Live music at the Gallery

The Creative Collective is now an established arts venue in Ashford offering exhibitions, events, film and poetry nights, volunteering and work experience opportunities and a hub for creative networking and collaborative working.

More recently though, live music, or jam sessions, have become part of our daily lives.  This is essentially thanks to young musicians who grace the gallery with their talent on occasion.  Ashford has a magical music scene with a great number of bands who regularly play in pubs, bars and events.  From what we have seen, it is a tight knit community of talented musicians of all ages and they make Ashford more of a great place to live and be.

With regular live performances and Open Mic and Jam nights at a number of venues across the town such as the George Pub, The Windmill Inn,  the Auction House Bar, there’s plenty for every taste.

Recently, we were introduced to a group of five local young musicians.  They are Himali Blues and we’d like you to take the time to get to know them and  listen  to their music on their website because they have a lot to say and their message is about compassion, friendships and community.  They have just recently released their EP and are looking forward to bigger and better things to come.  The EP will be on sale at The Creative Collective from next week so come and buy your copy here and support them.


We’ve never seen a group of young men so energetic, so passionate and so keen to take their music to another level.  They’ve attracted crowds of supporters, volunteers to help with their journey, and lots and lots of fans around them.

Oh, and how about checking out the guitar that Anmol is using in the band. It’s been pimped by Stan Hollingworth so, if you fancy having your guitar get a makeover, visit Stan’s Page and send him a message or just pop into the Gallery and we will give you all the details you need.

So if you’re a local band and would like to jam in the gallery do get in touch. If you would like to join us and play at next year’s ArtiGras Festival in May, do let us know as we are starting to recruit. And if you need help with your journey, come and see us and we will help you as much as we can and steer you in the right direction.

Meanwhile, do pop in and say hello. We’re always keen to help.

Take care.  The Team

Supernatural 8


Friend of the Collective, Melody Kennett, has produced the film which will be screened at the gallery tomorrow evening.  Tune in to Radio Ashford tomorrow from 3.30pm on the Steve Monk show to hear producer Melody Kennett and participant Nic Whitham of Banyan Retreat talk about the film and this Friday’s exciting reveal….
“This next screening at The Creative Collective is a bit different and special for lots of reasons not least because I’m going to be both host and producer.  Supernatural 8 is an idea conceived by my good friend and film director Bob Hickey.  He has a lifelong interest in the paranormal and wanted to make a film that explored the nature of belief and the shades of grey that exist in our understanding of the world. The premise is whether a Mayan shaman, physical medium, spiritual mentor or Reiki group can affect an unexposed super 8 mm cine film. It’s a short documentary featuring interviews with those who participated in the experiment, including acclaimed medium Scott Milligan. The as yet unseen results will be revealed at the end. The film should be black.
In another interesting twist the screening on Friday will not only be the reveal for the experiment (I haven’t even seen the film yet as it’s only just been returned to Bob!) but we will also be filming with some of the participants, who are coming to the screening, to see what they make of the results. Their interviews will make up the final part of the film which will be screened in it’s entirety in October.  We’ve really tapped into something with this subject area and have been getting a lot of interest both online and locally. We hope this film will be the first of many.”  Melody.

Summer at the gallery

It’s been a very busy year for the gallery with a number of exhibitions and two festivals – ArtiGras 2015 and 2016, an art fair in September last year, a Mad Hatters Tea Party, an exhibition to celebrate the music of The Beatles, and South East Open Studios for the first time, and much much more since we opened in May last year. We have decided to have a quite summer so that we can all recuperate and work on the amazing events coming up in the Autumn.

Since opening, we’ve had over 80 artists exhibiting art and photography; 100 or so volunteers working on a number of projects: have shown 8 independent films which have led to meeting wonderful, talented directors who’ve  joined us at the gallery and spoken about heir work; we’ve made many new friends in the community; have worked with talented musicians who have performed at our festivals; have collaborated with a number of local schools as well as Ashford college and been part of the success stories of some of our exhibitors.

We have also become part of a tight knit community of independent traders who have now joined us in Park Mall, namely Happy & Glorious, GlamRUs, Made in Ashford, Emporia Fabrics and Crafts, and very recently Snap Jewellery. We are very proud of the success of our projects and truly grateful for the dedication of our volunteers who are mainly young people; they’ve shown so much dedication, passion for their community and talent. We want to thanks them for being part of The Creative Collective family.

