Featured Creative: Sara Ana Mejias Pinilla – SAM Art

Medway has a new artist in town and her beautiful paintings of pets will warm your heart! Recently having moved to Rochester, Sara loves painting animals and has an amazing way of making them present personality. I wanted to get to know more about Sara, so I asked some questions about her and her beautiful work!

How long have you been painting for?

I’ve been painting for almost 9 years, I was studying my third year at university when I started to paint dog portraits to raise money for a dog’s shelter.

Why do you love painting pets?

Because I love pets! I think when you are working, it’s really important to love what you are doing. I try to capture the essence of the pet and the magical expression in their eyes.

All the pets are really extraordinary, they give you everything, they make you laugh, help you with sad moments of your life…

I think they deserve to be remembered and with a portrait, you can freeze time and it gives you a memory for a lifetime.

Commissions for artworks of pets are notoriously hard and many artists turn them down, how do you manage customer expectations?

Well, when a person decides to work as a painter, he usually chooses a theme to specialise. Some of them work with landscapes, some of them with portraits of people and I chose animals. My customers always understand my style of painting. I usually show them some of the work I have created already so they can have a real expectations about the pet’s portrait I’m going to do.

What do you love most about Rochester?

Rochester has something special, I love getting lost in its streets and listening to the sound of the wind and nature.

I love its parks and gardens, they have beautiful flowers and they are very quiet so you can relax and enjoy.

I love walking near the Medway River and watching the sunset

Do you think you will stay or are there other places you want to travel to?

I don’t really know, I love living here but I would like to travel to other places to see more of this beautiful country. Time will tell what adventure I am going to live!

What would be your dream project?

My dream project would be to be a freelancer and be able to work painting murals and teaching painting in a studio or academy. I was a painting and art teacher in Seville so I miss teaching.

Whose work and music do you love?

I currently follow many great artists. Some of them are:

Javid Tabatabaei, an Iranian-Canadian water-colourist who paints magical landscapes.

Casey Baugh is an extraordinary painter from New York who makes charcoal portraits out of the ordinary and paintings of the city at night with women as the main character of the scene.

Ruben Belloso is a Spanish wonderful  pastel painter, born in Seville. He paint beautiful and emotional portraits.

About music, I listen to different musical genres. I like to paint with soundtracks, jazz, post rock, grunge, puck, indie, alternative rock …

Antilopez, Polyphia, Mogwai are great music bands and Jeff Buckley, Billie Holiday or El Kanka are great musicians!

Thank you for speaking to Creatabot Sara!

You can see more of Sara’s work on her Facebook page.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Natasha Steer

Riverside One Studios (Now Closed) – Rehearsal Recording and Gig Space – Chatham

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Started by Nucleus Arts in conjunction with Jamie Johnson, Riverside One Studios is a new music project in Chatham, Kent.

Jamie Johnson is a local singer/songwriter from Gillingham, Kent who appeared on national TV as Kylie Minogue’s finalist on The Voice in 2014.

Jamie’s experience has inspired him to help aspiring musicians. Their plan is to try to help anyone who has a passion for music and wishes to find the next step to building a career in the music industry or just some friendly advice on what they can do to improve. 

Many of you may remember the Riverside One building as the council venue on Dock Road, next to the bus station. A really great location as you can see it from the new bus station and it’s only a 5 minute walk from the train station.

The idea behind the studios is to have a place where anyone can come together to write, rehearse and record music. We are also able to offer teaching, mentoring and other sessions that support budding musicians in Medway.

Riverside One has 1 small rehearsal/writing room, 1 large recording/rehearsal/performance space and 1 main control studio room with the facilities to record a single or an album. 

 

 

Riverside One Studiosalso works with people who may be at risk of social exclusion as part their “Art Inclusive” programme. This currently involves a joint project with The Princes Trust, where together they are offering young people in unemployment the opportunity to learn more about making music and the music industry. Contact Nucleus Arts to find out more.

Riverside One are also able to offer music lessons including guitar and singing lessons through various partners.

