Monday, 21 December 2009

Christmas Quiz!

Christmas is almost here!

And it wouldn't be Christmas without a festive quiz, to tease those little grey cells. We are too full of mince pies and merriment to make our own, but luckily those clever people over at the Wellcome Trust have been a bit more proactive!

New Scientist magazine asked staff from the Wellcome Library to chose items from the Wellcome Image Library and also to create false descriptions for them.

We've had a go at guessing the real explanations behind the 10 objects offered - and have done pretty badly. Go on, see if you can do any better! In the meantime Happy Christmas, and see you in 2010.

Taster question:
Take a look at the picture above. Which of the following is its real purpose?
a). an ether dispenser
b). an enema syringe
c). a room fragrancer
d). an air pollution measurer?

Find out the answer, and play the whole quiz at:

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Lambs Conduit Street - Christmas Shopping

Don't miss the annual Lambs Conduit Street winter fair, taking place this Thursday, from 4-8pm. Art, retail, mulled wine and Christmas lights... what more do you need?

Friday, 4 December 2009

Art and Craft where you least expect it!

One of the most sited 'great things about London' is the access to and sheer number of cultural venues and activities available only a short bus/tube/bike ride away. Well at the moment, the opportunity to take part in and / or enjoy some art or craft have sprung up in a couple of suprising places.

In the case of Kristy and Coralie's Christmas Cooler, the term 'sprung up' applies literally. Best friends Kristie and Coralie have set up their pop up shop in an old victorian bath house near Kings Cross on the Caledonian Road. They have trasformed the building with vintage furniture to create a perfect environment for some crafty Christmas cheer.
Everything is for sale and wherever possible it is handmade or secondhand, making it a great place pick up some distinctive Christmas presents over homemade soup, mulled wine or tea and cake. Their tagline is 'Drink, Shop and Do' and from 'Smack my Stitch up' (Upcycling your old clothes)to 'Play with clay, 80's style' (Lional Ritchie's video for 'Hello' is the 80's reference), there certainly are some great craft orientated events on offer in this very different socialising experience.
It must be said that their events are probably more aimed at those of you who have emotional reactions to handbags, heels and cute little cupcakes crafted out of colourful wool, but it certainly is a plug for a gap in the market. The resurgance in interest in the crafts such as crochet and knitting is testament to that. I think some jaded londoners looking for a new hobby, a chat and a bit of entertainment over a cocktail could have a wonderful evening or 2 at the Christmas Cooler. Full details of their events are available on their website.
Another unexpected art experience can be had at the St Pancras Hospital in the form of the Celestial Bodies exhibition. Artist Amber Garnet is exhibiting her illustrations on a planetary theme, which as well as being unusual artworks in their own right, the godesses portrayed have their own characteristics and personality traits. The hospital is far from a large gallery space, but any artists from around the area may be interested in sending in their work for consideration.
-Drink Shop and Do will be open 12pm to 12am, Thursday to Sunday for the three weekends in December (from the 3rd to the 20th)
9 Caledonian Road, N1 9DX
- Celestal Bodies is showing until 18th February.
The Gallery Space, South Wing, St Pancras Hospital
St. Pancras Way, NW1 0PE

Monday, 30 November 2009

Art in Redundant Housing Estate

This December The Market Estate Project will take over a soon-to-be demolished 1960’s housing estate north of King's Cross, and begin to transform more than 100 vacant flats, communal spaces and building facades into a creative playground for artists, designers and residents.

The Project offers artists and designers free spaces and an opportunity to freely intervene with what was considered to be one of North London's most notorious housing estates. With works starting from mid December 2009, they are looking for projects that engage and address the site's architecture, history, and community. Culminating in a one day live event in February 2010, they will invite the public to explore and experience the site and the art works, just before the bulldozers move in.

They're inviting YOU to submit proposals for artistic activity. Check out their website for more information about the project and how to apply

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

REVEAL: Arts & Community Grants

As part of the Reveal programme CreateKX is offering grants for projects led by established and experienced arts and/or community organisations that will provide exciting opportunities for local people living around Kings’ Cross/St Pancras as participants and audiences, and add value to the artistic programme.

Reveal is a creative journey through King’s Cross, taking place 22 April- 2 May 2010. The programme’s themes of discovery, revelation and exploration will reveal the creative history and celebrate the future of King’s Cross. Reveal builds on the success of the 2007 Arrivals programme.

Reveal will offer artists, participants and audiences access to the hidden treasures of King’s Cross, discovering the past through local stories, site specific performance and installations in some of the iconic buildings in the area whilst glimpsing the future through a range of innovative partnerships, unique venues and multi art-form and digital media events.
Reveal will create an arts trail with King’s Cross and St Pancras International in the centre, a creative treasure map where X marks the spot. We’ll weave this web of activity through three strands of work:

  • Create KX projects & commissions

  • Partnership Projects

  • Arts and Community Projects

We can offer funding for original and adventurous arts & community projects that will culminate in a performance, showcase or other public event as part of the Reveal programme. Please note that we will be looking to fund projects in the region of £2-3k. If your project will cost more then you must identify and access the match funds from another source.

Successful projects will be able to demonstrate all of the following:
Involvement of a professional artist or arts organisation

  • A theme or idea linked to the Reveal concept

  • A small amount of match funding

  • A good track record of arts project delivery

  • Real benefit to local people

Proposals must be submitted by Monday 4th January 2010. For more information about eligibility and the application process, please visit:

Monday, 23 November 2009

The Hunterian Museum, Holborn

Our last VisitKX event - Culture and Enterprise: Made for each other? (Friday 20th November) - was held at the Hunterian Museum. The museum is tucked away inside the The Royal College of Surgeons in Lincoln's Inn Fields in Holborn and proved to be a fascinating location to the delegates at the event and to the CreateKX staff!

In 1799 the government purchased the collection of the surgeon and anatomist John Hunter (1728-1793). It was placed in the care of the Company (later the Royal College) of Surgeons. Hunter's collection of around 15,000 specimens and preparations formed the nucleus of one of the greatest museums of comparative anatomy, pathology, osteology and natural history in the world. The Hunterian Collection today contains approximately 3,500 specimens and preparations from John Hunter's original collection.
The Huntarian Museum is a quirky little museum and isn't for everybody. If glistening jars of preserved innards make you queasy, or you feel a funny turn coming on at the sight of blood, it may not be for you. However, if you are at all interested in science, medicine or the history of medicine, it's a delight and gives a real appreciation for how far medicine has come.

It was also a pleasant suprise to find that the museum has an interactive and new media section in the upstairs gallery. Although, again, the videos of various operations in full colour may not be wise watching for the more sensetive visitor. The current exhibition is called 'Sci-Fi Surgery: Medical Robots'. Patrons are invited to enter the world of medical robots where surgeons can operate without even touching their patients. Mini-robots creep, crawl and swim around your body, diagnosing disease and performing vital surgery.

