Our Story

The story of Ideas Test is the story of the people in Medway and Swale and the determination and passion of all those communities and organisations who’ve been a part of what we do. 

This story isn’t just ours…it’s your story.

Ideas Test Timeline

2012

A group of Swale & Medway-­based voluntary and arts organisations, led by Swale CVS, successfully apply for funding from the Arts Council England’s new Creative People & Places (CPP) programme.

Ideas Test became one of the first seven CPP projects in England. Each one is based in an area of England where people have fewer opportunities to get involved in the arts.

 

2013-2014

Ideas Test launches the Small Experiments scheme to support small arts projects across Swale and Medway. These projects helped more of our communities to take part in the arts in new ways and were chosen by community panels.

Other projects: Out Of The Ordinary

 

2015

Ideas Test moves into No. 34, Sittingbourne High Street. 

As well as being our office, this became a venue for our arts programme and exhibitions.  

Projects: Operation Black Antler (with Blast Theory/Hydrocracker)

 

2017

Introduction of our Youth Programme strand for young people aged 14 to 25.

Our Youth Programme is launched with projects like Creative Job Club and Start-Up Slam.

Other projects: Young At HeArt – creative programme for people 55+

 

2018

Lucy Medhurst is appointed Ideas Test director after Steph Fuller steps down.

Projects: Sea Folk Sing: Never Again, Swale’s Big Music Takeover

 

2019

Ideas Test awarded another 3 years of Creative People and Places funding.

Projects: Paper Peace/Blink; Sea Folk Sing: Year 2

 

2020

Ideas Test moves from Swale to Gillingham. This move was to focus on working in a more agile way and more ‘hyperlocally’ – in existing venues and places that communities use, rather than programming for a fixed location.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, our team worked from home, using technology to bring our communities together with projects like the award-shortlisted Sea Folk Sing, our Snack & Chat session where young people could meet and talk with us..

Ideas Test enters Phase 3 of our Creative People and Places funding.

Ideas Test becomes a CIO, or Charitable Incorporated Organisation to secure more opportunities for fundraising, sponsorship and crowdfunding. Swale CVS remains key member of our Consortium.

Other projects: Dis-quiet

 

2021

Ideas Test moves from Gillingham to Central Chatham.

Ideas Test announced to join Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places National Portfolio.

Other projects: You Me Us and it’s legacy project You Me Us Too; Make Waves.

 

2022

Lucy Medhurst announces she will be standing down as Ideas Test director after 4 years in the role

Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places initiative comes to a close after 10 years, replaced by the Creative People and Places National Portfolio.

Ideas Test begins its new funding phase as a part of Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places National Portfolio in April 2022. This funding is a substantial uplift from our previous funding and runs until March 2025.

After an extensive recruitment process involving , Tracy Brunt, Deputy Director at Ideas Test since 2020, is appointed Director by the Ideas Test Board of Trustees.

Projects: We Are Medway for Medway Light Nights, You Me Us Too, Make Waves