Room Hire:

Main Rehearsal Room – 4 Hours £40 Or £13 Per Hour

Small Rehearsal/Writing Rooms – 4 Hours £30 Or £11 Per Hour

Recording:

Full day – 8 hours £200

Half day – 4 hours £120

Recording – £30 per hour

Ep package – 2 full days of recording £380

Live Music Event Hire: From £15ph

If you would like to donate towards the studios it is never too late….. Please visit the following ‘go fund me’ page :

www.gofundme.com/riversideonestudio

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FREE music events in Medway from the School of Music & Fine Art

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The University of Kent at Medway’s School of Music & Fine Art offers a range of FREE music events, ranging from masterclasses, concerts and talks, in the wonderfully atmospheric Chatham Historic Dockyard, where the School is based.

On Tuesday November 10th in the Galvanising Shop Performance Space at Chatham Historic Dockyard, SMFA students studying band and ensemble playing are performing a lunchtime concert from 12 noon to 1pm. Everyone welcome.  And there will be another lunchtime concert on Tuesday December 15th.

Friday 13th  November in the Galvanising Workshop Israeli composer, performer and improviser Guy Harries will lead a two-hour Technology in Performance Masterclass from 3-5pm demonstrating his method and techniques in utilising technology in live performance.

On Wednesday December 9th, the Galvanising Workshop is the venue for a Christmas Concert at 7.30pm – students perform music from a range of traditions. The jazz improvisation ensemble and choir feature works by Juan Tizol, Duke Ellington and Joe Harriott.  The Contemporary Music Ensemble, Chamber Choir and Multi-Keyboard Ensemble present music to both challenge and delight the audience.

And on Thursday December 17th at Cargo Bar, Liberty Quays from 8pm – 11pm,  bands from the School of Music & Fine Art perform sets of original material and covers.  These are exciting evenings with a fantastic atmosphere and always draw a crowd!

All of these events are FREE but please do book through mfareception@kent.ac.uk  and check out the website for regular updates at  https://www.kent.ac.uk/smfa/  

PHOTO CREDIT: Stacey Cooper

Medway’s Creative Spaces

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

Nucleus Arts

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

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

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

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

Sun Pier House

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

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

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

POP Creative Space

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

Unravel and Unwind

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

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

Intra Arts

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

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

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know: Rochester Literature Festival 2014

September 25th – October 5th 2014

The Rochester Literature Festival is proud to present its second annual festival, Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know.

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We’re delighted to be opening this year with an hilarious and heart-warming one woman show with actress Sunny Ormonde – the outrageous Lilian Bellamy from BBC Radio 4’s The Archers, the world’s longest running soap.

Over the course of the next ten days, we’ll be joined by as-seen-on-tv-off-his-trolley comic genius Phil Kay, master of freeform performance and storytelling, and notorious Australian, Trenton Oldfield – who served six months at her Majesty’s Pleasure for disrupting the 2012 Boat Race in a protest against elitism.

We will be hosting two wonderful authors who’ll fascinate you with insights and anecdotes from their latest books: Angela Buckley introduces us to The Real Sherlock Holmes – Detective Jerome Caminada, whose methodologies mimicked Conan Doyle’s genius, and Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, who will discuss the impact of reality on fiction. While No One Was Watching is set against the backdrop of the Kennedy assassination and the abduction of a young girl from the grassy knoll on that fateful day.

For families to enjoy together, we have Assassin, featuring the fantastic Joe Craig reading extracts from his Jimmy Coates series – part boy, part weapon, totally deadly – which will be interpreted with music by Alice composer, Jacob Bride, and exciting young street dance group CYC. Awesome Keeper of the Realms trilogy author, Marcus Alexander, who is Charlie’s Keeper, will entertain and inspire you with his delightfully wicked fantasy adventure series – get your read on!

Our interactive story game this year is Murder in the Crypt and will feature some of your favourite detectives. In addition, we’re holding a Cafe Crawl, where you can sample music, poetry, storytelling and more, in the company of, amongst others, former Canterbury Laureate Dan Simpson. Bookmark’d is a chance to buy books, swap books or just listen to books, read aloud by their authors.

Our Night at the Theatre will this year be held in conjunction with Chatham Grammar School for Boys and be presented by award winning 17% playwrights, Sam Fentiman-Hall, Sarah Hehir and Maggie Drury. The Spirit of My Dream is inspired by Byron’s poem The Dream and features new plays with a somewhat fantastical theme.

An exhibition curated by ME4Writers especially for the festival, An Assemblance of Judicious Heretics, has channelled Byron to produce work inspiring madness, badness and dangerousness in the hearts of artists. A live reading will bring the visual carnage to life!

