Georgia on our minds …

Bauhaus Café CIC were thrilled to realise their dream of a youth exchange to beautiful and little-known Georgia for young creatives, again generously funded by Erasmus+.

The name was ‘Mind My Art, Would You?’ and was aimed at youths aged 18 to 30 from disadvantaged backgrounds to help support them to take their creative talents into employment.

Excited, yet dubious they came together as groups across eight countries; Georgia, Azerbaijan, The Ukraine, Cyprus, Turkey, Armenia, France and of course the UK and many met their participants the first time just before the trip, forging what they didn’t know then, would become some significant and lifelong friendships.

The French and UK team met on the plane and shared a hair-raising bus journey from the airport to Kobuleti. Strong bonds started forming immediately. The two groups arrived in the small hours in darkness to a lovely hotel on The Black Sea (that wasn’t black at all!). Each participant was allocated to a single sex room for three, each from a different country, so the interculturalism started from the outset.

Next morning, the new friends awoke to a miserable wet day but were astounded at the breath-taking views from the roof top dining room of The Black Sea to one side and snow topped mountains to the other. Waiting for the groups from the other countries to trickle in from near and far, the French and the English (later affectionately known as the ‘Frenglish’!) had the opportunity to explore the town, its markets, its multitude of thrift shops and of course the bars and cafes. The Georgian locals were absolutely delighted to come across the Western Europeans in their little town, eagerly taking selfies with them and inviting them for free shots of Cha-cha, the national brandy. Dances and music were even performed to the young people in shops, markets and bars amongst great hilarity and laughter.

In dribs and drabs the other groups arrived at all hours of the day and night and the job in hand was ready to begin. We had lots of icebreakers and energising games and everyone was encouraged to mix with different nationals fully. The lingua franca was English, but some participants struggled with this in the beginning, but as confidence grew and inhibitions dropped, the language barrier broke down. The talent grouped together in that building in tiny Kobuleti in modest Georgia was jaw dropping. There were artists, poets, photographers, musicians, actors, writers and much more. To have them all together in one space, especially as the inhibitions broke down, was truly electrifying.

The sun suddenly came out, the streets dried up, flipflops replaced boots, jetlag was slept off, the mood hit sky high, the sound of laughter, music, pen scratching, lenses clicking, and poetry filled the air and the youth exchange was well underway.

Workshops were diverse, interactive, creative and fun. They were run by different countries and were adapted to the needs and the wishes of the participants. Once everyone had integrated and talked about their fears and expectations, we launched into a wonderful day learning about social inclusion and multiculturalism especially in the creative arts. This was led by the Armenian group and it was fascinating to hear from all the different countries and the different approaches there towards the creative industries. Comradeships were quickly being formed and in between the activities there were regular impromptu trips to the close by beach where the common sounds were of waves crashing, laughter and music.

Every country was expected to put on a ‘cultural night’ where they were to immerse the other groups in their home land’s traditions, beliefs, costumes, history, dance, politics, art, music and of course food and drink. We were not disappointed and indulged all our senses night after night with delights and experiences from Armenia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, The Ukraine, the Frenglish and of course Georgia. Georgia’s night was the climax as host country and we were taken to a local traditional restaurant where different dishes were continually brought to us and we were plied with Georgian wines (one of their major industries) and drinks. There was a toastmaster who led the feast known as a Tamadar and the eating and drinking was very structured by him.  The atmosphere was celebratory and then we were wowed by a young Georgian girl who floated around the dance floor like a swan as a Georgian young man danced around her in what seemed like a seduction ritual. Imagine our surprise when another young man leapt onto the dance floor out of nowhere and competed with the first for the attanetion of the ‘swan’!

Other workshops included how to attract the media, successful social media use, PR and marketing, vlogging, blogging, making vision boards and so much more delivered by Bauhaus Café CIC trainers. Everyone learned a lot from them, but they were not the most valuable of the whole experience, it was the networking and interaction between the different creatives from all cultures and all walks of life. Friendships were made for life, confidences were boosted, resolutions made, and lives were changed.

As young Naomi Houlton, photographer from Ashford said, “I was nervous in the beginning, but we had a few days to bond; we were all there for the same reason albeit from different cultures.  I have grown hugely in self-confidence. When I went back to my day job, they said I was a ‘changed woman!’ “

Bauhaus Café CIC is planning another exchange in the Spring with the same participants called ‘Six Months On.’ Here we will see how everyone has progressed in their chosen creative career following ‘Mind My Art, Would You’ climaxing in an exhibition and concert. Each member is already receiving ongoing support from Bauhaus Café and we know for example that Ashford based Naomi is doing some voluntary photography work, entering competitions and so on; definitely moving towards a paid career in photography. She has also appeared in local media. Boris MVD, from France has set up social media to platform his art and has had a successful exhibition. The success stories are pouring in and we are expecting many more. This exchange really has had a huge positive impact on so many.

