We Are Many

It’s not every day we can say that a small gallery in Ashford is able to show a film as important as We Are Many. We are very proud to be screening Amir Amirani’s masterpiece for the launch of our independent film night this Wednesday (25th). Join us from 6.30pm for an intimate evening of film and review at The Creative Collective, 16 Park Mall.

Filmed across seven continents over a period of 9 years, We Are Many tells the true story of the people power movements now sweeping the world, from opposition to the Iraq War, to the Arab Spring and Syria.

We Are Many has been screening at festivals and cinemas around the world and is on the Oscar long list for best documentary. The film has just been showing in New York and Los Angeles with celebrities and critics queuing up to offer support including Russell Brand, Stephen Fry, Tim Robbins and Richard Branson. It’s had a profound effect on those who’ve seen it particularly those who took part in that historic march in February 2003 all around the globe.

With the events of the last few days, namely the attacks in Beirut and Paris, it is important for us to remember the unity and compassion shown by those who walked and supported. Although the outcome was unexpected, millions marching in the cold of London and other cities proved that people united are a force to be reckoned with. It is also important not to give up or lose hope. Humans, by nature, are peace loving and caring. We have proven this on occasion when adversity challenges communities and we all come together and find solutions, grieve together and fight for causes. On a much larger scale, We Are Many is proof that, when we come together, we do make change, even though it can seem otherwise.

Melody will now tell you more about the film and why you should come and see it.

I have known director Amir for many years. He first contacted me at ITN in 2010 when he was looking to source news footage of the antiwar marches in 2003. I marched against Blair and Bush’s war in Iraq and felt, like many of us, that it had made no difference at all. Amir’s film shows why that is not the case. In his own words: “Over the past 12 years, we have seen both the shockwaves of the protest and the devastation of the war, and we continue to live with them. But as, I hope, the film shows, we can also see that day in a new light, for the impact that was not, and could not have been, apparent to us then.”

The film has attracted many high profile supporters On 17 November, Tim Robbins, best known for his portrayal of Andy Dufresne in 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption, tweeted: “@WeAreManyMovie This is the most important film of 2015. It is about your power, your potential to create peace. Will you be able to see it?”

The UK launch in May saw the biggest ever social media thunderclap for a film as Russell Brand (9,755,147 followers), Stephen Fry (9,719,681 followers) and Sir Richard Branson (5,603,463 followers) helped the message “Join the march to cinemas and see the story of the biggest protest in history #WeAreMany” reach 37,400,689 people.

We Are Many executive producer and comedian, Omid Djalili, said: “Good films are about good stories, and boy do we have a story. We have widespread, mainstream support, it’s not just hippies, activists or emotionally unstable men like me.”

We are many flyer

I was lucky enough to be at the film’s premiere at Sheffield Docfest, the atmosphere was electric and as Caroline Frost from The Huffington Post put it, it was the only film she’s ever watched where the audience started clapping halfway through!


Check out the trailer and see what other people have to say about the film: 1) Trailer  2) UK audience reactions 3) UK Premiere reactions and then come along on Wednesday and see for yourself.

Our Film nights will continue on the last Wednesday of every month but, occasionally, we will be screening films on other weekdays to make sure those who can’t always make Wednesdays also get to see a film.  So keep your eyes on our calendar, blogs and newsletters for more information and dates.

Thanks for reading.  The Team


A series of Creative Workshops for everyone

From January, The creative Collective will be running a number of four week creative writing workshops for anyone interested in telling stories in any form.

Samm Short

Samm Short is a writer, artist and mentor. A published academic and creative author, she helps fellow writers discover the stories inside them and gives them the tools to unleash them into the world.

From Sunday 10th January 2016, from for 4 weeks, Samm will be running a Guerrilla Poetry Workshop.

‘Poetry is for school children and academics’ ‘Poetry is too rigid’ ”Poetry is pretentious and confusing’ ‘You have to be clever to write poetry’ ….Sounds familiar?!

This 4 week course sets out to smash the barriers that prevent so many of us from playing with this liberating form of self-expression. We’ll find a way back to our primal desire for rhythm, rhyme and image, and see what happy mayhem we can create in the process, using words as our weapons.

From Tuesday 12th January for 4 weeks, join us for a Children’s Story Writing Workshop.

‘Sure it’s simple, writing for kids…just like it’s simple bringing them up.’ Ursula Le Guin’s ironic take on writing for children just makes us want to do it more.

Childhood magic, wonderment and insight – who wouldn’t want to write for children? On this course learn about narrative structure to hold your story together and explore the reasons why you want to write for children in the first place – and how a clear vision can help you produce the story you’ve dreamed of writing.

We will continue in the New Year with an Art and Writing Project and a Beginners Fiction Writing Project and will inform you of dates as soon as possible.

“A story is a garden you carry in your pocket”


Beginner’s Fiction Writing – A 4-week course to re-discover the well of inspiration you have inside and around you. Perfect for new writers or experienced writers feeling stuck in their work.

Learn how to court inspiration even in the unlikeliest of places, and get to grips with the basics of plot, structure, character development and point of view.

An activity-filled course including time to reflect on inspiring quotes and passages from other writers, guaranteed to give you a tonne of new material to work with and the tools to shape it into your very own dream-child.

‘It’s like learning to ride a bike; at first we’re banging our knees and scraping our shins, learning how to use these tools – sometimes a bit awkwardly at first – but in a week’s time we find they’ve crept their way into our writing without us even knowing it, and we’re better writers for it.’ David, June 2015 alumni

Remember we have a number of young artists with design and illustration skills who can then help make any book you write more interesting.  We’ve also asked a friend of ours who runs a self publishing business to come and talk to you about publishing your book without the restraints, complications and financial implications of using a publisher.  We’ll give you more details nearer the time.

