Philippa and Luke run Threads. A DIY Gallery, a Gallery without a building. Following other DIY initiatives across the country they believe that sometimes it is better to get on and just “Do it Yourself”. They felt, as Art Graduates (Graduating in 2013) they were being led to believe London = Success and obtaining work and exhibitions in London was more credible than else where in the country. They were led to believe this due to the sheer volume of exhibitions and events and Art jobs that were London centric.
Philippa: After leaving University and not being able to financially sustain an unpaid internship in London I began working within various unpaid art positions and minimum wage jobs with no connection to Art. Eventually, I left the position I was in with just enough savings to start Threads in 2015. I attended all the free business workshops I could and established Threads as a social enterprise. I knew there needed to be more visible opportunities for Artists to exhibit and develop their practices.
I approached Water Lane Coffeehouse in Canterbury with my idea for Threads and the idea to run open call video Art screenings after hours. The idea was warmly welcomed and encouraged by the head Barista, Luke Reene.
Then Luke started to help me out with three others and within our first year we ran two video Art screenings and held our first open call exhibition here in Folkestone. We created the whole event with only the money we had from various temp jobs and our largest expense was renting a van. With applications from across the world we selected 6 Artists and used the events to launch our first crowdfunder. During the exhibition we were supported and hosted Mit Milch, who were a pop up coffee company and Noise Dolls Records, a DIY record label.
Crit? We then started a series of Work in Progress Critiques in Canterbury which took us into 2016. Early 2016 we hosted a Live, Interactive Performance Art event at Steep Street Coffee House. Which was followed shortly by a Moving Image Festival in Margate that formed part of POW Festival. In May 2016 we travelled to Romania with Social Enterprise Kent, alongside organisations from Spain, France and Sweden to do relevant training and receive the European Certificate in Community Enterprise. After we returned we continued our Critiques here in Folkestone, with the help of Performance Space who have been kind enough to let us use their space. During these Critiques Artists bring along work-in-progress and discuss ideas and points surrounding their practice. As a result the Artists are receiving valuable, focused feedback.
SMIIF 2016 ? In 2016, we were awarded our first Grants for the Arts from Arts Council England to support our second open Call Exhibition “S.M.I.I.F 2016” (Sculpture, Moving Image, Installation, Folkestone). We were able to pay 22 people from this Exhibition, including all the Artists. During the same month we started our project with Canterbury Christchurch University which has resulted in a community project using the model of the critiques and allowed us to teach skills in Professional Practice. This project resulted in an Exhibition called Meanwhile…an Interim Exhibition curated by the students with our help at Strange Cargo.