FROM Marseille, Bern, Kolkata and Valparaiso to Grays, East Tilbury, Tilbury and Purfleet-on-Thames, hundreds of people have been actively engaged in this year’s festival that is home grown in Thurrock.
Now in its 6th year, T100 goes from strength to strength. In 2020 the theme was T100 calling, a call to action to rise to local challenges through the collective process of designing and making beautiful mandalas.
Despite the challenge of constantly changing restrictive COVID measures, they have done little to stifle the amazing efforts by internationally renowned arts organisation, Kinetika who laid on the 12-day festival, deemed a “phenomenal success” by local participants.
The festival invited people everywhere to get involved designing environmentally-themed mandalas. Thousands of site viewers flocked to the festival website over the course of their mandala making to get involved with T100 Calling’s message and over 280 mandala activity packs were downloaded, sparking interest and online activity across Europe, and as far afield as India, with the people of Thurrock going above and beyond to make it a success.
Many people participated in sharing their mandalas made at home via the project’s hashtag #T100Calling and in the T100 Walking Arts Facebook group.
Kinetika was able to deliver 7 large-scale themed mandalas, across Thurrock, working with teams of local artists and community groups in carefully curated bubbles of 6. (For details of themes see below.)
The awareness raised locally has been incredible. The Spring Clean mandala in Grays on September 19 saw CVS volunteers and Thurrock Young Carers make mandalas from plastic collected from the Thames over the space of a year by volunteers at Thames 21; filling more than 1,824 sacks of rubbish altogether.
Steve Catchpole, leader of the local litter picking team said “In terms of the plastics collected between Rainham and Tilbury foreshores, we have found Smartie lids which indicates some of it must have been in the river for up to 45 years.”
Katie Beadle, T100 Project Manager said: “The way the community creatively worked together to achieve the festival aims amidst changing restrictions is a demonstration of Thurrock’s resilience. A true celebration of success in spite of trying times, with an incredible response online.”
Ali Pretty, Kinetika’s Artistic Director said “T100 aims to inspire the next generation of artists and young people to respond creatively to the challenges ahead, using arts as a means to seek solutions and bring people together.”
This year T100 has worked in close collaboration with local partners, such as Thurrock CVS, to encourage wider participation and build a strong foundation for the festival’s long-term future.
Kinetika also worked alongside Rural Arisings to create last Saturday’s Renewal mandala in Little Belhus Country Park, designed by John Little of GrassRoof Co, to make a permanent insect habitat for families and residents to enjoy for years to come.
Ali urges more volunteers to come on board. “T100 has sewn many seeds for the future, our next step is to bring our mandala teams together over the winter to imagine the next steps we can take locally to make a real difference in our communities. Keep in touch on social media, get involved and join our team for T100 2021.”