Ideas Test Presents

Four choir members smiling at a train station
Choir members in Queenborough, during performances of 'Never Again'. Sea Folk Sing, 2018. Photo credit: hope Fitzgerald.

Ideas Test Presents is our artistic programme, taking place in locations across Swale & Medway. Comprising two key elements, Ideas Test Presents includes our Community Programme and our large­-scale Out of the Ordinary projects, high quality artistic work, co-­created in collaboration with communities.

Our Community Programme allows us to work with the community to generate and test ideas for creating new ways for local people to get involved in the arts in ways they choose, and includes:

  • Third Age Creatives: We want to make it easier for older people locally to find creative things to do that they’ll enjoy ­maybe learn new skills, volunteer, make friends and be able to take part in activity that’s easy for them to get involved with. Sea Folk Sing is one of our current projects that uses creativity and music to work with the older community.
  • Now Showing: Working in partnership with Applause Rural Touring and South East Dance, Now Showing is supporting a network of volunteer promoters with training and sustainable financial support to take performing arts to non­-traditional venues.
  • Impact: This was our programme strand for Swale & Medway young people aged 14­-19 years old, or those with special educational needs up to the age of 25. This has now merged with our Youth Programme.
  • Family arts programme: Our regular programme of engaging family-friendly activities focuses on weekends and school holidays, both at No.34 and at locations around the area.

Out of the Ordinary projects are large-­scale commissions created with local communities, where for a variety of reasons, there are fewer opportunities to take part in arts and creativity.

In 2015/16, we worked with four areas of North Kent to commission four new arts projects in Iwade, Sittingbourne, Strood and the Isle of Grain. Out of The Ordinary Places explored how local residents and artists can co-­create new and experimental work that reimagines and challenges perceptions of place. Read all about it on our Out of the Ordinary Places website.

We asked people in Swale & Medway what kind of creative activity they most enjoyed and they told us that they particularly loved writing and reading. In response we commissioned Wandering Words, an online platform for writing about Swale & Medway – poems, blogs, stories, memories or journalism, all are welcome.