If you are interested in getting involved in Bauhaus café and/or youth exchanges, we would love to hear from you.

Please contact us on info@bauhauscafe.co.uk and prepare to change your life!

We are grateful to all photographers present at the project for all the wonderful photos here and on our social media sites.

By Helena Maltby, Project Coodinator

More from Betsy, our CEO, in the next few days.  She will be talking about Georgia and why you may want to consider visiting and how our Georgian visit changed so many lives for all the partners involved.

 

Bauhaus Cafe CIC hosts very first youth exchange

This year in April, Bauhaus Cafe CIC applied for our very first Erasmus + Youth funding and were delighted to be informed we were successful.

From 5th August to 14th August 2018, we hosted a Youth Exchange, My Creativity Matters.  This is what the exchange was about:

“Research shows that creativity in young people results in mental well being and positive achievement in life.

The project aims to explore creativity in young people with mental health issues by allowing them to learn how to design, develop and deliver programmes using arts, crafts and music, meanwhile creating a valuable volunteering experience motivating young people, teaching them skills and developing their sensitivity and understanding of the world around them. The project will raise the aspirations of young people.

The project wants to allow young people to ‘open up’ and ‘verbalise’ their issues through creativity and be enabled to gain the confidence, motivation and skills needed to be able to reason and make decisions whilst learning to communicate their own understanding of mental well being, their own skills and abilities.  The workshops will motivate, inspire and empower them to volunteer, become self employed, set up enterprises or social enterprises to become self sufficient and fully active citizens, agents of change.

1. Increase levels of motivation, confidence and aspirations of young people up to 25 years old from disadvantaged backgrounds
2. Increase the chances of obtaining employment and maintaining it by offering essential knowledge in personal development, self care, self improvement and communication through creating vision boards using arts and crafts
3. Raise awareness on the importance of volunteering and lifelong learningin aimed at improving long term career prospects of the participants
4. Promote healthy and sustainable behaviours among participants trough specific workshops on the subjects of environment, food and personal self care

By its activities, our project meets the specific objectives pursued by the Erasmus+ in the field of youth to improve the level of key competences and skills of young people, and the empowerment of young people, including and especially those with fewer opportunities.
Youngsters in our project will acquire new competences useful for them on a long term in their process of personal development which is strongly connected with their chances of being employed.

Empowering young people means that:
More young people have the support, opportunities, skills and resilience they need for the future
Young people have better relationships with their support networks and communities
Young people have improved health and wellbeing
We would ensure that young people are heavily involved in the design and delivery of the project as taking ownership means that they will value the project and be more keen to make a success of it”

Our group stayed at The Grand Burstin during the exchange.  Management at The Grand Burstin were wonderful and they had gone above and beyond their call of duty to ensure our group has a memorable stay and we are really grateful to them, especially Barry Lane.

We were very impressed with the creative talent of the group which included musicians, artists, politics students and even an odd student of medicine or two, among others.  They produced high quality work and enjoyed doing it too.  Thei created Vision Boards, wrote poetry, played music and even performed at an Open Mic afternoon at Lime Bar Folkestone.  It’s even clearer to us now that creative young people don’t get enough guidance and advice to take their career forward once they leave academic environments.  We were happy to have contributed, and provided enough advice and knowledge they can use to make more informed choices and decisions.

We’d like to thank all the participants for working hard towards the aims of the project and we hope they will continue to be motivated and move forward and make a success of their career.  We’re very proud of you and hope to see you very soon again here is the UK or somewhere in the world.

We’d also like to thank Michal Kaminski (known as Rovaneche), artist, and Dave James Horn, Poet, our volunteer Levi who helped with filming, and Matt for helping to deliver the project, as well as partner group leaders Yiannis, Christos, Marta, Ramin and Emre for their contributions, workshops, energisers and much more.

We’re off the Georgia to deliver our second project and we can’t wait.

Here are some images of some of the participants with their vision boards, you did an amazing job.  There will be a photobook available soon so I hope you’ll be able to get a copy each.

Enjoy

A Creative Exploration of Ageing

Come and join us for this amazing event on Saturday 21st July.  They are particularly looking for young artists to join the discussion/reflection.  Please pass around.  Many thanks.

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Bauhaus Cafe going pop up

Well friends, after a few years of us working in Ashford town centre, we have decided to go pop up.

As difficult as it may be to let go, it’s sometimes necessary to make some tough decisions. When the Cafe took a space in the old Merchant Chadler’s building, we believed that local businesses and small traders will be taking up space with us and we were very excited to be able to work with them to make the space really successful by offering live music events, teas, coffees, cakes, snacks and sandwiches and a number of local artists a space to exhibit their work.  Sadly, this was not to happen.  Despite all of our hard work, we were unable to continue delivering the projects that we had planned due to restrictions, our inability to obtain a license to serve alcohol independently of the building, and the difficulty in co-existing with what was on offer here.