This is a small museum with a huge collection, and I think it is really worth the effort of seeking it out. Their website is also worth a look and provides an in depth history to the museum and it's founder, as well as a virtual tour tool and a lecture archive from past events.

Hunterian Museum @ The Royal College of Surgeons
35 - 43 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London WC2A 3PE

T - 020 7405 3474
W -

Open Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm
Free and open to all

Sci-Fi Surgery: Medical Robots
Qvist gallery
Until Wednesday 23 December 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

G-Fest at the Drill Hall

London's premier LGBT cross-arts festival, GFest is a platform for LGBT and queer artists, organisations and venues to promote LGBT and queer arts. Organised by arts charity Wise Thoughts, GFest features queer artists and talent across the arts, including visual arts, theatre, dance and performance, LGBT short films, debates, workshops and parties. I went along to sample one of the workshops on offer, which were hosted by the Drill Hall arts centre in Chenies Place.

The first event of the festival was a practical theatre workshop run by award winning theatre practitioner Barcy Cogdale. Barcy is also the founder and director of the Ruby Tuesday Theatre Company. The 2 hour event was centered around the theme of 'Identity' and had a very inclusive and friendly atmosphere facilitated by the bubbly nature of our workshop leader. Many fun exercises took place, including the dreaded but inevitable name game and ice breakers which reinvigorated the sleepiest of minds after a long day's work. Particpants were encouraged to use their own stories to help with developing ideas and improvisations around the theme and I was suprised at how open everyone was willing to be after only an hour or so together. It was a good opportunity to be inspired and really got the creative juices flowing.

The event was a great success and I think a great start to what I hope was a great festival. It seems that every section of society has their own month, season or festival at the moment, and when creating such events provides opportunities to meet with like minded artists, explore new themes, share ideas and have some fun, I say, long may that continue.

The Drill Hall also runs various classes in the performing arts throughout the year.

Free Film Workshops for North Londoners!

The North London Film Fund have just released the first edition of the NLFF newsletter, timed to coincide with the launch of a new fully functioning website! NLFF is dedicated to supporting all filmmakers who are over 18 and live or work in Camden, Enfield and Hariney.

Following a successful run of workshops in September they are now running a Sound workshop on November 24th at Central Film School from 6.30-9.00pm. See their website for more details. There are 10 places left so if you are interested please email - it’s first come first served.NLFF also aims to run further script writing workshops in January.

If you want to receive their monthly newsletter please email your name to You can also send news of any screenings, workshops and film associated events you want featured in next month’s newsletter to the same address.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Points of View: Capturing the 19th Century in Photographs

The Points of View exhibition at the British Library gives an insight into Victorian culture and presents the discovery and development of the photographic image in the 19th Century.

The exhibition is a suprisingly interactive celebration and reveals 250 fascinating images from the library's catalogue of 300,000 photographs. I enjoyed the opportunity to make 'then and now' comparisons of London streets on one of the interactive machines which are dotted around the exhibit.
We are taken through a brief history of the orgins of phtography, given an insight into early travel photography and then into the various popularisms through the century.
I particularly enjoyed the 'Criminal Types' display, with examples from the work of Alphonse Bertillon, which helped the French police to document and capture criminals with identification overlays which superseded fingerprinting. I was fascinated, if not enamoured by the 'Documenting difference' display which demonstrated the Victorian obsession with archiving and documenting data. The striking images of Africans, Native Americans and Brazillians were taken mostly for comparison purposes and seen as the only way of preserving doomed cultures in the face of colonialism. The 'Medical Case studies' were also of interest. People at the time strongly believed that your mental ailment could be reflected in the face - I looked for quite a while trying to see if would be able to tell!
The selection of stereoscopes and stereoscopic images immediately leads the mind to the recent resurgence in popularity for 3D films and television. It was fascinating to see where it all started.
One can't help but compare the many examples to how we use photography now, with almost everybody who owns a mobile phone also having the capacity to take digital photographs and even videos with it. Cameras are an integral aspect of modern life especially in one of most 'watched' nations in the world. Our fascination with documenting our lives via the medium certainly hasn't waned. There are, apparently, approximately 14 million photographs uploaded to facebook daily!
George Eastman, founded the Eastman Kodak Company and invented roll film, helping to bring photography to the mainstream. His goal was:
" make the camera as convenient as the pencil."
I would say, it certainly is that...if not on it's way to being more so.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Cloth of Gold and their Winter Carnival Float!

Would you or someone else you know like to help build a Winter Carnival Float?

Cloth of Gold has been commissioned to design and build a brilliant Winter themed float which will be the centre piece of festive celebrations at 6 different locations in Camden this year. They are in the process of creating some large-scale carnivalesqe light sculptures which they would love to share with other arty people. If you are any good at making, painting, sticking and generally enjoy being creative, then please get in touch with them to help. It is a great opportunity to get some extra experience of making artwork for events and to work alongside practicing professional artists.

Cloth of Gold are looking for up to 2 volunteers. There are 2 key making days available at their studio on: Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th November from 10am - 3pm. With an additional production day on Thursday 26th November.

For more info; call Sarah on 020 7372 0628, or email cog (at)

Friday, 23 October 2009

CreateKX Networking @ Sartorial Contemporary Art

Doesn't the time just fly... The nights are drawing in and Summer is but a distant, damp memory. Last week CreateKX celebrated this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness with its Autumn Networking event, with wine and a healthy gathering of friends at the Sartorial Gallery.

Founded in 2004 by Gretta Sarfaty Marchant, Sartorial moved to King’s Cross in 2008 - becoming one of the largest new contemporary art galleries in London. The gallery is located through a non-descript, small door just off Argyle Square - walking into its hidden space is like unlocking a fabulous secret.
The current exhibition celebrates five years of success, showcasing works of 20 of the gallery's artists. Although this exhibition ends today - apologies for the bad timing! - the next opens in a mere week. Lust for life is a solo exhibition featuring the work of Swedish painter Ann-Caroline Breig. So go down, find the hidden door, and explore!
The gallery is open Tues-Sat, 12.30-6pm.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Finnegan's Teeth

Eagle eyed wanderers around the Railway lands and York Way may have noticed enigmatic additions to the landscape. If you take a look at the Fish and Coal Building from Goods Way or from the canal or have a wander down to the York Way Canal bridge or along Goods Way then you will witness some of the art work for Finnegan's teeth. These are large scale poster extracts from an artist's book by local artist Judith Cowan. The shaggy dog story of a canine wandering the mean streets of King's Cross, taking his owner along for the ride, Finnegan's teeth is a disconcerting, funny and strangely moving dogs eye view of the world.
Check for more details

Friday, 2 October 2009

'Exquisite Bodies' at the Wellcome Collection

Anyone squeamish is advised to steer clear of the 'Exquisite Bodies' exhibition, subtitled ‘The Curious And Grotesque Story Of The Anatomical Model’ at the Wellcome Collection. The wax-work models on show here are anatomical replicas formerly used as teaching aids for surgeons and midwives and Madame Tussaud's this is not!

