Karen Pamplin is  an artist, curator and education consultant. She was an art teacher for many years but she is now promoting art in Folkestone as well as developing her own arts practice.

Karen: I have lived all over the country with a large part of my childhood spent in South Yorkshire. I lived in London for eleven years before moving to Folkestone in 2014 when our son was three. He was a significant influence on our move – we think Folkestone is a great place to raise a child; with fresh air, hills and sea and lots of outdoor things to do. I also saw that Folkestone is a creative place, with lots of potential for me to develop as an artist and curator.



Art? My own artwork is predominantly photographic and I often develop participatory projects encouraging engagement with a wide range of physical and online audiences. I am currently working on a project with Folkestone Museum called Kent Collects photographing private collections and exploring concepts around collecting which included creating a ‘Found in Folkestone’ beach hut museum for the Salt Festival. Kent Collects will culminate in an exhibition at the new Folkestone Museum.


Curating? I currently curate art exhibitions at Brew. I focus on showcasing work by local contemporary artists as we have so many really interesting artists in the Shepway and Dover areas but there is a lack of exhibition space for artists without their own galleries. Brew is an unusual building and is a really interesting space to curate shows in. I like to show work in spaces that are accessible to new art audiences. Brew also serves amazing coffee and food!


Folkestone Art Room? In 2017 I will be launching a new business: ‘Folkestone Art Room’ offers art workshops and tours, giving visitors an opportunity to discover Folkestone’s contemporary art scene and creative spaces. On the tours you will find out more about Folkestone’s amazing public art offer including ‘Folkestone Artworks‘, and get behind the scenes access to artists’ studios. Art workshops will be contemporary and fun, giving you room to explore your own creativity with the help of Folkestone based artists. We don’t have a room, Folkestone is a giant art room!


Folkestone? Folkestone has a strong arts heritage, with many well established art design and crafts practitioners who are involved in various clubs, groups and collectives for both amateurs and professionals.  The Creative Quarter and the wider contemporary art scene is developing at pace, with new artists moving to Folkestone bringing new and interesting ideas.  This diversity within the arts potentially enables anyone from any art background to engage in artistic pursuits in different arts communities in Folkestone (I don’t think there is ‘one’ art community). Theres so much going on and not everyone knows about it. I would like to see more done to enable people to find out who is here, what there is to do and in particular we need more spaces and places for artists to show their work. I hope this will be a reality within ten years and I hope that I will be instrumental, in my own small way, to helping these things happen.

A personality of Folkestone

Bert, who lives near by. We often meet outside his house or in Radnor Park on the school run. He always makes us smile and I miss him on the mornings when he’s not out and about.

Best walk

The walk to school, through Radnor Park: past the fishing pond, the ducks, down through the trees and across the stream. Its especially beautiful in the autumn.

Best bar

We love Lime Bar and the Pullman, though we don’t get to bars/pubs as often as we would like.

Best restaurant[s]

Follies, El Cortador, Conchitas, Meze House, The Pullman and Copper & Spices are all great. Lucianos is worth a visit just for the décor. We love Lemon Leaf for delicious Nepali food.

Best ice cream

Herberts kiosk. Delicious icecream with a kids option that makes treats a must when we are down there!

Best coffee shop[s]

Brew, of course, for coffee and art. Anna’s for cake (sticky toffee apple cake served warm!), The Hatch for a bacon butty and proper mug of tea with a great view and the lovely Steep St – for the backdrop of books and a pot of roiboos!

Best shopping place

The Old High St and Lidl

Best apparel shop

Most of the time I buy clothes in charity shops – embracing preloved and doing my bit to avoid fast fashion. Maison Marine is great too!

Best kids activity

The Coastal Park is fun, and the Warren is wonderful. I am also looking forward to seeing the new Upper Radnor Park playground which is getting an impressive refurb in 2017 (thank you Susie!)

Best artist

There are far too many artists I respect to choose just one!

Best gallery

Brew – of course!

One Comment

  1. What a wonderful and very accurate summary of Folkestone. Karen failed to mention the significant impact she had at a local school where students got the opportunity to display their work in a “real gallery”. All the pupils, families, and carers were able to go and visit the gallery too! Amazing stuff.

    I hope schools use the Art Room tours too, it’s a great opportunity to prompt local pride.

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