Diane Dever and The Decorators, Customs House: Urban Room Folkestone, commissioned by the Creative Foundation for Folkestone Triennial 2017. Image by Thierry Bal.

Diane Dever and The Decorators: Customs House: Urban Room Folkestone

As the first place where passengers arriving from Calais and Boulogne would pass through when setting foot on British soil, the Customs House in the 19th century was a grand building, and the epicentre of activity on the harbour. Occupying that site, Urban Room is an opportunity to re-engage with this history through a programme of discussion and workshops, a space that will hold the past in the present to learn and plan for the future. Traces of these events will be archived in the Urban Room library, a catalogue of knowledge including invited contributions from those involved in the transformation of Folkestone. If you would like to host a conversation, carry out your own enquiry, debate or urban workshop, or make a contribution to the Folkestone Urban Library, email hello@urbanroomfolkestone.net

For full event details and programme updates, visit Folkestone Triennial website and www.urbanroomfolkestone.net. Twitter @urbanroomfstone

All events are free and do not require booking, unless stated.



Thursday 7 September, 6-7.30pm: A Potted History of Folkestone Harbour by Folkestone’s Alan Taylor (1790 and 2004)

Monday 11 September, 7-8.30pm: A talk from Canterbury Archaeological Trust on Folkestone’s beginnings as an urban space


Citizenship, Borders, Identity and Place

A series of Tuesday lunchtime conversations around key questions. All events, 12.30-2pm unless stated

12 September: How important is citizenship? Should borders be open? How important is place to our identity?

21 September, 7-10pm: Gateway Dinner. Bring something for the table and we can talk about our thoughts and hopes for the future. *New Addition

26 September: How is community built? Can community be designed? Is design important for place?

28 September, 7 – 9.30pm: Gateway Dinner, bring something for the table and join Emyrs Plant and guests as they celebrate through spoken word ideas being explored in the Urban Room.

10 October: What does it mean to be living on the edge?

24 October: What next for Urban Room Folkestone?


Become an Architect-Walker: Simon Persighetti (Wrights & Sites)

Sunday 17 September, 3-5.30pm

Part 1. Architect-Walker Talk, 34pm

You are invited into the Architect-Walker Planning Office.

Simon Persighetti shares experiments, discussions and planning activities in the Urban Room. He outlines fragments of the Architect-Walker Manifesto in a space set up with sensing devices, lures and ideas to be used to creatively explore, read and write place into existence.

Part 2. Architect-Walker Walk, 45.30pm

Take the Planning Office out for a walk!

Can we consider our daily activities in the town where we live as a kind of fluid architecture? While walking, how can we give more status and privilege to the spaces between buildings? As we walk and talk together we shape our surroundings. Step by step we become Architect-Walkers. www.mis-guide.com


New Ways of Thinking about the Economy

Friday 22 September, 12.30-2pm: Talk. Madeleine Hodge from the Folkestone (Summer) School of Economics hosts a Skype conversation with Sydney Marrickville School of Economics, with a public presentation on the principles of an artist-led economy by Bek Conroy. *New Addition

Friday 22 September, 6.30-8pm: Talk. The Story of Rare Albion by Christopher Houghton Budd. *New Addition

Saturday 23 September, 2-4pm: Workshop. Finance literacy for artists. *New Addition

Saturday 23 September, 5-7pm: Beyond (NOT) Neo-liberalism: Panel discussion on thinking of the economy as creative practice.

Sunday 24 September, 12-4pm: Workshop ‘The economy is a uterus’. Drop-in and open to the public. *New Addition

Co-Presented by Christopher Houghton Budd (Finance Folkestone), Madeleine Hodge, Rebecca Conroy and the Folkestone Summer School of Economics; Camilla Canocchi, Sadie Edgington, Rachel Gomme, Noemi Gunea, Alice Lavant Michelle Outram, Clare Qualmann. The Folkestone Summer School of Economics was developed in a Live Art Development Agency DIY in August 2017.

Food, Culture and Thyme

26 September – 1 October, various times

A journey through time looking at food sourcing and cultural influences and how that impacts on our local community.

Tuesday 26 September, 11am-1pm (booking essential, hello@urbanroomfolkestone.net)
Workshop with James and Lee from Dr. Legumes, exploring wild and allotment-grown foods.

Thursday 28 September, 11am-12.30pm
Dr. Legumes in conversation with local chefs and food suppliers on food provenance and choice.