All of our marketing materials, posters, flyers, music stages, props, decorations, event and special photography are designed and produced by very talented creative young people so think about us if you’re starting a business or need materials for an event or project. We do offer value marketing and branding solutions to the community to help and promote the work and value of self employed creatives connected to the gallery. Here are some examples:

To make the summer a little more exciting, We are offering children’s Arty Sessions from 10am to 12am very Monday and Wednesday in August.  These are for children 8 years and over to produce projects over two days so they would need to attend the Monday and Wednesday of a week of your choice.  We also offer Saturday children’s art drop in sessions from 11am to 1pm, for children 10 years and older.

We have lots of exciting projects coming up from September so do subscribe to our newsletter if you’d like to know what is happening.

For now, a massive thanks to all of our volunteers, guests, followers, supporters and the very talented musicans and artists we work with. We wouldn’t still be here without all of you. We are now off to Ashford Festival in the Park to support a great cause and enjoy more local talent.  Have a lovely weekend all.  The Team

SEOS 2016 in pictures

This year South East Open Studios are celebrating their 20th anniversary.  A large number of artists in the South East open the doors to their studios and galleries to the public from the 3rd June to the 19th June.  Some even offer workshops and demos to try and interest the public in taking up creative workshops and courses.


The Creative Collective is pleased to be part of the SEOS for the first time this year, exhibiting work by four artists:

Milan Limbu – architecture student at UCA

Morag Newens – retired full time artist

Maria Khatchatourian – (posthumous work), silk painter.

And Eric Boadu

Our Private Viewing was held on Friday 10th June from 6pm to 8pm, although we stayed until 10pm and enjoyed the great music and the wonderful company of our visitors.  The Himali Blues, a group of 5 young musicians, entertained us with their blues tunes.  Visitors enjoyed the food and drinks. Altogether, the night was a great success.  Here are some pictures of the event for those of you who couldn’t join us …


Do come and join us for our next event.  We will keep you posted on our Calendar and future blogs.

Thanks.  The Team

Festival goes out with a bang …


The ArtiGras festival brought two days of magic, music and fun to Park Mall.  Visitors flocked in to see local bands and performers and shop from a number of local makers and artists.

The festival was officially opened by the Phoenix Primary and Herne Bay Primary Schools Samba Band led by Matt Miles.

Local musicians included Harry Hayes, Orfila, Bottles, Black Roses, Invicta Jazz Orchestra, Jim McDonald, Nathan J Walker, Rude Albert and of course Ashford Folk.  There were amazing performances by the children and young people of TheatreTrain Ashford, Live2Dance and LCA Dance Academy, and The ArkWrights Appalachian cloggers.

Students from Ashford College and The North School made sculptures and art for the festival which was displayed at The Creative Collective and in Park Mall.  One dragon made by Jay Amin of Wood N Ware watched over the proceedings.

The music stage backdrop was designed by volunteer and architecture student Milan Limbu and decorated and painted by a group of volunteers in the gallery.

Nathan J Walker on the Bandstand.

The Arkwrights performing the clog dancing we all love so much with guest James Dawkins on his double bass.

Black Roses performing in Park Mall Shopping Centre

A community canvas outside the gallery gave everyone the opportunity to contribute and paint the canvas which is now displayed at The Creative Collective.

The final band of the festival, Rude Albert entertained us until closing time.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Ashford Cllr. George Koowaree & Mrs. Gloria Champion dropped in unexpectly which was a wonderful surprise as the newly elected officials saw first hand the talent of local musicians and performers and spend time meeting stall holders, shop owners and visitors.

The festival ended with a Pinata, made by local young artist Emily Lomax, AKA ‘Weaselspit’ who works with Ashford Young Artists at The Creative Collective.

Our very own Thomas Sharrock spent most of his time going around with the bucket and raise over £150.

Our main sponsors The Auction House Bar raised money for future events selling beers and refreshments in a Bar Tent.

It was a wonderful event and everyone looked happy.  We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of our festival and hope that more local bands, groups and performers will participate next year.

All photographs are by our young photography students Louise Hardy and Priyash Gurung and we are grateful to them for spending the whole day snapping photos.  Some photos were also taken by Jim Ashby.

