#RLF2016: Written Worlds, Inspiring Places

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For some strange reason 5 years ago, I decided to start a literature festival. Possibly I had too much time on my hands (I didn’t) possibly I just felt we were lacking a festival in Medway dedicated to writing, and somebody had to do it. I must’ve been mad, and I’m also stubborn, so here we are: the fourth Rochester Literature Festival 2016 kicks off this weekend.

Amidst the usual creative writing workshops, Cafe Crawl and author talks this year, the RLF has a wonderful day of craft activities planned for all ages.

The Turtle Moves, inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, sees a Juvenile Crafters’ Guild appear, as if by magic, in Rochester’s Community Hub, where you can design your own Luggage or bring to life a Golem, among other activities. Out and about in the high street you’ll bump into numerous characters – and even see a re-enactment of the Battle of Koom Valley! And shhhhh – it’s rumoured that the Librarian will be appearing in L-Space (Baggins!)

RLF Patron Lisa Cutts is appearing at Strood Library on Oct 4, alongside fellow crime author Simon Booker, while author of The Outlaw Chronicles, Angus Donald, is at Rochester Library on Oct 6. There is also a Local Author Day at Rochester Library between 10am-2pm on Oct 1.

The popular Cafe Crawl takes place on Sunday, Oct 2 and features the Canterbury Yarners, Fiona Sinclair, Nancy Charley, Johanna Coulson and Maggie Butt alternating at Bruno’s Bakes, The Quills and Cafe @172 between 12-3pm.

The festival opens with three creative writing workshops on Saturday, Oct 1: An Introduction to Screenwriting, A Guide to Self Publishing, and Building Your Make Believe World. It ends with a Writers’ Retreat on Sunday, Oct 9.

All the events apart from the workshops are free, and more detail and tickets for the workshops can be booked here.

If you pop down, be sure to say ‘hi’ 🙂

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Rochester LitFest: Six Ways to Wellbeing Swale

An innovative new collaboration between Ideas Test, Swale CVS and ourselves is set to help teenagers in Swale boost their wellbeing.

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Ideas Test and Swale CVS will be offering an exciting programme of free taster sessions and workshops through autumn as part of Kent County Council’s Six Ways to Wellbeing campaign. The events will explore how getting involved with something creative can improve health and wellbeing. If you’re a young person (age 13-19 or 25 SEN) this is your chance to have fun with poetry and spoken word, both writing and performing.

We’re delighted that the brilliant and exuberant Dan Simpson will be with us to run poetry and spoken word sessions, which will culminate in a short performance at a finale of the whole project. He’ll be kicking off the entire Ideas Test Six Ways project by crowdsourcing a poem from 10am on Monday morning, finishing on Friday 24th October. The finished result will be recorded for broadcast at the finale event. Read more about the poem here or join in on Twitter with #wellbeingpoem

The first of the LitFest hosted sessions is Capturing Stories – a digital storytelling workshop by Jaye to make the most of smart phones or tablets when attending events. Covering the basics of Twitter, Vine, Audio Boom and Storify, this session will help the participants capture and document their activities across all the different sessions they take part in, aiding them in their quest to obtain a Bronze Arts Award by having an easily accessible digital archive. Blogging will also be covered. (This and ‘Captured Stories’ are also available for those not doing an Arts Award or taking part in other sessions).

The workshop dates are as follows:

Saturday 25/10 12 – 4pm Capturing Stories. Pulse Cafe, Sittingbourne
Tuesday 4/11 6.30pm – 9pm Poetry/Spoken Word. Sheerness County Youth Centre
Thursday 13/11 6pm – 8.30pm Poetry/Spoken Word. New House Sports and Youth Centre, Sittingbourne
Saturday 15/11 11am – 3pm Poetry/Spoken Word. Sheerness County Youth Centre
Monday 17/11 5pm – 7.30pm Poetry/Spoken Word West Faversham Community Centre (disability group/all welcome)
Saturday 29/11 11am – 4pm Poetry/Spoken Word. Phoenix House, Sittingbourne (open workshop and final rehearsal)
Saturday 6/12 6pm – 8pm Finale Performance Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne
Saturday 13/12 12noon – 2pm Captured Stories. Pulse Café, Sittingbourne
The finale performance will include activity from the other partners in the project overall. See the Ideas Test website for more information.

