Fun Palaces in October: Exciting Community Engagement Projects

Over the weekend of Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th October, staff and students from the School of Music and Fine Art are collaborating on two exciting community engagement projects with Kent Fun Palaces.

The 3rd and 4th October, from 10.30am to 3.30pm, sees a project with Gravesend Fun Palace and on Sunday 4th October 9.00am to 4.00pm, a collaboration with Whitstable Fun Palace

SMFA initiated an interdisciplinary Student Success EDI project in collaboration with Gravesend community group, the Fun Palace. Led by Dave Thomas, Student Success (EDI) Project Officer, students from BAs in Fine Art, Music and Event & Experience Design will have the opportunity to work with a broad range of participants, children, teens and adults on a Community Engagement event. This will incorporate Peer Mentoring, peer/vertical learning, and interdisciplinary working and will be run by students along with artists and volunteers from the local community.

Says Dave, “I am excited by the prospects of our students collaborating with volunteers, professionals and people from the local community to use the arts as a therapeutic agent to promote community engagement. I feel this event can be a change catalyst which may provide our students with knowledge of the dynamic use of their repertoire of skills to promote health and wellbeing”

The event will be run over two days. Day 1 will be run at the Gravesend library, with Day 2 to be held at the St Andrew’s Arts Centre, with two workshops which are themed “Environmental Art”. The concept is the brainchild of Emma Griffiths and Ayda Majid Ardekani, two final year BA (Hons) Fine Art students who have established an Environmental Art group. This explores the use of recycled products to create art. The workshop activities will be run by students under the supervision of staff.

The event in Whitstable comprises a building/structure that can be developed during workshops.

Says Peter Hatton, Director of the BA Hons Event & Experience Design, We have discussed using trikes and making two travelling structures – which may be towers of memories, built onto the trikes, with sounds (sound words and actual recordings) that can be cycled from the Seawall to the Umbrella Centre, where most of the activities are taking place. We are delighted to be invited to be part of the Fun Palaces and participation in this event will serve to build a collaborative relationship with the School of Architecture and the local community”

The workshop activities will be run by students under the supervision of staff and there are plans for a web link/live video feed from the Seawall to the Umbrella Centre.


About the Fun Palaces

In the early 1960s, Joan Littlewood and architect Cedric Price conceived the Fun Palace as a ‘laboratory of fun’ and ‘a university of the streets’. It was to be a temporary and movable home to the arts and sciences, open and welcoming to all. For various reasons, wasn’t possible in 1961 and the Fun Palace never came to fruition as a building. The idea however, of a space welcoming and open to all, bringing arts and sciences together, where everyone is an artist and everyone a scientist, remained.


This is the link to the Gravesend Fun Palace site, which has tabs for further information about the Fun Palace concept.

This is the link to the Whitstable site, which has tabs for further information about the Fun Palace concept.