Päivi Seppälä and Gary Weston at Light Vessel 21

UPDATE: Discovery Group partner LightVessel 21 have decided to step down from their role on the consortium to concentrate on the further development of LV21. Ideas Test would like to thank them for the work they have put in over the last 18 months and looks forward to working with them on their Out of the Ordinary project Lookout.

Päivi Seppälä is one of the creative practitioners behind Light Vessel 21, a floating arts, culture, heritage and performance venue moored at Gillingham Pier. Päivi, who also runs art consultancy business Poppana, set up LV21 Ltd with Medway filmmaker Gary Weston in 2009 to promote and support the creative community, across art forms, in the Medway area and beyond, while celebrating and honouring the maritime traditions of light vessel LV21. Through Poppana, Päivi has produced and project managed a range of high profile public art projects and delivered curatorial and consultancy services for private and public sector clients both nationally and internationally.

Gary is an independent filmmaker and multimedia content producer. Through his Medway based production company Spaghetti Weston he has produced films and digital content for broadcasters, councils, charities, bands and creative artists.

Päivi got involved with CPP to help boost arts and culture in Swale and Medway through collaborative working. She said: “We are passionate about putting Kent and Medway firmly on the creative map through supporting and contributing to the cultural sector development in the area. Our vision is to develop LV21 into a unique venue with an individual and distinct identity, one of north Kent’s prime platforms for cultural activities across diverse artistic disciplines.

“We feel that participation in the Creative People and Places consortium would ensure ongoing long-term collaboration and partnership working with diverse groups, organisations and individuals, both professional and voluntary, and enable LV21 to deliver an innovative mix of cultural projects that effect positive social change and help rejuvenate the area and improve wider access to and understanding of the arts across art forms.”

With help from local professionals and volunteers, Päivi and Gary hope to play their part in rejuvenating the Medway riverfront and endeavour to turn LV21 into an iconic landmark; a beacon attracting all sectors of the community, new visitors and businesses to the riverside, while providing memorable arts experiences for all. New facilities and services being rolled out as restoration work progresses range from contemporary art gallery and performance spaces to educational programmes, community activities and cultural events.

To emphasise LV21’s community-based cultural and heritage activity, LV21 ShipMates, a not-for-profit arm of the venture, has been established as a supporting body. Any individuals or organisations can volunteer to take part in the planning and delivery of activities aboard LV21 and there are currently more than 400 ShipMates plus a core team of 10 volunteers ranging from retired mariners and educators to professional marine engineers, artists and maritime enthusiasts.

Past projects have included Iron Gym – a University of Kent-led participatory public art project combining heritage sites and artefacts with sporting activities; a vintage coastal-themed souvenir shop, drop-in workshops for adults and children and nautical singing and music with the Seaside Sisters; and the spectacular Focal Point – a performance of aerial daredevilry and pyrotechnic explosions on board LV21 as the finale of the FUSE Medway Festival.

Built in 1963, Light Vessel 21 is a unique 40m steel-hulled lightship, the last of the renowned Philip and Son’s ships to be commissioned by Trinity House. A lightship is an anchored vessel equipped with a beacon light and foghorn to guide or warn other seafaring vessels in dangerous waters. LV21 saw most of her service off the Kent coast on the Varne, East Goodwin and Channel stations. She was retired from service in 2008 and restoration works are on-going.

For more information please visit http://LV21.co.uk