Ideas Test is committed to empowering people to live more creative lives, which can often mean supporting people to learn new skills. Over the last few months at Ideas Test our new interns Katie and Jade have been invaluable in supporting Ideas Test’s programme and promoting the Spirit of Sittingbourne regeneration scheme whilst gaining valuable experience of working in the creative sector.
We talked to Katie and Jade about their favourite places and art in Swale & Medway and wider-Kent and how they got involved with Ideas Test.
Katie grew up in Medway and studied Illustration at Brighton University. Moving home after university last September, she wanted to rediscover the Arts scene in Medway and Swale. Passionate about positive, social change through Art and Culture, and opportunities being available outside of cities, Katie discovered Ideas Test from our Out Of the Ordinary Places project in Grain.
When I discovered Ideas Test I was excited to find that they are facilitating quality projects so close to home. I started volunteering with Ideas Test last November and I began my internship in February. I’ve since been working alongside Associate Programmer Jane Pitt in the execution of the events programme for No.34, and developing transferable skills in areas such as Marketing, including setting up the Ideas Test Instagram. I have enjoyed gaining an insight into how both large and small-scale projects are managed, and how you may engage the community in artistic practice and events. Being based in No.34 on a weekly basis, you can see how these small interactions soon add up, as people become accustomed to the space and begin to engage with events that perhaps at first they may not have, for one reason or another.
My favourite place in Swale and Medway is The Riverside; particularly the view of the Power Station on The Hoo Peninsula which I can see from my bedroom window. I find the juxtaposition of infrastructures with the natural environment both calming and intriguing. The prison boats that align the riverbeds, set upon a backdrop of graffiti scrawled walls and migrating birds. Decaying modes of energy and transport fossilised like a living museum. I also find myself drawn to the Big Screen perched elusively on the banks of the River Medway in Chatham, playing nonstop silent newsreels. I’d love to see this being used in some kind of Jenny Holzer style public art intervention.
One of the best art events I’ve attended recently in Swale and Medway was actually right here in No.34. A Tony Hill film screening. As a filmmaker myself it was really exciting to gain an insight into his work and to see the rigs and contraptions he used to create the pioneering techniques he used as he toured his work to the likes of the BFI in London and Arnolfini in Bristol. I’ve also seen some pretty cool bands in Medway recently, notably Black Light Brigade who I saw at Billabong Club in Rochester a few weeks ago. They describe themselves on their bandcamp as no-fi experimental noise. They were good.
Jade has lived in Sittingbourne for the majority of her life and is excited to be able to put something back into the community. Jade is enjoying engaging with new artists and hopes to develop and contribute to the growing local network of creative people in Sittingbourne and the surrounding areas. She is working with Creative Network Manager Jon Pratty and is enjoying learning about the Spirit of Sittingbourne regeneration project.
There are a number of places in Swale and Medway that foster fond family memories; Capstone Park, for instance, was easily my favourite place to venture to growing up. Now, as a keen dog walker and enthusiastic photographer, places like Riverside Country Park and Leysdown Beach on the Isle of Sheppey have become firm favourites. I also spent more than a few hours nestled inside Sittingbourne library growing up and continue to do so whenever I have the time!
In terms of arts events, the Marlowe Theatre is likely the venue I visit most often however I recently attended the Lindley Player’s performance of The Glass Menagerie at the Playhouse Theatre in Whitstable. Having discovered the work of Tennessee Williams during my teenage years, seeing some of his greatest work performed live was an experience I won’t forget in a hurry.
Katie became a paid intern after volunteering with Ideas Test. If you are interested in volunteering with us or on one of our projects email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to find out more about volunteering, check out Volunteer Week coming up in June.