Featuring graphic deconstructions of the human anatomy in states ranging from fascinating to festering. These models often took the form of alluring female figures that could be stripped and split into different sections. The exhibit includes toy like models built up from several layers and
plastic body parts, one being that of a pregnant subject dissected to reveal her unborn foetus . It could be a very dark (and detailed) version of the game 'Operation'. Further teaching models include a life size wood and leather torso complete with cloth baby which was used to demonstrate
various birthing methods.

Other models were more macabre, showing the body ravaged by syphilis, tuberculosis or drug addiction. With their capacity to titillate as well as educate, anatomical models became sought-after curiosities in 19th century. They became a weapon of propaganda, combining entertainment with a public health service; providing a warning to society about living in an 'ungodly' way.

The display of models, all with their own indivdual varieties of venereal disease is worthy of note for the impressive level of detail. As is the gruesome model of a man cleanly severed through his torso, revealing a fascinting cross section for us to examine but a very bad day at the office for the poor man who was the inspiration for this piece if his modelled face is anything to go by!

However the area cordoned off with a tempting red velvet curtain complete with warning sign for those of a sensetive disposition is probably the most controversial. However, the cabinet of infected groins and potentially racially offensive pieces isn't even lit, meaning that patrons can't really examine it without pulling the curtain open revealing the oh-so horrific contents of the hidden section, concious that they might be offending somebody else in the room. I doubt very much that the curtain or the warning have really put anybody off taking a peek and wonder if it should have been curtained at all. That said, my stomach may be made of stronger stuff than some.

Just as educational, and just as stimulating, as when these pieces where first made, this is definately one to see. Macabre and marvellous!

Exquisite Bodies at the Wellcome Collection, ends on 18 October. Entry is free.

See the website for associated events and introductory videos.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Surface / Space/ Time @ The Crypt Gallery

The latest exhibit at the Crypt Gallery (St. Pancras Church, Euston Road) brings together a group of emerging and established artists, to explore the concepts of surface, space and time. The exhibition seeks to explore the hidden pathways and connotations located within the subject title and makes and excellent start with it's choice of location being the dark, eerie and damp maze of passageways at the Crypt Gallery.

The exhibition is diverse and distictive with a range of methods and media being utilised. I particularly enjoyed the Susan Hotchkis series. She uses her colourful embroidered textiles to explore the notion of beauty being created over a long period of time and seeks to find a harmony between man made and natural beauty. She manages to create an almost paint like effect with her embroidery which I thought was clever and beautiful. Richard Jack's sculptural work which explored familial relationships and Rona Smith's breezeblock installation 'High Rise' were also interesting and enjoyable, with the latter being one of the few pieces which I felt was truly site specific despite many of the artist's claims.

The Crypt's next exhibition, looks to be just as interesting. 'Is this Spain?', opening on 12th September, brings together contemporary Spanish artists who question and reject the often held stereotypes of Spanish culture and Spain as a country with a strong emphasis on newer artistic methods and languages such as video installation and net art.

Surface/ Space/Time featured artists: Eve Wheate, JooHee Hwang, Lucy Barfoot, Lucy Fergus, Luke Stones, Mark Houghton, Mary Louise Evans, Richard Jack, Rona Smith, Sam Clift, Simone Wallace & Sue Hotchkis.

Taste The Place

Free taster dance sessions available at The Place over this weekend. Become an expert overnight in anything from Egyptian to Cha Cha Cha! Limited places remain so check out the website asap:

Friday, 28 August 2009


Sunday 6th September at Camley Street Natural Park

For those who have the stamina there's the option of 2 festivals in one weekend. CS Natural Park has it all: From pond-dipping to bushcraft workshops, live music and a yurt carnival procession. Get back to nature in style!

Find out more here:

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Marchmont Street Festival

5th September - 11-6pm

Don't miss the annual Marchmont Street Festival, taking place on 5th September. There's promise of great food - from cake to curry, live music, fun fair rides, street performers and even punch and judy.

And if you've got the back-to-school-blues, visit the School of Life open day, where their resident experts can help you face September with a spring in your step. They'll be offering free pearls of wisdom on all big stuff: Love, Work, Family, Play and Politics.

If all those experts can't help you... well there's always cake.

See you there!

Monday, 17 August 2009


A great opportunity to be a part of the evolving fabric of King's Cross has emerged: A new artist residency on the King's Cross Central site.

For all the information on the residency, and how to apply, just visit the King's Cross Central site.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Finding Affordable Workspace

We're soon to host a seminar on sourcing affordable workspace - a key issue for artists in this area. It's free, so come down and hear what our expert has to say.

A lively and informative session that looks into the space conundrum that faces organisations looking for workspace on a budget, led by an arts practitioner who has developed a number of properties in north London.
The topics covered are: • Where to look, how to look: tips, considerations • Making contact with the landlord/agent: speaking the language of property • Getting the most out of your landlord • Once you are in – developing the space

DATE: 26th August 2009, 10.30am-12.30pm COST: FREE! HOW TO BOOK: Please email with the following details:
Full Name:
Organisation and Position (if relevant):

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Guardian Datastore (& Competition)

Forget paying out loads of money for research and market insight – these days all you’ve got to do is log on to The Guardian’s new data-store, which has compiled a vast range of publicly available data in one place. Whatever your topic of interest – arts, culture, bird watching or plastic surgery – you can find data on it here. Before you rush off to mashup MP Expenses with public arts funding, hang on...
Because The Guardian are also launching a competition – challenging people to present the data in visually innovative ways.

We want to hear your ideas about how this data can be brought to life. Use our data to produce visualisations and mash ups that tell stories (like this), or build tools that will make this data easier to use (like this). It's completely up to you.
We're looking for ways to make data more valuable to people with the minimum of fuss, so we have two categories for submissions:

1) The best user experience for understanding meaning in data, and
2) The best tool for web developers to build other things with data
The entries judged to be the most useful will win a Flip Mino HD and will be featured on

For more information about the competition click here.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Litro Live!

Yesterday evening a small corner of St Pancras station was transformed into an inventive space full of music and the spoken word. 'An evening of live storytelling and music in celebration of journeys across borders'

Hosted on the terrace of The Betjeman Arms in St.Pancras' grand international station, it was the perfect place to drop by after work. I arrived in time to hear the voice of Kate Daisy Grant, whose acoustic harmonies were a welcome unwind after battling the busy streets post tube strike. To a background of intermittent tanoy announcements and trains departing for the exotic lands of Europe, travel writer Alistair Boyd shared some humorous anecdotes from his youthful adventures in the Amazon. Alistair is author of 'Royal Challenge Accepted: Around the world on five pounds' and 'Get up and go! Gilt-edged travel, shoestring' travel'. He reminded the audience that everyone is able to travel and life should always be on the go! Poetry from Hugo Williams was to follow and the eclectic line up even included artists Geoff Dyer and Jake Arnott.

Litro magazine runs monthly live events which usually take place at Rays Jazz Cafe in Foyles, Charing Cross. Just visit the Litro website to find more out about their exciting approach to fiction and associated live events across London.