The ‘Captured Stories’ session on 13/12 will bring together and share all the media surrounding the project.

All sessions are completely free to attend and you can book on line here or by calling 07713 865955. Cassy will be delighted to send you all the information you need to know. Please note that photography and other media will be shared on line and in promotional material.

The Six Ways to Wellbeing are all about doing more of the things you enjoy, with research showing that this can help improve your moods, strengthen your relationships and even add seven years to your life! It can be something as small as having a dance around, meeting a new person or learning a new skill.

The Six Ways are:

Connect – with family, friends, colleagues, neighbours
Be active – walk, run, garden, dance
Take notice – be curious, reflect on experiences
Keep learning – try something new
Give – doing something for others
Grow your world – planet care for its sustainability
You can find ourselves, Ideas Test, Swale CVS and Six Ways to Wellbeing on Twitter @RochLitFest @IdeasTest @SwaleCVS and @liveitwelluk, all of whom will be tweeting about the project under #sixwaystowellbeing. Six Ways to Wellbeing is also on Facebook, please search for ‘liveitwellkent’.

Find out more about the Six Ways to Wellbeing at http://www.sixwaystowellbeing.org.uk.

This programme of arts events is being funded jointly by Kent County Council, Artswork and The Royal Opera House Bridge.

Draw inspiration from Croquis dancers

Traditionally, Croquis is quick sketches drawn by artists watching a model who occasionally changes position. However, the Croqis being introduced to Medway is a collaboration between Rebecca Ashton of The Right Step Dance Company and Richard Squarecube of Squarecube Artisans, who’ve taken it a step further by incorporating dancers.

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The artists are inspired in many different ways and are encouraged to explore the concept using their own techniques. Mostly, they’ll sketch with pencil or charcoal, but already one enterprising soul has used an iPad and others using different forms such as sculpting or modelling are also welcome.

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Taster sessions will be held in November, with the official launch in January 2015. It’s an intriguing add to the creative pot of Medway events, so why not go along and try it out?

Sunday 16th November, 2-3.30pm ‘An Introduction to Croquis Events’

Sunday 23rd November, 2-3.30pm ‘Explore Croquis Your Own way’

Sunday 30th November, 2-3.30pm ‘What Can We Do With This?’

All held at Sun Pier House Gallery and Tea Room, Medway Street, Chatham, ME4 4HF

Just £15/session or £10/session if you bring your own materials.

Book one of the limited places now, by email to: info@therightstepdc.co.uk

An invitation only promo session was held, for which there is an archive with images and feedback – the blog about it can be found here:

http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2014/09/17/croquis-event-promo/

The artists also gave verbal feedback and that’s on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/croquisevents

There’s more information online…

Website: http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/organisations/croquis-events/

Twitter: @Croquis_Events

Supporting Apprenticeship and Internship Placements in Medway – Free info session

Thursday 22nd May, 10am – 11.30am
Brook Theatre, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4SE

You are invited to join a free information session to find out about the Creative Employment programme scheme and how Medway based creative organisations and businesses can have access to apprenticeship and internship placements supported by Medway Council.

Reserve your place a.s.a.p. by contacting arts@medway.gov.uk or phone 01634 338319. Spaces are limited.

Creative Employment programme – Application information

The Creative Employment Programme (CEP) is a £15m Arts Lottery fund that aims to support the creation of 1,600 traineeships, 2,900 formal apprenticeships and 2,000 paid internship opportunities for 16 – 24 year old unemployed people wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector.

