Tag Archives: Fuse festival

2013 – our highlights in words and images

Happy New Year to all our followers and friends! 2013 was (again) a busy year for ME4Writers.

ME4Writers was started in 2009 by Sam Fentiman-Hall and since then, the collective has worked with over 500 members of the Kent community (focussing on Medway), on over 40 literary projects and events, with the aim of bringing more words to Medway.

ME4Writers is a loose grouping of Medway writers who work on different projects, also doing their own writing projects individually, though is held together by Sam and Barry Fentiman-Hall. Writers and creatives will join us for one or more projects at a time, and most of our projects and events are open and accessible to all. (ME4Writers is now part of Wordsmithery, a literary development company set up by Sam, which also encompasses 17Percent, an organisation which supports female playwrights. www.wordsmithery.info)

Some examples of the sort of events we have run are:  poetry open mics in alternative venues; new writing shows at the Dickens Festiva;, an open exhibition about memory and place – ‘Letters Home’ – in two Medway libraries; a Medway-wide poetry treasure hunt game for National Poetry Day; creative writing workshops and tutorials; took ‘possibly the world’s smallest writing retreat’ to the Fuse Festival 2013; published an anthology of creative writing about cities; and created a walking-writing tour of Rochester and other events for the inaugural Rochester Literature Festival.

A few highlights from this year:

  • May-June: The WordShed at Fuse Festival – we received a Spark Commission from Medway Council to pilot our new writing shed. We lead four creative writing workshops in Strood, Rochester, Walderslade Village and Chatham libraries in advance of the festival. We also made a printed booklet The Seed Catalogue with highlights from the workshops, which was given out at the festival, and online we published The Seed Compendium, a collection of everything (legible) from the Fuse Festival weekend. Find out more about the WordShed on the WordShed blog.
  • July and October: Rochester LitFest – we created a number of literary delights for the new festival. In July at the Garden Party we did a version of WordShed lite in the garden at The Good Intent. Then in October, at the festival proper, we played Poetrymon – our poetry treasure hunt game (in the pouring rain) on National Poetry Day, launched our first full-length book (published by Wordsmithery) City without a head, and led a walking/writing tour of Rochester. For 17Percent, Sam also produced a theatre show; She Writes – What’s through the door?
  •  City without a head: This is the culmination of a long standing ME4Writers’ project. Extracts from the anthology were published in parts as part of a guerilla distribution scheme, where we hid issues of a limited edition fanzine around Medway and further afield (some went to Sweden, Australia and America!) Wordsmithery launched City without a head on 8 October 2013, you can still buy a limited edition issue from Wordsmithery. In November we read extracts from the book on Fizzer’s Radio Show, which you can hear here.

    “this anthology is wonderfully enthralling and the passion that oozes from each page is unquestionable. It’s not an easy read – some of it will make your head spin in the sheer density of its intimacy (I now feel like I know each author personally) but it is rewarding.” **** Female Arts

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The Word Shed at Fuse over… watch this space for what’s next!

Girl writing on pavement paper
Pavement stories…

We had a fantastic response to our project  The Word Shed at the Fuse Festival. We had almost 100 people from ages 3 (with some help from mum!) to 90, who took some time out from the festival (and the sometimes rainy/windy weather), to sit in the warmth and shelter of the shed to do a bit of writing. A lot of those who visited had never had a go at creative writing before, or hadn’t really done any since school, and told us they really enjoyed the opportunity to share their stories.

For those little ones who weren’t quite up to writing in the shed, we also had large pieces of paper on the pavement in Gillingham and Chatham, where they could express themselves in words or pictures, and we had about 30 children writing and drawing on the pavement paper during the two days, with one visitor telling us she had come specially from Gillingham to Chatham the next day, as her children had enjoyed being at the shed so much!

On the last day of Fuse, we launched our Seed Catalogue booklet. This is a creative writing pamphlet containing a selection of writing done during our creative writing workshops (WordShops) in the run up to the festival. We handed out a copy to anyone who came to the shed who wanted one, and also did some readings from this new publication. A few remaining copies will shortly be available from the libraries where we did our WordShops. You can also download it from The Word Shed blog.