Byron’s Teapot will be our finale – a mad mix of the unusual and quirky, featuring The James Worse Public Address Method, JP Lovecraft, Dylan Oscar Rowe and Brides of Rain.

Tickets are available here.

We look forward to welcoming you to our exciting – and only slightly scary – second full length festival!

To read full details, download a copy the 2014 programme and buy tickets, please visit rochesterlitfest.com.

If you have any enquiries regarding any of the events or festival in general, please email rochesterlitfest@gmail.com or telephone 07904 643770.

The Rochester Literature Festival (RLF) was formed in May 2011 as an information sharer, and held its inaugural event, The Garden Poetry Party in July 2012.

The first main festival, Other Worlds, Other Voices took place in October 2013.

The RLF is a voluntary group and currently receives no public funding, relying solely on the generosity of its performers, audiences, personal donations and in kind help.

The Programme Details

An Evening with Sunny Ormonde

Thursday, 25th September, 7pm – 10pm

Lords Wood Sports and Social Club

£10

Café Crawl

Saturday, 27th September, 1pm-5pm

La Toretta, Tiny Tims, Café 172 (Dot Café), Bruno’s Bakes. Rochester High Street

Free

The Queen versus Trenton Oldfield: A Prison Diary

Saturday, 27th September, 7pm – 10pm

Sun Pier House, Chatham

£6

Bookmark’d

Sunday, 28th September, 12noon – 4pm

Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Free

Marcus Alexander: Who is Charlie’s Keeper?

Sunday, 28th September, 2pm – 3.30pm

Woodlands Academy, Gillingham

£3

The Real Sherlock Holmes: Angela Buckley

Monday, 29th September, 6.30pm – 9pm

Café 172 (Dot Café), Rochester

£4.00

While No-one Was Watching: Debz Hobbs-Wyatt

Wednesday, 1st October, 6.30pm – 9pm

Café Nucleus, Chatham

£4

An Assemblance of Judicious Heretics Live

Thursday, 2nd October, 7.30pm

Rochester Library

Free

Exhibition: Friday 26/9 to Saturday 25/10 Free, normal opening hours.

Phil Kay: Wholly Viable

Friday, 3rd October, 8.00pm – 11.30pm (includes support)

The Billabong Club, Rochester

£7

Murder in the Crypt

Saturday, 4th October, 10am – 4pm

Bishopscourt, Rochester

Ticket price £3

A Night at the Theatre: The Spirit of my Dream

Saturday, 4th October, 7pm – 10pm

Chatham Grammar School for Boys

£5

Assassin

Sunday, 5th October, 2pm -5pm

Lords Wood Sports and Social Club

Tickets from £3. Family tickets available.

Byron’s Teapot

Sunday, 5th October, 7.30pm – 11pm

Lords Wood Sports and Social Club

£5

The Travelling Talesman pitching in Rochester

The Rochester Literature Festival will play host to the Travelling Talesman at the Good Intent, John Street, Rochester on Friday, May 9th.

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The Travelling Talesman has toured the country from Penzance to York, for feasts, festivals and fun since the early nineties.

You might guess from his name that The Travelling Talesman is a storyteller who enjoys taking his stories to new places. With twenty years experience telling myths, legends and folktales, last year he was nominated for “Outstanding Male” in the British Awards For Storytelling Excellence.

Expect a fun evening of gripping yarns as The Talesman recounts stories of Norse Gods, Celtic mysteries, clever girls and Dragon Slayers, medieval mayhem, giants, goblins and Halloween horrors. Originally specialising in Northern European tales, his stories are now drawn from all over the world.

Entry is free and doors open at 7pm. However, donations to cover costs would be welcomed and can be made via the Eventbrite page here.

To find out more about the Travelling Talesman, please visit his website here.

For information on other Rochester Literature Festival events, including their 2014 festival ‘Mad Bad & Dangerous to Know’ please visit www.rochesterlitfest.com or call 07904 643770.

Seasonally Effected – Creative Open-Mic Events – Medway

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.

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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: seasonallyeffected@gmail.com

Make a Website In A Night – 8th July 2013 – Rochester

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Order tickets via Eventbrite:
http://websiteinanight-efbevent.eventbrite.co.uk/

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 –

A laptop

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 natasha@creatabot.co.uk

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.