In the seven months that we traded here, we delivered very successful weekly music events that, more often than not, were very well attended;  a number of exhibitions and sold a large number of pieces of local art; ran a number of creative writing and other workshops (including photography, arts classes and life drawing sessions); raised awareness of local issues; worked with a number of independent businesses and schools; hosted a number of school and university students on work placement; worked with 10 volunteers using the space to gain motivation and work experience for future careers and created an even larger creative community in Ashford by making introductions and holding networking events.  Here are pictures of some of them:

 

The Cafe will now continue as a pop up and we will be holding exhibitions, events, worskshops and courses.  We are teaming up with Ashford Volunteer Centre on Elwick Road and we’ll be using the meeting room to hold the workshops and courses.  So we’re not going away, just working in a different way.

We’ve also made the decision not to run ArtiGras Festival this year and have booked the weekend of 19th and 20th May 2018 to deliver an even bigger and better festival for the town centre so watch this space.  The theme for the festival will be ‘One Big Circus’.

For now, we’ll be out and about working in the community so watch out for Francesca Baker, Anthony Stiffell and the rest of team as they go about organising creative workshops, and music events alongside other spaces and organisations.  Subscribe to our newsletters or blogs to find out more and to know where we will be next.

We’ll be back with more news soon.  For now, our gratitude goes to those who have supported the project in any way, for the kind words and all the messages of support.

The Team, Bauhaus Cafe CIC

 

 

Art & Coffee in a new venue

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Well, it’s been a long while since our last blog and we do apologise for that.  We were busy planning our new venture and moving out of our premises in Park Mall.  We’re now all settled and are open for business.

The gallery in Park Mall, although a wonderful space for art and creation, was never really the right venue for us.  We felt we needed a space that would allow visitors to enjoy tea or coffee, have a bite to eat and be able to take time to view the lovely work by local artists without having to rush to the door.  Well, we believe we’ve achieved just that with our venture, Bauhaus Cafe & Art Gallery.

The Cafe/gallery is situated on the first floor of the old Merchant Chandler’s building in Ashford (2 North Street).  The whole building has gone through a lot of loving care and is looking fabulous.  We are one of a number of tenants in what is now called The Collection Ashford.  The art has moved in with us too and many of our artists are the same but we also have new artists who’ve joined the gallery to display their work.

The Cafe is a CIC (Community Interest Company) and is a hang out for artists, musicians, techies and budding entrepreneurs.  Wi-Fi is free, but Saturdays are our Wi-Fi free days so we leave our phones behind and, instead, make new friends and work on ideas and projects together.

As I am writing this blog, Bisal is playing his bass, and Michael is designing our very first quarterly magazine.  They are both part volunteers. part paid staff.  We’re just had our first live music evening with Dulcie May Moreno in this awesome space. The event is one of many we will be running, and is funded by The National Lottery Celebrate programme.

Here are some pictures of our new space.  We’ll be back soon and tell you more about our evening, our menu, special offers, events and ArtiGras, our May festival.

We look forward to welcoming you here.  The Team

 

A Creative Year in Pictures

As 2015 is nearing its end we’d like to share some of the fabulous things that have happened at The Creative Collective.

In the 7 months we have been in our new space in Park Mall Shopping Centre, we’ve held a festival, ArtiGras, in May; in September we started our very successful film (Visual Treats) and poetry (Poetry Jam Sessions) nights; we’ve had a number of learners attending our art and creative writing courses; organised a number of exhibitions namely Alan Chapman, EXPOSED, Marshian Landscapes and VISIONS; participated in the Warnborough College Conference on the Arts; held an Art Fair in September; exhibited work by over 50 local artists; were joined by 15 talented young artists who regularly volunteer at the gallery; produced a calendar for charity; formed a number of creative partnerships and held some great events. So here are some photographs of our time here so far for you to enjoy:

ArtiGras 2015

Exhibitions:

Warnborough College Conference on the Arts 2015:

Art Fair September 2015:

Mad Hatters Tea Party, December 2015

Hope you’ve had some fun looking at our pictures, maybe you even saw a snap of yourself at one of our events.  We’ve had an amazing time and are looking forward to doing more of it in 2016. So come join us and help us create bigger and better events.  We have some exciting things planned for you all.  We’d like to thank everyone who has been with us and helped this year in any way, too many to name.  We really love and appreciate every single one of you.

We’d like to take the opportunity to wish you a happy New Year.  May 2016 be the best year so far.  Hope to see you at one of our events.  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.