Friday, 5 June 2009

CreateKX Networking Event: Don't miss out, book your place today!

Upcoming CreateKX event, the essential guide to learn how to get to who you want to know...

Networking: How to get to who you want to know
17th June 2009, 10am-1.30pm @ OneKX, King’s Cross
For organisations and businesses based in Camden and Islington
£7 including lunch

Nervous of networking? Shy of Selling?

Most people have an inbuilt fear and lack of confidence in networking to establish new contacts and generate more business or support. In a down turn it’s never been more important to be able to articulate who you are and what you do to forge new connections and creativity. New contacts are important but when was the last time you evaluated your own network and how that’s working for you and your business?

Sound daunting? Not a bit of it. You can do it and the good news is that help is at hand. If you’re ready to put your networking fears to bed once and for all this is the training for you. The interactive (and fun!) seminar includes a buffet lunch offering an ideal opportunity to put your new found tools and confidence to good use.

Led by Emma Courtney, Director of Courtney Consulting, Chartered Marketer and Approved NCVO Consultant.

Friday, 29 May 2009

VisitKX Benefits - Evaluation of 2008/9

VisitKX is a unique support and development programme for London based cultural venues and arts organisations (priority booking given to resident organisations in Camden & Islington).

Following our big evaluation this week, we thought it would be useful to share some of the benefits gained by our participant organisations through the 2008/9 VisitKX Programme PLUS the hot topics we hope to tackle in the coming year...


Ø Gives their organisation context
Ø Offers realistic best practice – from practitioners in the field
Ø Forum for honesty and freeness
Ø Networking
Ø New sources of information
Ø Potential partnerships
Ø Breaks down perceived hierarchy in the sector


Ø Networking – through structured activity
Ø Confidence boost
Ø Sharing ideas and practice
Ø Reinforced relationships
Ø Specialist focus
Ø Strategic thinking time
Ø Reinforced common issues
Ø following up opportunities
Ø Inspiration & Bouncing ideas
Ø Combating isolation



Ø Creation of a forum/ directory
Ø Prompts and reminders after training – follow up material
Ø Facilitating links with other agencies/ regen groups/ policy groups/ businesses
Ø Provide as much info as possible ahead of the session: background on trainers, particular focus on the day, who might benefit etc to ensure relevance
Ø Techniques on making the most out of training: mini-session, or short ‘to do’ list


Ø Inspirational spaces & venues: less known places, revealing ‘behind the scenes’, relevant to the session
Ø Ice-breaker introduction to workshops – facilitated/structured networking
Ø Twilight sessions (4-6pm followed by networking over drinks)
Ø Host to introduce and mingle – aid networking
Ø Training by different artistic mediums: using creativity to learn/ enable discussion
Ø Opportunity to move about, work in different groups/pairs etc


Ø Case studies, practical examples
Ø Workshops aimed at specific types of organisations: depending on size, discipline, age and ethos
Ø Structured peer-support
Ø Bespoke/taylor-made seminars
Ø Workshops
Ø Pairing up organisations: match-making (cultural-to-cultural or cultural-to-business)
Ø One-on-one bespoke assistance/advice
Ø Mentoring scheme
Ø Surgeries/ labs for joint problem solving
Ø Action learning sets


How to manage, accept and make the most of change:
losing colleagues, funding
seeing out of the box and your job role.

How to thrive/flourish during a recession
seizing/knowing opportunities, pooling resources
repackaging product, skills sharing

Digital Resources: online social networking, marketing, what should we be using? how do we measure success?

Audience Development: Training and working with young people, Community programmes, older people and prisons, data use and analysis

Finance: Recession and its impact on funding, funding and support
Funding: information on local sources, overviews, finance strategies

Policy briefings

business strategy development

Evaluation: understanding how to demonstrate success and measuring outcomes, advocacy, influencing people

Managing workloads
new policy and strategy, realistic best-practice
Co-ordination of practical issues; eg IT, marketing, policy research.

2012: how to find opportunities

Internal Communications: partnerships and internal buy-in

-> If you are a cultural venue and would like to find out more please contact Catherine Packard on email What's more suggestions in the 'comments' below would be much appreciated, or if you prefer, email us directly with your own content proposal for VisitKX 2009/10.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Camden in Bloom

A perfect bankholiday challenge for those of you with green fingers, to get outdoors and creative... entries are open from 1st June for the annual horticultural competition Camden in Bloom. This is a great chance to contribute by making the borough look beautiful AND take up the challenge to enter and win great prizes. Not only could you win something, your efforts will be part of the Royal Horticultural Society’s London in Bloom regional competition entry. This is a lovely way to involve everyone in the community in brightening up the area! To find out more please visit the Camden in Bloom website

Upcoming CreateKX event Nanotechnology: Discover the Opportunities for your Creative Business.

Nanotechnology is a new manufacturing technology which can produce products which are lighter, stronger, cleaner and less expensive. From stain resistant cotton to anti-microbal pyjamas this really is a brave new world. Could you be a part of it? Our workshop on 3rd June will provide an introduction to the emerging sector and its potential to develop or influence your own practice.

This is a great opportunity to consider how your work could benefit from nano-enhanced materials, and you’ll get the chance to road-test a few products already on the market too. Industry expert Victor Higgs will also highlight the current issues relevant to the importation and processing of nanomaterials and nanotechnology-based products. Book your place now!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Disco Dancing @ One KX!

There was no 3'oclock tea break in the CreateKX office today, oh no! Instead we chose a spot of 'Funk and Disco Dancing' at OneKX to revive our post-lunch fatigue. Kitted out with leggings and all (no leg warmers unfortunately!) and as enthusiastic as ever we joined fellow divas in the fantastic dance studios offered at OneKX. Led by a very energetic instructor, who seemed to have LOTS of faith in us all, we learnt 2 new routines off by heart, improved our disco style and learnt how to step to a funky beat. Powered by the motivational music we so love from the disco era, we were asked not to copy but to follow... so that we could bring our own unique touch to the hip swinging a-finger clickin' party grooves.

"I will survive" - WE did survive! What's more it was a great way to enjoy some free exercise in lively company.

If this sounds like fun to you then please visit the OneKX website because there is a whole range of different dance classes available to the King's Cross community.

OneKX, 120 cromer Street, WC1H 8BS
Tel: 020 7520 3070

Friday, 15 May 2009

William Hunt: Saturday Night TV

Bored of Saturday nights infront of immemorable and mindless TV? Looking for something to break the tedium of your 'weekend night out'? Want to be entertained, engaged and evoked?
You needn't look much further because next Saturday, 30th May William Hunt is celebrating the end of his artist's residency at the Camden Arts Centre"I don't belive you, you're a liar" with a major new installation and performance work at The German Gymnasium.

Described as a battle of the bands, X Factor hybrid, the work features live music and tough talking judges. Acts perform linked up to a lie detector and are critiqued not only on their singing talent but on their genuineness. The final is judged by a ‘celebrity panel’ along with the audience who are asked to shout “play loud, play real loud” or “I don’t believe you, you’re a liar”.

