Ideas Test on Tour @ Focus On Chatham

In the first of three blogs, members of the Ideas Test team tell us about their experiences at the Focus On events in Medway.

In our first blog Audience Development Officer, Kyra Cross gives us some background on the events, and how the first event went…

It may be the end of the festival season, but Ideas Test have gone on tour!

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of being formed, Medway Council have organised amazing fun days at different locations throughout the Medway area.

The first of these Focus On events was at Hook Meadow Community Centre in Walderslade.
After loading up a van full of tables, chairs, and even a gazebo, myself and Ideas Test’s Director Lucy made our way to Hook Meadow to meet artist Nicole Mollett.

Some of you may remember Nicole from her exhibition and residency at Ideas Test last year, or from her collaboration with Sarah Butler on More Than 100 Stories, the project where they visited all 21 of the Creative People And Places projects in England, including Ideas Test.

The Kent Cultural Baton after being set up at Hook Meadow Community Centre on Saturday 1st September. Photo: Kyra Cross

Also joining us was the incredible Kent Cultural Baton – a converted Airstream caravan used by Nicole in 2012.

After some wrestling with gazebo poles (thank goodness it was nice weather!) we were ready to meet Walderslade.

The Focus On event was such great fun. To our left was Xtina Lamb of Intra Arts, who was running a printing drop-in which was very popular. To our right were Bootworks Theatre whose live Jukebox lip-sync performances of pop hits proved to be a crowd pleaser.

Also on site were a mini-farm, a skate ramp with many intrepid and brave skaters taking part, performances from Walderslade Sings community choir, and even a coconut shy!

Our main aim for the day was to to meet people. We wanted to know what you think of Ideas Test and what you want us to be. We also know there’s lots of creative in Medway, and we wanted to collect information, but in a more interesting way than forms and graphs.

This is where Nicole came in…

All ears! A drawing of an ear by artist Nicole Mollett. Photo: Kyra Cross

Nicole picked up her pencil and drew an ear, and as if by magic people came and told her all the creative things they loved to do and new things they wanted to try.

As the day went on the drawing grew and spread across the large paper canvas. Things from slime workshops, science fiction, to dog fashion shows, were part of a long list that Nicole added to her drawing.

 

One of my favourite illustrations was of a young girl who spoke to me. She was very glamourous with wonderful purple nails. She was also training to be a boxer and wanted to be a wrestler, which Nicole used as inspiration for a portrait of her holding a championship belt.

Audience Development Officer, Kyra Cross talking to the public attending the Focus On event at Hook Meadow, Walderslade. Photo: Lucy Medhurst

Both Lucy and myself spoke to lots of wonderful and interesting people who lived locally. We definitely had a lot of ideas and information to follow up on.

If you missed us at Hook Meadow then don’t worry! There are two other chances to meet the Ideas Test team and Nicole Mollett at the following Focus On events in Strood and Hoo.

 

Saturday 15 September, 10.30am-4.30pm

Focus On Strood @ Northcote Recreation Ground, Strood.

 

Saturday 22 September, 12pm-6pm

Focus On Hoo @ High Halstow Recreation Ground, Hoo.

Click on our video trailer below for more information.