We want to get as many people as possible who live, work or study in Medway involved in the conversation to make Medway’s City of Culture bid and new Cultural Strategy as ambitious and inclusive as possible. We want to make sure it reflects who we are, where we’ve come from and where we are going.
Earlier this summer we launched a brief in partnership with Medway Cultural Strategy looking to find community members or organisations to partner with. We were especially keen to partner with representatives of (or those who work closely with) diverse communities across Medway as well as anyone who feels that their community’s voice might be getting lost in current conversations about culture, for example where English is not spoken as a first language.
We’re delighted to announce that we will be working with four organisations across Medway.
Medway Diversity Forum
Medway Diversity Forum represents 28 diverse community groups in Medway belonging to 15 ethnicities and speaking 22 languages. They promote social inclusion and offer support to minority ethnic communities to reduce health inequalities, prevent social isolation, increase access to local opportunities and integration. They run events, workshops, festivals, seminars, training and advisory sessions designed to empower, improve skills and develop confidence and will be working with Asian and Eastern European communities as part of the consultation brief.
Youth Ngage works across Medway, Gravesham and Dartford to make connections between young people and those in authority, creating mentoring and talent development opportunities and activities to reduce anti-social behaviour and raise aspirations. Youth Ngage will be working with young Black people aged 11-21.
Christopher is a visual artist, art facilitator and Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) signer who lives and works in Medway. He co-founded the MESS ROOM which hosts inclusive, artist-led projects in partnership with local communities at Sun Pier House in Chatham offering unforgettable art experiences for all including blind, partially-sighted, d/Deaf and hearing impaired people of all ages, interests and abilities. Christopher will be working with d/Deaf BSL signers across the local area.
bemix support people with learning difficulties and/or autism to speak up, make choices, become powerful and influential and more independent in learning, housing, work, health, money, travel, leisure and relationships. Their work encompasses supported internships, advocacy, courses, group and individual support and learning disability awareness workshops with schools. bemix will be working with local young people with learning difficulties and/or autism.
What’s happening next?
All four organisations will be working with communities across Medway and exploring what culture is and where it can be found in Medway. They will be thinking about the stories we want to tell about ourselves and our local area and how cultural events and activities in Medway can be more inclusive.
These community conversations will be happening through individual calls, social media groups, socially distanced events and online meeting technologies. They will take place in multiple languages, including British Sign Language, and the conversations will feed into the development of the themes and approach for our UK City of Culture 2025 bid and new Cultural Strategy.
There’s still plenty of time to get involved
If you are part of a neighbourhood or community group, run a charity service, a club or a get-together and are interested in hosting a group conversation, please do get in touch with us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07773194583.