During his residency at Camden Arts Centre in April and May, Hunt transforms the Artists' Studio into a recording studio, and invites singer songwriters to perform hooked up to a lie detector (polygraph machine). He explores the ability to separate mind from body, asking is it truly heartfelt or are they just pushing our buttons? “I don’t believe you, you’re a liar” was Bob Dylan’s response to a heckler in 1966 during a performance at the Free Trade Hall when he had made the transition to electric. Acoustic and especially folk music had traditionally been associated with protest and the authentic.

Plus, join some members of the audience by dressing as Bob Dylan!

When: Saturday 30th may, 7.30 pm- 8.30pm
Where: the German Gymnasium, St Pancras Road, NW1 2TB
Tickets: £4, Book your place here.

This event is just one in a series of innovative, dynamic performance based artworks and projects which engage with the rich history fo the area in Kings Cross, its architecture and changing communities - past and present.

Junction: Artists' Projects, Commissions and Performance for Kings Cross

(March 2009 – March 2010)
Sites for events will vary from formal studio and gallery spaces to disused warehouses and the streets of Kings Cross itself.


March 2009 – June 2009 (double residency)
William Hunt: ‘I don’t believe you, you’re a liar’
Live Art installation and events on and off-site at Kings Cross, including open studio event at Camden Arts Centre. This residency will run over the course of two Camden Arts Centre exhibitions.
You can find more info here

March 2009
Billboard @ Kings Cross
Camden Arts Centre will launch Junction by producing a billboard poster of work by Liz Arnold in Kings Cross.

July 2009 – September 2009
Public Works (tbc)
Public Works will present Live Art performance, installation and events across Hampstead and Kings Cross. Residency will include a Ranters’ Café event at Camden Arts Centre and an open studio event. You can find more info here

October 2009 – March 2010
International residency, activity tbc
Will include two open studio events, off-site activity at Kings Cross and a series of talks and events at Camden Arts Centre.

Friday, 8 May 2009

The Crypt: The Other Side

Fighting off ice cream cones. Weaving through 'urban fossils'. Enjoying a home video music performance. The current exhibition at The Crypt Gallery, The Other Side has really appreciated the potential of this unique space with work integrating drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, sound, video, text and performance.

The Other Side curated by Erika Winstone has been exhibited in The Crypt Gallery because of its dual history as a place of sanctury for both the living and the dead (the crypt was an air raid shelter in both world wars). It takes its title from the novel written by artist Alfred Kubin who found himself incapable of drawing due to emotional and spiritual trauma. Eighteen artists have been asked to explore the other side through working with real and imagined relationships, exhibiting work with an 'other' across time. Mark Dean's video of St.Pancras church graveyard capsures both 'sides', with the living movement of people and trees made so resonant against the stillness of the head stones.

An 'other' indicates a realm of uncertainty, an area to explore. The nature of relationships vary, but they are reciprocal, and so the artists work explore the influence of their 'other' side. The creative value of this relationship is encompassed throughout the exhibition.

The delicate, small scale paintings by Trevor Jones titled 'remember me' and 'forgotten' explore his relationship with wife and daughter, showing how the fear and uncertainty left in their lives since his recent stroke has influenced his creative work. I love the photograph of Tony Hill's striking 'Broken Shells'. His hands are holding as many shells as possible and the shapes are so harsh against his caring hands. The photograph is influenced by the material qualities of the work produced by his late wife and artist Lynne Davies-Jones. From the present to the past and beyond. Erika's own cross generational work brings film footage from the past into the present and in doing so creates an imaginary happening that could never take place in reality but conveys how relationships sustain through time.

By looking at 'the other side' of relationships the artists have reflected upon their own work from a different perspective and produced an innovative and very personal exhibition. The Other Side is showing at the Crypt Gallery until 17th May, if you can, do pop down into the cavenous space just off Euston Road for a moving and thought provoking exhibition.

Friday, 1 May 2009

The October Gallery, Bloomsbury

It is Friday 1st May and everyone is smiling! With high hopes for the sunny bank holiday weekend ahead I took an enthusiastic stroll through Bloomsbury this lunchtime. After passing packed lunch-box eaters, inspired summer shoppers and the lucky mid-day wine sipping sorts I reached the perfect picnic spot when I stumbled across Queen Square. The surrounding Victorian buildings and carefully gardened square gives this little city haven a peaceful garden like feel.

Just off the square lies the October Gallery, appropriately named after the month it was built, the lovely space represents artists from around the planet, promoting Transvangarde art - the trans-cultural avante-garde. After finishing my sandwich I stepped from the sunny outdoors into its airy and bright atmosphere. With pieces from11 artists the room displays a range of bold canvases, small sculptures and prints.

Rachd Koraichi, an internationally reknowned Arab artist, explores Sufi mysticism (the mythical aspect of Islam) in his work and the detailed lithographic etchings really grasped my attention. All the detailed signs and numerology speak of a dimension quite unknown to myself. Another artist whose work engaged my basic understanding of Islam was Tajammul, whose aim is to give visual expression to the verses in the Quaran, and like Koraichi, bring out its mystical meaning through art. From intricacy to ethereal oversize plastic bags! Huan Xu, a Chinese artist looks at the fragile nature of the contemporary global econony.

Bloomsbury is home to both the British Museum and School of Oriental and African Studies, making the October Gallery the perfect place for the Transvangarde artists. This exhibition is showing until 16th May but it is shortly followed by Beninese artist, Gerard Quenum's 'Stowaways'. His work comprises of whimsical portraits made by recycled objects that speak of a diverse history but also represent individuals observed in Quenum's local environment. - What's more the exhibition space offers a very tempting lunch-ing location!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Only Connect Theatre

The CreateKX team were more than happy to return to the hospitable Only Connect Theatre yesterday evening, but this time it was to see a performance of realistic drama Future Me.

The Only Connect Theatre on Cubitt Street is run by a creative arts company working with prisoners and ex-offenders. The old baptist church has been turned into an audience engaging stage set and this unique space makes for a very intimate theatre experience.

Future Me begins by setting a familar scene; an attractive, young and successful couple (Peter and Jenny) are ready to settle down and begin their future together. This habitual scenario is quickly dashed when an accidental email is sent from Peter's account to his entire address book. The email had an attachment of child pornography. From that moment on, Peter's life and all those closest to him was never going to be the same again.

The physical closeness of actors and audience ensured Future Me was a powerful perfomance, and at times uncomfortable by challenging our understanding of human impulse and desire. From the cell unit of a rehabilitation centre the audience is introduced to Paedophilia from the perspective of the offender and the impact on those who love and trusted them.

The difficulties in supressing human impulse and desire is cleverly explored in relation to the vitual world of the internet and the distortion that this brings to our real lives. When anything you want is avaliable just like that, human impulse and its potential to destroy is ever present. 'Future me' refers to a treatment programme designed for offenders to deal with the consequences of their past and look towards a non-abusing future. Through Peter's very vulnerable cell mate Harry and Jenny's loyalty to Peter, the audience is encouraged to consider the true meaning of forgiveness, and whether the hope for a new future 'me' is possible.