Sunday 1 October, 10am-12pm
Dr. Legumes will prepare a light brunch and freshly pressed juices. All produce will be local to Kent.


Folkestone’s Landscape Setting

Tuesday 3 October, 7-8.30pm

A conversation with Nick Johannsen, director of Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on the extraordinary landscape surrounding the urban environment of the town


An Urban Dual at the Customs House

Friday 6 October, 6-7.30pm, time after for socialising

John Letherland and Steven Smith take you on an illustrated ramble through the labyrinth of the town and ask what we can learn from the analysis to help predict the future. Maps included. John Letherland is co-author of the Folkestone Urban Analysis, and Steven Smith is the founder of urban narrative and hosted the Five Folkestone Urban Walks.


Apple Day

Sunday 8 October, 10am-4pm

Bring your apples from the garden and have them pressed into juice. Also showing allotment, foraged and locally grown food and other sustainable projects.


Imagining Folkestone’s Future

Friday 13 October, 6pm and Saturday 14 October, 11am, 2pm, 6pm
Gig lecture, 30 minutes followed by Q&A

Dr. Sophia Labadi, artist Andy Tuohy and composer/performer Anna Braithwaite asked Folkestone residents to make their voices heard on the subject of Folkestone’s future. Artwork inspired by the themes that came up during these workshops and community interviews will be exhibited along with specially composed music and analysis gig lecture.



Language, Location and Me

Thursday 19 – Sunday 22 October

Conceived and curated by Susanna Howard and Living Words

How might our location and environments affect our voice, language and who we are? Explore the boundaries of speech and how language affects our perceptions of ourselves and others by eavesdropping on conversations; watching films; taking part in workshops; and rewriting the UK citizenship test.

Living Write!
With Shazea Quraishi
Thursday 19 October, 11am-12.30pm
A workshops led by Bloodaxe poet Shazea Quraishi, offering a chance for you to get your Folkestone story out. No writing experience or skills needed. Some pieces maybe shared at Sunday’s event.

What Sometimes Happens When We Listen
Friday 20 October, 6-6.45pm
Performance lecture by Susanna Howard.

Punctuate your Life!
Saturday 21 October, 3-4pm
Philip Cowell, author of This Is Me, Full Stop, leads a playful workshop exploring punctuation.

Saturday 21 October, 5.30-6.30pm
A bringing together of material collected across, possibly including a visual mapping dance, a loud hailer and lots of chalk.

Accentuate the Positive
Sunday 22 October, 11am-12.30pm
Coffee and conversation exploring local accents, vocabulary and communication.

Something to Declare
Sunday 22 October, 5-6pm
Performance readings from local and national poets, including local beat boxer Tormented Vocals. The session will explore cultural identity and heritage, and what it means to declare one’s home and nationhood.


Hop Projects – Meet the Artists: Andrew Holmes

Friday 27 October, 6-8pm

Join the Hop Projects’ artist for a look at his practice. Andrew Holmes’ work explores the apparent anonymous mobile infrastructure of cities and Sean Griffiths is interested in the relationships between spatial realities and their representations.


Heterotopias, Thresholds, Yoga and Walking

Saturday 28 October, 4.50-5.30pm

Following a day of yoga, and wandering through land- and seascape, Julia Riddiough & David Kitt host an architectural Q&A relating to thoughts and ideas around space, and about having your say in how public and private spaces are created where you live.

NB: This event is part of a weekend called Places and Spaces, which is part of the Folkestone Fringe ‘edge: push/pull’ programme. Please visit www.folkestonefringe.com for more details.


The Ash Project

Ash Object Lessons
Fri 3 Nov, 5-7pm
In these sessions we look at the social history of ash trees through a collection of objects taken from museums and craftspeople across the UK.
Click here for more info

Landscape Change and a Future for Trees
Fri 3 Nov, 7-9pm
The talk will take in the impacts that this and other tree threats will have on the future of our landscapes and how we might mark and celebrate ash in light of this epidemic before it is too late.
Click here for more info

Lost in Transmission
Sat 4 Nov, 11am-2pm
Ash is currently the third most common tree in the UK, and the most common tree in Kent. But as a result of ash dieback, ninety percent of these trees are expected to die in the near future. In this eco-poetry workshop, we will explore the ash dieback transmission process. Find out more at
Click here for more info

Ash Object Lessons Part 2
Sun 5 Nov, 2-4pm
In these sessions we look at the social history of ash trees through a collection of objects taken from museums and craftspeople across the UK.
Click here for more info

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