Finally, if you’re a fan of poetry and film, you can join us on the second Wednesday of every month for our Poetry Jam Sessions and read or simply listen to poetry to give you some inspiration; or come and meet Directors and critics and watch an independent film with us on the last Wednesday of every month, bring your own drinks and the we will provide the popcorn and it will only cost you a fiver.  The first film we’re showing is Amir Amirani’s Oscar nominated We Are Many and you can find out more about it HERE.

For more information please contact us on 01233 421589 or email us HERE.

A Perspective by a Young Artist – ‘Weaselspit’

The Creative Collective is proud to work with a number of young artists in Ashford.  We wanted you to hear some of their stories and have asked them to be our guest bloggers, under the banner of Perspectives, over the next few months.

Weaselspit is a young artist exhibiting at The Creative Collective.  Pursuing a creative career is difficult enough for anyone but even more so for young artists because most can’t make a living from it and feel forced to take on jobs that have nothing to do with art or creativity to be able to pursue their passion.  Good quality art materials being so expensive, and the lack of inexpensive studio space doesn’t make things easier for them.  The Gallery is here to support these young artists and we do all we can to provide them with a place to work from and give them some of the materials they need to produce their work. We rely on the kindness of the public to keep providing this space and materials and always appreciate donations of art materials and sponsorship to help their career so contact us by telephone or email if you can help with anything.  We do appreciate the support we receive and are grateful for any help you can provide.

So here’s her Perspective. Continue reading

A great cause you can’t ignore

It’s the time of year when we all buy our Calendars so we have a special offer for you.

A group of young designers, photographers and local lads have come together and produced a naughty but nice Calendar in aid of the Pilgrims Hospice, a truly wonderful local charity and a very worthy cause.  Of course we’ve had a helping hand from our local star/celebrity too and can’t wait to share the finished product with you. Last month, we showed you a few before pictures.  Today we’re going a step further and sharing two of our finished pages with you for no particular reason than to tempt you: January and May.

So please spread the word, talk to your colleagues, friends and family and order your copies now.  The Minimum donation is £10 per calendar but feel free to donate as much as you like.  They are printed on good quality A3 paper.  The more you donate, the more impact our donation can have on the work of this amazing charity of course.  We are also selling individual photos of the shoot and any of the pages of the calendar if you know one of our local young men and would like a photo of them.  Pop into the gallery and have a look at our album.

So to pre-order, HERE is the link.  All you have to enter the amount you wish to donate and collect the calendar from The Creative Collective at 16 Park Mall, Ashford.  If you have any questions or would like to find out more, call us on 01233 421589 or email us HERE.   Thank you for taking the time to read us.

Exciting new happenings at the Gallery

We are excited to tell you about two new monthly events that will be hosted at the Gallery.  We’ve worked very hard to make them happen and we are now nearly there, and over the moon with the reaction and comments from members and friends.

Poetry Jam Session banner

If you like poetry, our Poetry Jam Sessions are just the thing for you.  They will take place second Wednesday of every month from 6:30pm to 9pm at the Gallery.  For the first session, Wednesday 11th November, bring a poem you like by any poet you like and read it for us.  If you’re not used to public speaking and aren’t sure, we can help or someone will be here to read it for you.  From then on, we will have a theme every month and you could bring your own poems of course and read them with music in the background, or not, do it as you feel it.  These sessions are pop in so no need to book, just pop along, have a tea and biscuits, or bring your own drink.  We would appreciate a donation towards the refreshments.

Poster 2

The Visual Treats sessions will take place the last Wednesday of every month starting on Wednesday 25th November from 6:30pm to 9pm.  If you like independent films and would like to meet critics, directors and others with great knowledge of film, come and join us for the adventure.

The first film we are presenting is We Are Many.  We Are Many is the story of the largest protest in history. On February 15th 2003, over 15 million people marched against the war in Iraq in over 800 cities around the globe. We Are Many is a historical document of a day that changed the world forever.  There will be free tea/coffee and popcorn.  The entry fee is £5 only and you will meet like-minded people and make new friends too.

Come and join us for an informal and interesting evening.  Hope to see you here soon.

The first Collective Art Fair

The first ever Collective Art Fair took place in the beautiful Park Mall in Ashford on Saturday 26th September.  The sun was shining and it was a glorious day.  The stallholders enjoyed a great turnout, sold a few bits and made new friends, and this is what it’s all about.

We were joined by The Arkwrights, Apallachian Clogging duo, Rude Albert, Ashford Folk and the North Park Hillbillies who brightened up the Mall with their performances and music. There were a group of French tourists from Calais too, in Ashford for the day, who had a blast dancing and having a great time.  We’re hoping to keep the momentum going and organise monthly Art Fairs from the spring.  In the meantime we have a couple of amazing events coming up so keep an ears and eyes open for them, come and join us and make it even more fun.  Our Collective is growing too so if you know any artists, especially 16 to 25 year olds, tell them about us and ask them to come and see us with some of their work.

One of the highlights of the fair was our community canvas.  More than 50 young and younger people joined the art enthusiasts who wanted to leave their mark on the canvas, I even did my bit for it and so did Eric, our Chair of Trustees.  So here are some pictures of the wonderful children and adults who participated.

Altogether a fabulous day with fabulous people and artists, let’s do it again very soon.  If you want to get involved you know what to do, pop in, email or call us and we’ll have a chat.

Thanks to everyone who helped, all the young volunteers, the artists and stallholders, the young people who are exhibiting, the bands and entertainers and a special thank you to James Dawkins for organising the sound for the music and entertainment.