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Our Story

Creative Folkestone is a visionary arts charity dedicated to producing and enabling the very best creative activity that has transformed Folkestone and East Kent and continues to do so. Working collectively, we make the town a better place to live, work, play and visit.

We believe that everyone is creative, and that creativity has the power to change people and places for the better. With this passion at its heart, Creative Folkestone enables people’s creativity to flourish, enriching the town and those who live in or visit it.

Established in 2002 with the help of our founding funder The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and formerly known as Creative Foundation, Creative Folkestone has a remarkable record of success and looks after five projects: Folkestone Artworks, Folkestone Book Festival, Creative Quarter, Folkestone Triennial and Quarterhouse. Through all these projects we enable people to get creative.

The Creative Quarter is an urban village of designers, filmmakers, musicians, web developers and artists. We have restored 90 buildings and look after around 80 flats, 115 studios and offices and over 50 shops, making it a hive of activity. Enjoy watching artists paint in their galleries and sign up to classes run by skilled makers. Bars transform into micro-performance spaces and cafés are buzzing with people meeting to make exciting plans. Contributing to the reputation, infrastructure and economy of the town, Folkestone Creative Quarter is a playground for creative and digital businesses.

Quarterhouse is a performing arts venue at Folkestone’s cultural heart. We present a regular programme of theatre, dance, music, film, comedy and family shows, as well as live screenings from National Theatre and Royal Opera House. Working with the people of Folkestone and beyond, we run festivals and workshops, host community events, help artists develop new work and make local initiatives happen. 

Folkestone Artworks, the UK’s largest urban contemporary art exhibition, is free and accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Discover 46 artists’ work in scenic and surprising locations including works from Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley and Yoko Ono. The exhibition offers an experience like nowhere else in the world: great contemporary art that invites people to explore, examine and understand the town’s geography, history and potential future. The Folkestone Artworks Visitor Centre is located in The Clearing on the first floor of the Quarterhouse. Head there for more info about the exhibition and to pick up a map/guide. 

Folkestone Book Festival holds a special place amongst the UK book festivals’ scene. It helps us make sense of the world and reveal possibilities for better futures. Entitled The Shape of Things to Come - Think Future, Think Folkestone, it draws inspiration from the philosophy and spirit of HG Wells, who lived and wrote in Folkestone. Taking place in November, the festival is an annual invitation to gather, tell stories, exchange ideas and keep warm together. The next Book Festival will take place from 15 – 24 November and the programme will be put together by our new curators Liam Browne and Sean Doran.

Folkestone Triennial is the largest exhibition of newly commissioned work presented in the UK.  Artists are invited to use the town as their gallery, utilising public spaces to create striking new art that reflects issues affecting both the town and the wider world. Inaugurated in 2008, four Triennials have taken place attracting more than 440,000 visitors.  Artists commissioned include Cornelia Parker, Christian Boltanski, Jeremy Deller, Martin Creed, Mark Wallinger, Cristina Iglesias, Richard Wilson, Andy Goldsworthy and AK Dolven. The next Triennial will take place in the autumn of 2020.

Creative Folkestone wants people of all ages and backgrounds to get creative. We encourage this through our exciting free, family, artist-led workshops at our dedicated learning space, Block 67; our children’s NEON after school and summer school clubs and our young people’s work experience programme. We work closely with schools, universities and colleges, giving students the opportunity to learn from artists, theatre-makers and get involved with exciting projects, such as Power of Diversity and Pages of the Sea. Not to mention our adult learning opportunities and activities taking place throughout the year. Go to the Get Creative section of the website for more info on our engagement programme.

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