‘Imagine Sheppey’ art project in Kent

A series of art workshops on the Isle of Sheppey is providing an opportunity for young people to present their own vision of their lives – past, present and future.


University sociologists team up with art group to provide art workshops for young people on Sheppey. The workshops, at various locations on Sheppey, will enable the young people to imagine their futures by making use of a variety of simple art techniques. The workshops are part of an ongoing research project, titled Imagine Sheppey  that has already seen many of the Isle’s young people describe their hopes and ambitions for the future in a collection of essays.

A team from Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research is working with art collective ‘Tea’  and Sheppey’s Blue Town Heritage Centre  during May to stage the workshops, which are taking place in locations representing residential, leisure, work and public space. The young people taking part are working with the artists to imagine their futures and use the art techniques to transform the well-known places into something new. The results will be photographed and videoed to form a new vision of Sheppey and its future.

Head of the Creative Events programme at the School of Music and Fine Art, Peter Hatton, also a member of ‘Tea’, said:
‘This project will provide an opportunity for the young people of Sheppey to use multimedia methodologies to present a new vision of their community and future lives.

The identity of any place is very much the result of the interweaving of people’s lives with their physical environment, and Imagine Sheppey will provide a fascinating documentary insight into the way young people think about their lives.’

The Imagine Sheppey project is part of a five-year research programme titled Connected Communities, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This national project, running from 2013 to 2017, brings together a range of different research projects involving universities and their communities.

Dr Dawn Lyon, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University, said: ‘Imagine Sheppey is a research project about how young people – 16 and 17 years old and on the brink of their adult lives – imagine their futures.‘We want to explore young people’s ideas about the future, working with them in selected places, and also perhaps provide them with the opportunity and scope to think differently about things they may have taken for granted.’