As well as theatre venues, Future Me will be performed in secure hospitals and the themes in the play will be explored through workshops with patient groups.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Little Italy

Yesterday evening I was lucky enough to experience a piece of 'Little Italy' right on my doorstep. The Islington Museum, and all those involved in the showcasing of their new exhibition, Little Italy got together to celebrate its sucess! With wine, focaccia, and a lovely range of cheeses and salami, the ambience was fitting for this commemoration of the Italian community who settled in Clerkenwell and Holborn from the early nineteenth century onwards. The Italian church of St Peter and Gazzano's cafe on Farringdon Road are just a few of the Italian landmarks surviving today, which play a part in the historic story of Clerkenwell's Italian past.

The exhibition offers a wonderful collection of photographs from the period, and the rather more unique pictures of a young boy with a monkey and craftmen at work really takes you back into a time when ice creams were 'penny-a-lick'. Contemporary quotes and extracts from local press illustrate the impact of the Italian community on Clerkenwell and nicely capture the introduction of ice cream to our culture - with an authentic ice cream machine on show! The exhibition unveils the Italian story and the oral history accounts brings the exhibition to a close with the voices and music of the Italian quarter coming back to life.

Following a speech of gratuity to Camden archives and the support from Friends of the Museum we were all honoured with the playing of the Chiappa family's louder than life, hand made organ - which brought smiles of delight all round!

Little Italy @ The Islington Museum, 245 St John St (below Finsbury Library), London, EC1V 4NB, on show until 31st May.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Madness and Modernity: Mental illness and the visual arts in Vienna 1900

Vienna 1900 was a time of great artistic efflorescence... When artists, writers and the likes would meet at coffeehouses to discuss all that was modern, from art and politics to medicine and social change.

It is in this period that Freud published his first writings on psychoanalysis in Vienna. The Wellcome Collection has brought Vienna 1900 to life with a display of architecture and visual art produced in this exceptional age. The exhibition begins with a film of 'The Tower of Fools' (a purpose built institution for 'dangerous lunatics') which brings to life the reality of medecine and madness in 18th - 19th Century Vienna. Its exploration of the geometric precise building, past skeleton cases and locked doors, is soundtracked by echoing footsteps that chase you through the empty corridors. By highlighting the thought behind developments to mental hospitals of physical beauty and Freud's infamous consulting room this history of medecine really explores the changing perception of the insane and their cure.

The fine line between mental illness and artist is ever present, from Franz-Xaver Messerschmidt's series of grimacing heads - it is believed by some to be self portraiture of his different personalities - to the pathological art exemplified in Egon Schiele's persistent scrutiny of face and body. Much visual art depicted the idyosyncracies and characteristics of indiviudals suffering from mental illness with twitching faces and withered bodies. Such portraits of the mentally ill registered it as a modern condition and highlights the mutual relationship between mental illness and the arts.

This exhibition is showing @ The Wellcome Collection until 28th June but there is also Bobby Baker's Diary Drawings: Mental Illness on show until August and a campaigning workshop is being held on Saturday 18th April.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A busy week...

D Fuse @ the German Gymnasium

Pathways: King's Cross investigates how we remember and imagine a place and how we document change. Create KX and King's Cross Central commissioned D Fuse to reflect on this process in King's Cross. The group of designers and artists explore the relationship between image and sound. For Pathways they have drawn inspiration from the development underway in the area today as well as through stories and images from the past. Their interesting use of oral history gives the audience a unique and very personal experience of the changes in King's Cross. Its diverse nature is captured by the soundtrack of different voices revealing memories and tales from the past; the old Scala Cinema, now popular music venue, is given a humourous depiction as an old photograph is shown on the transparent screen. Their film of famous King's Cross landmarks taken from still images of old films and photographs is projected on to layers of transparent screen. A mirror image is then shown of the same view but from present time. This crossing of time and the layered visual effect depicts the concept of memory and history itself- as simply a reconstruction of what is rememebered and documented. As a King's Cross resident its fascinating to hear stories from the area, which otherwise would be missing from our understanding of history- Who would have thought Pentonville Road used to be referred to as the river Jordan!
Come and pop in and discover something a bit different about living in King Cross, on show until April 5th, opening times weekend 11am-5pm, Thurs/Fri 12pm - 7.30.

Big Chill House, 257-259 Pentonville Road, King’s Cross, LondonN1 9NL

The shock of summer sun last week meant that the The Big Chill's fun loving crowd all headed out on to their comfy roof balcony last Saturday night. Many a-sipping fruity cocktails whilst trying to convince their goosepimpled arms that this was how March in London IS. That is the great thing about the Big Chill house, its holiday vibe, a care free realm very distant from the grey city streets of King's Cross. Luckily, I ventured indoors in time to hear the amazing Laura J Martin. A very talented flute player who has brought Hip Hop to a different level. Soon to follow were 6ix Toys, a 7 piece funk band currently based and gigging out of Liverpool. Its jazzy beats really worked with the crowd, and their interactive performance enusred the whole room were hanging off every beat. Check out what the house has to offer on:

'From Grass Roots To Virtual Worlds', VisitKX @ The Wellcome Collection.

It has been a busy week at CreateKX, with three different events being brought to the creative community of Kings Cross. This seminar looked at communications and the many varied and innovative ways of guaranteeing that your arts organisation/venue stands out in the crowd, particularly when the competition to attract visitors is becoming fiercer then ever. Led by social entrepreneur Jude Habib, founder and Creative Director of Sound Delivery, the very productive morning covered the wide ranging communication techniques available to us today and their essential utility to charities and small organisations. I think it was Jude's interactive approach to the morning's session which ensured we all went away with a practical approach to overcoming a few of our challenges...

1)How do you currently communicate? Websites, - funky venues, E-mail existing customers, Advertising, Press Editorial, Leaflets in public places, Social networking sites, Print Marketing.

2)Challenges? Keeping clients, Growing, Content - combining critical interest with commercial viability, Attracting new customers, Footfall - off the beaten track?
Getting local press on board, Saturation of market, Speed of technology development

3)What are the options available to us? Different types of Social Networking: Bebo = for the younger audience, Facebook, mySpace = Music orientated, LinkedIn = Professional, Podcasts, Twitter, Useful approaches to Twitter; following Twitter/Blog's relevant to your work, responding to groups/ organisations who use Twitter in your local area and region in order to communicate with your target audience.

Friday, 20 March 2009

CreateKX Spring Networking Event

The Only Connect theatre at 32 Cubbitt Street is a hidden gem, and a discovery which all attendees last night seemed to get excited about! CreateKX were delighted to be hosting one of their lively and entertaining networking events within this former Baptist Church. The warm and welcoming theatre was dimly lit and provided great ambiance. (Its intimate and unique feel has really encouraged me to return and watch one of their full stage theatre productions!) Armed with wine and nibbles our Kings cross guests soon got chatting about their various developments and projects within the local creative and cultural realm. It was invigorating to hear new ideas on the loose, avid chattering as well as objective dicussion.