The festival was made possible by funding from KCC members Councillors Derek Smyth, Jim Wedgbury and Mike Angell and we are grateful for their generosity.

The theme for next year is ‘One Big Circus’. If you would like to get involved, please call us on 01233 421589 or email us

A Volunteer’s Perspective – Part II

So Georgina is back talking a little more about the work she has been able to do whilst volunteering at The Creative Collective, and the experience she’s gained.  She’s now involved in writing bids to make her dream of helping young people volunteer abroad and here in the UK become a reality.  Georgina’s a totally different person now, confident, happy and ready to tackle anything …

1. Bid writing


“We have to be there at the birth of ideas, the bursting outward of their force: not in books expressing them, but in events manifesting this force, in struggles carried on around ideas, for or against them.” Michel Foucault

There was always this assumption that bid writing was a long and tedious proccess, with no creativity. The person would be typing away, without any reward and there was not any colour to it; its all boring and structured. From the moment when The Creative Collective introduced me to Bid writing, it allowed me to understand the potential of bids. After being sent to a bid writing workshop at Social Enterprise Kent it made me realise: If you have passion towards the aim of the bid, it will allow you to construct a dream in writing. You aren’t creating a fantasy novel, you’re creating potential prospects built on facts that intrigue you.

2. Erasmus


“Confined on the ship, from which there is no escape, the madman is delivered to the river with its thousand arms, the sea with it’s thousand roads, to that great uncertainty external to everything.” Michel Foucault

Finland is always going to the place that I refrence to, as an example of how Erasmus builds on possibilites. Coming back from an experience filled with culture, where better to fuel this passion than The Cceative Collective. My mind was set on one thing, that EVS is the only thing possible under Erasmus; and its a common assumption amongst many people that it only supports education. Being within the Collective, allowed me to explore new corners for Erasmus, making me realise that my dreams were limiting me. There are Training programmes, Exchanges, Research projects, Political discussions. If there is a need for a project, with a strong impact, then there is potential. It’s expanding reaches further afield, to places like Romania, Germany, Spain, Greece, Finland, France and more.

3. Entrepreneur



“There are times in life when the question of knowing if one can think differently than one thinks, and perceive differently than one sees, is absolutely necessary if one is to go on looking and reflecting at all.” Michel Foucault

By definition a gallery is ‘a room or building for the display or sale of works of art.’ The gallery is booming with entrepreneurial work, it a place to showcase skills, business cards and become inspired by people with innovative ideas. It has allowed me to network with people, provided me with a place to display greeting cards – (Watch this space-June 2016) and even practice social media marketing skills, gained from WEKent. A very helpful volunteer, who specialises in architecture came up with a creative poster to be used on twitter to advertise cards. It is a hub of skills, that can share experience and knowledge. And the best thing about it is the flexibility of hours and the commitent- you work to help others; which I believe to be a dying asset in the modern day society.

4. Creative Writing- Blog writing


“Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same. More than one person, doubtless like me, writes in order to have no face.” Michel Foucault

At the end of 2015, I attended a creative writing class at the Collective by to bring out my confidence in writing. And guess what this is: Its a blog post and you’re reading it. Wow, thank you for getting this far and I’m in shock that a post of mine has reached you. Usually, I write, I post; but I post in hope that it remains hidden. How you write is a protayal of your own character, the useage of your words, syntax, grammar and punctuation is unique to you. At the workshop, we listened to each others’ stories and styles, realising our strengths and weaknesses. I began to understand that telling your story can be enjoyable, even if its structure isn’t up to scratch.

Quotes by – 5. Michel Foucault


“Prefer what is positive and multiple, difference over uniformity, flows over unities, mobile arrangements over systems. Believe that what is productive is not sedentary but nomadic.” Michel Foucault

This name appeared in a discussion one day, at the gallery. Inputting the name incorrectly into my ‘tasks’ list, I went home and typed ‘Michelle Focus’ into google and to my surprise a bald guy appeared- you gotta love accents. Having studied philosophy, at SKC, it was quite enjoyable reading through his beliefs and understandings created from his life experiences. He is most interesting to me, for his challenges towards power and discourse, having been quite influential to critical theorists in the struggle against inequality. Up for further discussion in areas of history, politics, psychology and philosophy?  Come find us at The Creative Collective. Or you can find me on here: