NEWSLETTER #2 by ollie briggs

xChange Studios

Over the last month we have been working hard to move into the next phase of our crowdfunded project, xChange Studios. Unfortunately, our original building became financially and practically unviable but this meant a clean slate and the opportunity to really think hard about the best possible space for our projects and the most cost effective use of the funds we raised. After much thought and consultation with the Studio Octopi team, we decided to pursue plans to obtain and convert shipping containers. After a really positive start to our search for land we took another knock back so are currently following up on several leads to a suitable plot to locate our conversions.

Call To Arms

Having received so much amazing support from our community, we now want to reach out again and ask if anyone has any ideas about where we might be able to set up, so please contact us if you have any ideas. As you can see we have some really exciting plans. This design will provide 2 large creative spaces, one for music and recording and the other for all our other activities. The positioning of the containers also creates a physical ‘Exchange’ space, where communal activity, such as eating and meetings can take place. The total size needed for the design is 200 sqm and will need to accommodate a temporary structure for arts and education use (D1 planning) within Margate. We are really keen to talk to anyone who might have any leads to help us progress with these exciting plans.

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New (Temporary) Home

Despite the obstacles to setting up xChange Studios, we are thrilled to call the Viking Gallery home for the next few months. We’re feeling really lucky to make use of this amazing space! Huge thanks to Pam Price, director of the gallery, we are feeling very welcome. Watch this space for open days and events!

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The Hartsdown Exchange

The Hartsdown Exchange, now in it’s second year, has started with an exciting new cohort of six year 9 students from Hartsdown Academy. Throughout the year, 18 students in total will work with some amazing practitioners, including Beth Turrell (Margate Films, BBC, Roundhouse), Kimberly Anne and Mikolai Berg to develop creative skills in diverse disciplines and work towards Bronze Arts Award.

We are also dedicated to promoting healthy eating and enjoying the benefits of communal meal times, so have drafted in the amazing Annie Nichols of Hot Meals Now to prepare food with locally sourced ingredients. Huge thumbs up to the first meal, with one participant claiming it to be the ‘best soup I’ve ever had!’. Well done Annie :)

The Royal Harbour Exchange

Our second major project this year, The Royal Harbour Exchange, was launched last week with 8 students from Royal Harbour Academy, Ramsgate. We are thrilled to be working with a new school to increase access and opportunity to creative education for young people in Thanet. Huge thanks to our funders KaMCOP and our partners at UCA. We will be working with this exciting group one day a week for the school year, developing creative practice, exploring cultural and creative opportunities in Thanet and working towards Gold Arts Award. Watch this space to see what they get up to!

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Young Brothers at Theatre Royal

Valentin and David from Young Brothers performed their new song ‘Game’ at The amazing Theatre Royal on Saturday 29th September at the Blessed Dance Co annual showcase. The boys worked really hard in rehearsals and it paid off! Huge thanks to Azaria and Blessed Dance Co for inviting us to be part of such a special community event.

Hartsdown Exchange blog take-over! by ollie briggs

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Animals and us 

Hi, we are 5 students from Hartsdown Academy , Margate and today was our first day at the Arts Education Exchange studio. On Wednesday 12th September 2018 we walked to the Turner Contemporary in Margate where we filmed and captured many different pictures of our experiences. The exhibition was called Animals and Us. We had a long walk there because we were making videos on our way there. I enjoyed looking at all the artefacts because they all had their own backstory.

My favourite picture was a stranded polar bear. I was very impressed because polar bears don’t usually run on the beach and are usually out hunting for food. I was interested because the polar bear has the sunset and waves in front and behind it, I also liked the colours they used. 

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The five words I would use to describe the artwork would be interesting, colourful, creative , upsetting and lonely because thats how the polar bear would feel and thats how the artist has made the viewers feel when they look at the picture.  

Some reflections after the exhibition

xChange Studios Crowdfunding Campaign by ollie briggs

After 3 long month of campaigning and with the support of 208 visionary members of our community, 2 large donations from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Colyer Fergusson Charitable Trust and 7 KCC councillors, we hit our target of £37,184! Huge thanks to everyone who pledged, shared and believed! https://www.spacehive.com/xchange-studios

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