Picture of booklets
The Seed Catalogue

We will be typing up and getting all the photos together this week and next, and hopefully have a full PDF of everything we could type up ready to download by the end of the month.Here are some bits of feedback we received:

“This is an excellent, inclusive event. I really enjoyed it and so did my daughter!”

“Being under pressure to think is something I’ve not experienced since exams a decade or so ago and is a singularly uncomfortable experience… But quite good fun!”

“More local artists to be included in the Fuse Festival – Wonderful Word Shed – more, more, more!”

“I heart Word Shed. I think it is cool and fun. I would love to see it next year.”

“We only came to Chatham today because the kids enjoyed the Word Shed at Gillingham yesterday.”

“It’s a wonderful idea, I will come back with the grandchildren.”

Once again, thanks to Fuse festival (The Word Shed was developed with the aid of a Spark Commission), and to Passmores who loaned us the shed for the weekend.

Fuse Festival update!

Picture of a young man writingin the shed.
A shedder in action in Gillingham!

We’ve had a great response to our Word Shed project this weekend, so far.

We positioned the shed in Gillingham on Friday and yesterday we were in a windblown Chatham, along with the other acts in Streetart day.

Today, we are in Rochester Castle Gardens, and it’s your last chance to contribute to the online version of our publication The Seed Catalogue (Download it from the Word Shed blog).

Today we will be alternating a writing session and a reading session, where we read extracts from writing collected during the project.

We will be typing up everything we can from this weekend and adding it to an online version next week, which will be available from the Word Shed blog.

See you in Rochester! (Bring a brolly…)

The Seed Catalogue – launching at the FUSE festival

Picture of booklets
The Seed Catalogue

We are delighted to be able to launch our new collaborative booklet of prose and poetry ‘The Seed Catalogue’ from tomorrow at the FUSE Medway Festival.

The booklet has been put together from contributions to our wordshops over the past month, and showcases writing from 24 local writers, some of whom had not written before, some of whom are already writing.

The booklet has a range of writing inspired by the topics of Medway and Festival, and it was a delight to read the varied contributions and put the booklet together.

You can come along and do some writing too, in the Shed during the Festival, where you can find us in Gillingham on the High Street on Friday, at Chatham near H Samuels on Saturday and at Rochester Castle Gardens for the Big Picnic on Sunday. Bring a rug, and a picnic and you can listen to us read from the new booklet.

We will be typing up as many of the contributions from the weekend as we can and adding them to our online version of the publication – ‘The Seed Compendium’.  We will also be tweeting live poems from the Festival, follow us on @WordShed.

The whole project has been made possible with a Spark commission from the FUSE Medway Festival.

Feedback

If you come to The Word Shed over the weekend, and would like to give us any feedback, to help us develop future live literature events, please fill in our quick online survey.

ME4Writers awarded FUSE Festival Spark Commission

The Word ShedWe are very happy to announce that ME4Writers’ project ‘The Word Shed’ has received a Spark Commission from the Fuse Festival.

We will be creating ‘The Wordshed’ – a cosy and intimate base for creative thought. Guided by visitors to the Festival, we will develop and launch a new collection of poetry and stories for (and about) Fuse Festival, festivals in general and Medway. Visitors who wish to take part will be invited to create their own piece of writing to add to the collection. On Day 3 of the Festival there will be the opportunity to hear readings from the finished publication and collect a free copy of the new publication.

We will also be running some writing workshops in the run-up to the Festival – look out for posters in your local library and you will be able to book direct with them.

  • Saturday 11 May: Rochester Library: 1.30-3.30pm
  • Saturday 18 May: Strood Library: 10.30-12.30pm
  • Saturday 25 May: Walderslade Village Library: 10.30-12.30pm
  • Saturday 8 June: Chatham Library: 1.30-3.30pm

Says Festival General Manager Dawn Archer, who has been developing the Festival’s work with the local Medway community: “Fuse is all about local people and artists and celebrating Medway’s identity. It’s important to us to be involving local performers in a Festival which is now considered to be one of the most exciting outdoor arts events in the country. And the bonus is that the commissions not only allow our local artists to be part of Fuse, but also to develop new ways of working. All 3 commissions will create something very exciting, tailor-made for Fuse, and will spark imaginations throughout the Festival.”

You can find out more about the project:
By following: @WordShed on Twitter
Liking: http://www.facebook.com/WordShed
Follow the blog: me4wordshed.wordpress.com