Thursday, September 21, 2023

Kinetika work with Tilbury on the Thames Trust to create flags for the Tilbury carnival

KINETIKA, the Purfleet-based internationally renowned arts organisation, is working in partnership with the Tilbury on the Thames Trust to create special silk flags for the Tilbury Carnival which is set to be revived this summer.  This has been made possible by the generous support of Arts Council England, the Windrush Day Fund, Port of Tilbury and Thurrock Council. 

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Kinetika’s Artistic Director Ali Pretty and artist Jacqui Todd have been running flag design and painting workshops to create 30 silk flags for the carnival.  Each flag reflects Tilbury’s rich history and international connections, such as the arrival of the Empire Windrush. One Community Development Trust in Tilbury hosted the design sessions, giving opportunities to people from many diverse backgrounds to help create something lasting for the town. More than 100 people from different groups including The Sea Farers Mission, The Thurrock Sea Cadets and Tilbury Riverside Project took part in designing the flags. The Gateway Academy and The Sunshine Centre also helped and together the groups drew images of dockers, cruise ships, cranes and wind turbines. Members of Our Lady Star of the Sea RC Church, Elite Twirlers, BB’s Dance Academy, Tilbury Twirlstars and Majko School of Irish Dance, all contributed ideas and thoughts to bring more of Tilbury’s rich history into the flags including Lord Kitchener, Steel Pan drums; dancers, twirlers, and the Tilbury Band, local churches, cafes and shops. Local textile group Kite Spirit helped to make Empire Windrush flags, and Tilbury Needlework designed their own flag.

 The Kinetika studio in Purfleet at the High House Production Park hosted the flag painting sessions. The flags will be unveiled at the Tilbury Carnival on Saturday 20 July at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal and will then decorate the Cruise Terminal as part of wider improvement schemes being planned by the Tilbury on the Thames Trust 
Stuart Wallace, Chief Operating Officer at Port of Tilbury and Chair of Tilbury on the Thames Trust said “We cannot wait to see the stories that emerge graphically on the 30 flags.  Tilbury has always been a gateway to the world, hosting countless stories of people coming and going in search of better lives. Representing these stories through community art work will be something special, something that both the Port of Tilbury and Tilbury on the Thames Trust are keen to develop in future years”
Inspired by the Empire Windrush’s landing at Tilbury Cruise Terminal in June 1948, Tilbury Carnival will be the biggest outdoor event in Thurrock this summer. Local dancers led by renowned choreographer Jeanefer Jean-Charles will perform in the carnival procession and the Tilbury Docker puppet, made by Kinetika and who arrived at the Cruise Terminal last summer, will be joined by some friends. The carnival will be launched officially on 16th May so look out for full details then. The carnival is free and open to all.

Ali Pretty said “It’s really exciting to be a part of the revival of Tilbury Carnival, I spent many years working in Trinidad and designing for the Notting Hill Carnival and I’m delighted that we are able to bring in a Caribbean vibe linking back to the early arrival of Calypso music in the UK, right here in Tilbury.”

To find out more about the Tilbury Carnival, please go to, and for more on future Kinetika projects, please go to


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