, something that could be downloaded so that any artist, anywhere, can have access to this information at an affordable price. After spending nearly a year researching the options and putting a business plan together I decided to launch an online crowdfunding campaign to raise the monies it would take to film and edit the program.

The launch party was a huge success and I exceeded my initial goal in terms of donations. The next two weeks have been a whirling dervish of emotions and bloody hard work. At the computer constantly posting, begging, pleading, thanking. And when I’m not at the computer I am out on the streets handing out promotional materials, chatting with artists, lecturing, making connections, chasing leads. This month, it seems, will never end.

The biggest take-aways have been the lessons learned, the hard way, about staying balanced, about not being attached to the outcome, and about letting go of what other people think. Easy lessons none.

But it’s been difficult to keep the faith. Though I have been blessed with little moments of serendipity that give me cheer, each day that someone tells me “no” can bring my spirits crashing to the ground. And so Day 16 began. I was halfway through the campaign, I’d begged every friend, relative, and ex-boyfriend I knew and had raised just over half my goal. Now what? I was exhausted. Well-intentioned friends gave me advice about how I could be doing it better, but they only served to make it worse. I was having a crisis of faith.

Harrison

I was on my bicycle whizzing down a hill under a bridge when something caught my eye. A little boy was drawing with chalk on the concrete wall. My camera was at home with a dead battery. But I have a phone, I reminded myself. I hate photographing with a phone and I don’t photograph children but something told me to turn back. I asked his mother if I could take a picture. I tried to get a shot of him as he drew, apologizing for not having my good camera. “So do you just ride your bike and take pictures of things that interest you?” he asked. I nodded and he looked impressed, “I want to be like you.” What’s that? “An artist,” he smiled.

He showed me some of his other, earlier, chalk drawings. There was a large piece called “People Pasture” of a unicorn eating people. “But I don’t think that’s my best work,” he said gravely. His name was Harrison and he was 8 years old. His drawings filled the walls with their childlike graffiti, he’d even written poetry. “Faith. Justice. Believers matter,” he wrote.

“Sometimes,” he confessed, “I have doubts about my work.” Harrison wanted to be a famous artist. We spoke for a long time. He told me how it hurts when people don’t like what he does. I pointed him back to his own words, “Believers matter.”

I told him what it is to be an artist, how it’s important to always take chances, to make your life an expression of your work, of your self. I spoke of integrity. He drank my words in thirsty gulps. I told him how fame is a false prophet and how his life’s work, as an artist, is to work hard to develop that which lies inside and to always look for ways to express it, leaving everyplace he ever goes more beautiful for him having been there. “Like you do with these walls,” I told him.

He said, “It’s so good that I met you.” But it was I who was blessed. I told Harrison about my crowdfundung campaign and he encouraged me not to give up. “Look how much you have helped me today,” he said. “This is your work.”

I asked to take his picture with my phone and he made me wait so he could put on his glasses. As I left, he told me that he would be back tomorrow, making another drawing, should I want to visit him. “I will photograph you again,” I promised.

“Bring your good camera this time,” he said.

By Crista Cloutier

Crista Cloutier’s crowdfunding campaign ends on March 30th. Visit www.igg.me/at/theworkingartist to see how you can participate.