Future creatives – Children’s activities in Folkestone
Folkestone is a hive of creative activity. With investment in the Creative Quarter and business opportunities for creative industries, many are moving to the town to take advantage of the work life balance Folkestone offers. Folkelife looked at the range of activities on offer in Folkestone to nurture future creatives.
YOung Animator’s Club
The Young Animator’s Club is run by Lydia Hibbert at Creative Folkestone’s Glassworks Studio. “The club has grown over the past few years to now running 4 sessions on a Saturday and more on a Wednesday. Saturday morning has 2 groups – under 12s and teens and these guys pay £30 per term, and free for pupil premium students. Then the afternoon has under 12s and teens but it’s for people who don’t like such a crowd, for those on the ASD spectrum and for people who might find the noise and bustle of the morning too much. I think of my club as the sieve that shakes out all the children and I’m left with the awesome ones!
“Each session we have a different artist come and work with the groups. It’s important to me that these artists aren’t animators or teachers, but work within the industry. What’s illuminating is that many of the professionals who join us have similar issues as my young people; they didn’t get on with school, were limited by what they could do and discover, and have found their way into jobs they love. What I want my young people to realise is that you could be having fun here on a Saturday or Wednesday, but you could make animation into a career if you want to. What’s good is to be inspired and influenced by different creative people.”
paper boat documentaries
YAC also invites regular creatives to help support the children’s work. Simon from Paper Boat Documentaries visits to show the children how to use lighting in their films. Ali Assaf from Cognitive Media, another Folkestone-based company, comes in regularly to help teach animation.
“We have such a wealth of people to call on, we’re really lucky! When I was doing my degree in animation, we always worked with animators, but never other artists. I think it’s really important to get your inspiration from so many other sources. You don’t get stuck in someone else’s style then. Working with an illustrator gets you thinking how things are drawn. Working with a sound artist gets you thinking about the audio aspects of your film. To work with curators means you can think about the reasons for creating your film.”
digital creative generation
“We have funding from the National Lottery and Creative Folkestone to work with young people under 25. On Wednesdays I work with my older group – from 16 to 25 and we’re at the stage where we can do professional work for companies, creating logos, for example.
“Anyone who works for me gets paid. I’m adamant about that. This is not about getting free work done on the cheap. If you commission us to do your work you will get a fantastic product created by some incredibly talented people, who will be paid for doing that work. We’re building a commercial arm to what we do so that we can build the next generation of digital creatives in Folkestone.”
Neon Drama group
This after-school club is based at Quarterhouse. The children range from 4 to 16 years old and are taught by Sadie and James. Sadie, with her theatre background, also runs Jim Jam Arts and the Folkestone Living Advent Calendar. James is a dancer and brings music and movement to the mix. This multi-disciplined approach means the children work through lots of different mediums such as creative writing, physical theatre, puppetry and more.
“I love the fact we have visiting artists each term. The children also create their own show to perform to the parents at the end of the term. It’s really good for people who are into arts, drama, and performance but don’t necessarily want a structured play to learn each term. With us, we work with the children’s imagination and show how they can create a show. It’s a collaborative process, devising a unique performance.”
creative community collaboration
“With the help of so many local and visiting artists, we’re teaching or passing on skills to the next generation of artists in Folkestone. Encouraging children to be imaginative and creative is such a wonderful thing to do. They might not necessarily get a career in the arts, but being involved in the arts is such a good thing for our well-being, and just, general development as people.”
“We’ve had the chance to work with a beatboxer and the Young Animator’s Club. What’s great about being at Quarterhouse is that whenever they have a theatre company come and do a show here, they’ll do a workshop with us related to their performance. So our guys get to see what it’s like to work with professional performers. It’s a great opportunity.”
Folkestone is building its offering for young people at festivals, holiday clubs and weekly sessions. There’s plenty of activities to do to help build a creative community of the future.