Ideas Test on tour: Focus On Strood

Two weeks ago, members of the Ideas Test team went on tour to Focus On Chatham event, along with artist Nicole Mollet and the Kent Cultural Baton – a converted silver Airstream caravan.

In our second blog Ideas Test Producer, Sarah Davies takes in the sights and sounds of Focus On Strood, organised by Medway Council,  that took place on Saturday 15 September… 

Our second ‘Focus On’ event took place on a beautifully sunny day at the expansive Northcote Playing Fields, which were full to the brim with exciting and varied activities! We rocked up again with the fabulous Baton caravan and accompanying gazebo and set about stationing artist Nicole Mollett in position to add to her brilliant illustrations from last week’s ‘Focus On’ Event in Hoo.


This was my first ever visit to Strood, and in my new producer role, I was blown away by the variety of creative activities on display, and by the eagerness of local people to chat to us about the arts. Nicole’s beautiful and detailed illustrations were (excuse the pun!) a real draw, and it was fascinating to see how she added to them throughout the day. Utilising participant’s suggestions for arts activities that they would like to see more of in this area, Nicole skilfully layered tattooing with comic book making, dress design, creation of new Pokémons, and seemingly everything in between!


Seeing ideas come to life in this way was magical, and led to some really interesting discussions with locals and the ideas test team (consisting on this occasion of myself and Bethan Tomlinson, Operation and Touring Manager). In particular, we discussed the thirst for more provision of family events, and lots of children expressed a specific interest in learning drawing techniques such as anime. A brilliant moment was when a young boy designed his fantastic superhero and side kick ’Snapper’ and ‘Pincher’ (pictured below) and watched in fascination as Nicole added his illustration to her work!


Our creative activity and conversations were framed by an exciting atmosphere for the whole day, surrounded as we were by SWANK’s roaming entertainment (two hilarious girl guides), face painting, print making, BMX demos, circus skills workshops and badge making, to name but a few! This lead to a steady stream of excited participants, and a lot of interest in our activities!

Blog & Photos: Sarah Davies


Don’t Forget..!

The next and final Focus On event is at High Halstow Recreation Ground, Hoo on Saturday 22 September between 12pm to 6pm.

Come and meet members of the Ideas Test team and artist Nicole Mollett.

Plus find out more about how you can take part in the exciting 1980s show Take On Me,  at Hoo Leisure Centre this December!