Once sustenance was restored Mark McGuiness brought us all to a hush with his mention of the notorious ENNEGGRAM. He had sent us all the personality test to fill out on invitation so many of us felt that unnerving sense of exposure- will my caring nature be seen as cowardly or ruthless ambition a sign of self absorption?! But it was far more constructive than instructive. Guided by his story based on King Charles I himself we were challenged to bring our inner court 'joker' out from within.

For a social evening Mark provided a great starting point, educating the room on how to observe oneself, and most importantly develop compassion for ourselves and others. What's more it was a fantastic opportunity to come and meet the Only Connect team, and find out more about their work and plans for King’s Cross.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The pleasures of work...

A mid week entry from the CreateKX team today because The School of Life have come up with one of their many new and alternative ideas- bringing us all a little refreshment to our Wednesday afternoons! Turning order on its head The School of Life is reinventing itself as an alternative job centre throughout April. Rather than invite employers to advertise jobs for us to squeeze ourselves into, you are given the opportunity to write an ad for the job of your dreams, and let employers decide if they are able to offer it to you!

Write your personal ad, which advertises to the world the kind of person you are and what you care about- include name, personal qualities, talents, values & ambitions plus contact details and send

a walk through the ages...

What's more, for those of you who take an avid interest in your local urban landscape and its changing face, King's Cross Railway Lands Group is going to be taking a walk through the ages this Saturday 21st March. Departing from The British Library at 2.30pm guided by Linda Clarke, who has a PHD in social and economic history, you will be taken on an informative and intersting amble in and around the old Kings Cross railway lands.To really appreciate present developments and their future prospects it is often useful to get to grips with the past. So why not catch some rays this weekend and take away something new from the fascinating history of your locality.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Radical Roots - Education Workshop

I want to share this great opportunity hosted by the Islington Museum for those aged between 14 - 19 years old.

Islington Museum
243 St John Street,
London, EC1V 4NB

Contact details:

Book now for FREE workshops and courses run by award-winning music college Point Blank. Point Blank is the most innovative music, media and arts training centre in the UK, voted 'Best Music Production and DJ College' for six years running by the readers of DJ Magazine. Islington Museum have teamed up with Point Blank to offer free courses in Radio Production, Music Production or Digital Art.

Your tutors will be highly experienced industry professionals who have worked with major recording artists such as Leona Lewis, Sugababes, Oasis, Natasha Bedingfield and Massive Attack. This is your chance to learn the skills you need to get ahead in the media industry.Come along to a taster session to get an idea of what it’s all about. Courses are free, open to anyone aged between 14 and 19, and will run throughout school holidays in spring 2009. You will receive an accredited award, and – if you’re determined – could be awarded a scholarship to study at Point Blank Music College in Hoxton. What’s more, the work that you create will go on public display for 3 months as part of an exhibition in Islington Museum.

So if you’re aged between 14 and 19, don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to get creative, produce your own work, and be noticed!

Taster Sessions:
Thursday 19th March 4pm – 7pm
Thursday 7th May 4pm -7pm

6 – 9 April 2009 Music Production
14 – 17 April 2009 Radio Production
26 – 29 May 2009 Digital Art

Friday, 6 March 2009

The Art of Lost Words

The Art of Lost Words is an exhibition of design, typography and illustration inspired by forgotten words. The German Gymnasium is hosting the unique exhibition until Monday 9th March, so this coming weekend is a great opportunity to rediscover some of the obscure words which have been hiding within the depths of our language's long history. Through the exploration of language and image 41 artists have brought back to life obsolete words, exploring their mystery and meaning in witty and innovative ways - "There word...which does not have a multiplicity of meanings" Nietzsche.

Here are a few of my favourite words, and their inspired works:

Morsicantproducing the sensation of repeated biting or pricking, Viviane Schwarz has humorously depicted the adjective and ingeniously grasped the element of repetition in a series of four pictures involving both biting and pricking; from a drawing of a Granny knitting in the dark to a larger than life, ‘here is one I made earlier’, coloufully crocheted biting creature.

Innocciduous – adj. a star never setting. Russell Mills work uses paper and acrylic producing a dark and mysterious expanse of emptiness, he has also used coal dust - quite fitting for a star that resists its glowing form.

Embrangle - confuse or entangle. Alan Dye/ NB: Studio designed a visual global message. Through the inspiration of this single word the artist explores Iraq on a map. The very detailed piece suggets Iraq's meaning as a country and as an area of entanglement, within itself and in relation to the rest of the world, and the confusion and entanglement that the rest of the world have brought on the country.

Benthonic is one of more surprising words meaning living on the bottom of the sea. Ellie Curtis displays an amazing ink illustration of sea creatures within a sea creature. Similarly creature inspired, Audrey Niffenegger’s piece inspired from the word Murklins meaning, stumbling through darkness, tells a 'cycle of life' tale of little murklin beings stumbling through unending darkness, they seem as lost as their very host word!

Work (and the words that inspired them) will be on display at the German Gym and available online for purchase from 6 March. Proceeds from sales will go towards the National Literacy Trust.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Pancakealympics, Sunday 22nd February
Islington town Hall, Upper Street

A fun day out for all last Sunday as Islington Town Hall hosted the annual pancake race. The celebration for ten years of farmers markets in London has got off to an energetic start - we all supported our local farmers by making pancakes with locally produced ingedients!

Sadler's Wells: The Home of Dance
Traces - Les 7 Doigts de Main
performed at The Peacock Theatre until 14th March

As I entered the small theatre and was greeted by myself on film, on stage, I knew this was going to be a performance avec un petit quelque chose!

Once everyone was seated an ominous voice, somewhere from above, brought everyone to a hush with 7 Doigts de la Main's very own ironical and humoured in-house rules. Taking on the stage head first, the four men- one woman- troupe introduce themselves primarily through dance and expression. The early dance between a man and woman is beautifully choreographed. The joint movement of the pair across the stage flows so skilfully that the viewer is led to believe that the duo cannot be separated. The personal tone of their performance was immediate. With narration, photographs and film snippets of each individual’s past the audience is invited to be a part of their story.

Traces is about how to survive the unsurvivable literally- from an edge of the seat, heart stopping onlooker - but also metaphorically. In the face of destruction, the team try to create as much as they can, making traces of themselves so that they will continue to exist into infinity. From Chinese acrobatics to ballet dancing, from skate boarding to basketball, the performers explore the concept of memory and dream. A dream of sandy beaches comes true as sand is delicately littered across the stage, the acrobats dance with the basketball so that Les 7 Doigts de la Main can physically leave their traces.