Medway Council is looking at putting in a consortium application to obtain the funding for the whole of Medway. If approved, Medway Council will be responsible for managing the grant, including all reporting requirements.

Creative organisations have got the opportunity to recruit and train up apprentices and interns.

Apprenticeships

The CEP offers up to £1500 of the total wage costs for every new apprenticeship that is for a minimum of 12 months and 30 hours per week, if the apprentice is aged 16 – 24 years and paid at least Apprentice Minimum Wage rates. Weekly hours are inclusive of college time.

Cost on an apprentice minimum rate: £2.68/ hour due to go up in October + on costs

The CEP offers up to £2000 of the total wage costs for every new apprenticeship that is for a minimum of 12 months and 30 hours per week, if the apprentice is aged 16 – 24 and paid at least the National Minimum Wage (relevant to the apprentice’s age).

All apprentices must be (at the time of making their application for an apprenticeship) unemployed.

Internships

The CEP offers up to £2500 of the total wage costs for every new internship that is for a minimum of 26 weeks and 30 hours per week, if the intern is aged 18 – 24 and paid at least the National Minimum Wage (relevant to the intern’s age).

All interns must be (at the time of applying for the internship) registered unemployed and claiming unemployment related benefits

Although the apprenticeships and internships must take place within the creative sector, they may be for any opportunity within the sector, including support roles such as finance, administration, HR, catering etc 

The Available Funding

The CEP will offer funding towards the wage costs for apprenticeships and internships. You may apply for funding for apprenticeships only, internships only, or both.

Individual applicants must use the entire grant to contribute towards the wage costs of the apprentice or intern. It cannot be used for training costs. Training costs will depend on the sector and type of training. More info will be provided during the information session on the 22nd of May.

Medway Council will top up the apprenticeship opportunity by £500 if you are new to Apprenticeships and if the apprentice is 18 to 24 years old.

The National Apprenticeship Service will provide a top up to eligible employers (less than 1000 employees, who are new to Apprenticeships or haven’t enrolled a new recruit or existing employee on an Apprenticeship programme in the previous 12 months), in respect of qualifying apprentices, with an individual value of £1,500

The Wage Incentives will provide an additional top up of £2275 if the person you recruit on an internship is 18-24 years old and has been claiming benefit for more than 6 months.

How to apply

An information session will be held on the 22nd of May 2014 at the Brook Theatre, Old Town Hall, Chatham, Kent ME4 4SE if you would like more information.

You will be asked to fill in a “creative employment pledge form” that will be available from the 22nd of May.

The electronic version will need to be sent back to europeanprojects@medway.gov.uk and the paper version to be sent back to Solène Ferreira, Medway Council, Gun wharf, Dock Road, ME4 4TR, Chatham by 4th June 2014 deadline.

All placements to start after the 1st of September 2014 and no later than the 31st of March 2015.

Seasonally Effected Cultural Open Mic

The next Seasonally Effected session is at Cafe 172 (formerly Dot Cafe) on Wednesday, April 30th from 7pm.

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Expect an eclectic mix of poetry, song, storytelling and more – and get there early to bag a seat, because there was barely standing room available last month.

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Photo: Nikki Price

A rapper and beat boxer over from Sheppey joined in what was considered the Best SE Ever, particularly with the impromptu group chorus of Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley’s, not Handel’s). And a new genre was born, with Thomas and Umpdeep now much in demand for their combination of spoken word and drum beats.

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Slots are fully booked for this month but if you’d like to take part next time, contact Roy Smith via email seasonallyeffected@gmail.com. Podcasts of previous sessions can be found here: http://seasonallyeffected.wordpress.com/

Roy is running a free workshop on Thursday evening, May 1st (7pm, coFWD) for any artists, writers or creatives interested in working on his augmented reality game ‘ The Real Medway & Swale’  – contact him at realmedwayandswale@gmail.com.

Photo: Nikki Price

Photo: Nikki Price