The climax of the show unravelled a body defying spectacle. The audience were really on the edge of the seats, as the troupe reached super human level. The impossible was achieved. Even if infinity cannot be reached gravity can certainly be defied! Set to a fantastic soundtrack ranging from rock 'n'roll to blues to hip hop, this is a thrill-a-minute show takes your breath away.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Mud, mud glorious mud

Volunteering with B T C V @ Bentley Priory
BTCV, 80 York Way, Kings Cross

All London city types need to step out of the capital from time to time. Even, if to simply acknowledge the world that exists outside of the big smoke’s environs. Not so long ago, a friend of mine sheepishly proposed such an opportunity - An outdoorsy, welly-wearing, do –gooding venture. I would now like to share my experience with others, to those of you who are interested in taking practical action to help improve the environment, enjoy getting outdoors or simply like to stay healthy for free!

Despite a late night last Saturday Sunday morning saw us pulling on the wooly jumpers and clearly never-been-worn anoraks, and packing the essential lunch box full of enough provisions to last a week. Surprisingly well kitted out, we headed through North London on the BTCV minibus ( passing en route ‘The Egg’, and its party harder’s, which was still pumping out the beats) accompanied by 15 fellow ‘conservationists’.

Volunteering with BTCV in London gives you the opportunity to both discover some of the 'secret gardens' across London and help transform ugly urban sites into oases of wildlife, for everyone to enjoy. We were lucky enough to be spending our day at Bentley priory, an 87 ha of woodland and meadows with two bodies of water providing a wide range of habitats for all species. It is a beautiful and well managed space and just a stones throw away from London town. The site’s leader welcomed us with an inspiring story of conservation developments in the area. The enthusiasm and love he holds for his work was infectious and really generated a motivational spirit.

Our mornings work consisted of digging a trench to drain rain water away from the footpath. We soon warmed up and felt very virtuous with bare arms in February’s chill, especially as leisurely onlookers passed by buttoned up to the chin! Time quickly went and our well-earned lunch was munched as everyone quietly took in all that nature offers. After re-fuelling we really got stuck in, clearing out a pond in time for Spring. Wading our way through the half pond/ half swamp we removed dead reeds, algae and roughage. This was highly rewarding because all the team got involved and progress was so visible, both in the making of the pond and on our mud coated attire!

As the sun lowered and contented sighs were spent I think we all felt a similar sense of achievement. The ‘hands on’ approach to work really left its mark and the feeling of satisfaction was one that is often hard to come by in the hustle and bustle of city life. The day was reflective of all of BTCVs work, which has an inclusive community focus, inspiring and connecting people with places.

Friday, 13 February 2009

S H / F T By Ellie Reid

Ellie Reid – S H / F T
@ The German Gymnasium, St. Pancras Road

As the final Interact artist, Ellie Reid’s ‘Shift’ exhibition explores the journey of construction and destruction in the 67 acre industrial development site of King’s Cross. Located in the unique grade II listed building, Ellie’s work overlooks the very construction site from which it is inspired.

The centre of the exhibition is consumed by a big air sack, which inflates and gradually deflates into varying and unpredictable shapes. The changing shapes being reflective of the ever-changing material forms produced by the regeneration project; from building - to demolished brick - into rubble – and back again. This continual process of renewal has influenced her artistic activities, which seem to evolve into something unexpected.

‘Shift’ is a display of sculptural works, drawings and film projections. The combination of different art forms is mirrored through her incorporation of unusual urban materials. Ellie’s interest in the nature of material, their abilities and their vulnerabilities is shown by her use of plastic sheeting, debris netting, wood and rubble bags.

By developing the idea of, materials and their abilities, a process of evolution occurs. This feeling of change and movement in her work surrounds you. I really grasped a sense of development and progression. It is inspiring to see such creativity materialise from the huge construction project and it is a positive symbol for Kings Cross’ creative and cultural future.

If you would like to hear Ellie discuss the work generated by her Interact placement please join us on Tuesday 17th February: The artist talk, chaired by Create KX’s Gill Henderson @ the German Gym

Friday, 30 January 2009

threads of sincerity, The Crypt Gallery, St. Pancras Crypt.

Last week, ten students from the Chelsea College of Art put on a responsive and engaging exhibition at The Crypt Gallery underneath St Pancras church. Innovatively using the unique underground space through a range of different media, their work explored the connecting themes of memory, materiality and belief.

On entering the crypt the narrow passages beckon you to explore by way of illuminated imagery. This set a lively and playful tone, immediately inviting the audience to engage with suggestive and alternative perceptions of materiality. The diversity of the work in the exhibition created a feeling of dislocation; from Jenny Evan’s ‘truthful and unseen’ paintings of the human body, to Mike Pollard’s self illuminated, ‘limited life’ creatures

As you walk through the dimly lit passages a wall of ‘unbelievable’ photos almost helped to settle the mind and its process of liberation from our familiar ‘reality’.

Below, Nobuku Kawata, explores the sculptural language of a ‘state of pause’. A suspension of both weight and time, using the physicality of often-found and familiar objects.

Drawn to investigate further, the viewer is led by a path of light to confront a disconcerting image… a reflection of the passages from which they have just escaped?

The exhibition then moved into the dream world of Arisa Nishiyama’s recall of lost memories and images. The lost memories, which Kate Kendall's’s 'The day we met Frederick’ explored through her experiment using different peoples personal perception of a physical reality.

Leaving the atmospheric space of the crypt and greeted by the cold outdoors I was taken back to ‘reality’, one that’s meaning had been provoked, questioned, and left to the imagination.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Happy New Year

2009 is now in full swing and offering an array of new and exciting cultural and creative activities in, and around the Kings X area...

The season of frugality, amplified by the official recognition of recession, has been bravely confronted by Islington Council through their positive and innovative 'Give or Take Day' at the St. Luke's centre, 90 Central Street, EC1V 8AJ. The event, taking place tommorrow, provides the opportunity for people to recycle unwanted Christmas gifts ( 11am - 2pm), whilst offering the added perk of later 'taking away' (shopping!) the given items for free (12 - 3pm).

Camden Town Hall, Saturday 24th January, 12.30 - 3pm: The centre is hosting a Variety Show, welcoming in the Chinese New Year of the Ox with a mixed display of contemporary dance, martial arts and acrobatics.

'Taking Liberties: The Struggle for Britain's Freedoms and Rights', The British Library, ends 1st March: This informative exhibition details the 900 year struggle for rights and freedoms in the British Isles. Displaying central documents from British History, such as the Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights, the exhibition explores the development of individual freedom and its meaning today. The wristband, which you can collect at the start of the exhibition, allows you to thoughtfully interact with the exhibiton, personally joining in with the continual debate around power, freedom and social responsibility.

VISIT KX: Reaching New and Emerging Audiences: Our event in mid January took place at the exciting Kings Place and proved to be an engaging and thought provoking day. With speakers from a wide range of cultural and creative organisations, listeners were given diverse and original approaches to audience development. Liz Puddick, 'Community and Learning Coordinator at the Imperial War Museum' gave a fascinating talk on her recent work engaging local people with museum exhibitions. She discussed the value in an audience's personal interpretation of history, drawing out the universal themes and issues that past documents and historic collections illustrate.
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