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The Experiment


It’s sometimes difficult to find time in our everyday lives to observe and explore our immediate surroundings; to take in the neighbourhood and reflect on constant changes taking place around us. We feel that the key in developing Medway and Swale as creative places, and involving its residents as active participants in the arts, is to provide an opportunity for people of all backgrounds, ages, abilities and interests to do just that – to lookout, reflect on their observations, work on their ideas and create new approaches to help develop an environment where creativity thrives.

The Lookout aboard LV21 is much more than just a ship’s wheelhouse: it’s an observatory, a retreat for reflection, a laboratory for testing new ideas and experimentation, a meeting place for collaboration and networking, a workshop for sharing skills and developing innovative ideas… The Lookout is equipped with useful ‘tools’; visual curios and inspirational items fill the ‘Cabin of Curiosities’; a variety of materials are available for use and a small library with a selection of resources, books and publications provides further fuel for thought.

We want local residents, together with arts and non-arts organisations, professional and amateur arts enthusiasts across art forms to occupy and take command of this unique bridge space!

We’re on the lookout to discover people’s most remarkable creative ideas and dreams for improving arts provision and access to arts within their surroundings, with a focus on the area around Gillingham in Kent. Through a series of ongoing workshops, get togethers, discussions and collaborations, both aboard LV21 and ashore, we’re hoping to gather a bumper catch of unique proposals. We will offer support to nurture these ideas and some local residents will get an opportunity to check into the Lookout for up to seven days to work on their proposals together with selected artists in residence to develop and realise their vision. A minimum of three mini-residencies are taking place during September 2013 – February 2014, each spread across two months.

The simple instruction to our onboard residents is to use the opportunity to take time to imagine and produce something new that will have an impact locally and can be shared with others at the end of the residency – a new piece of artwork, a performance or an idea to take forward…

Art is at the heart of the Lookout activity – artists across artforms collaborating and working together with the local community. Through the project we want to ensure that local people will be empowered to deliver their own arts activities, providing opportunities to work with artists and get inspired by artistic programming, producing and curating.

A ‘Round Ship Radio’ operating from the Radio Room aboard LV21, in collaboration with local community radio stations, will provide a further reaching outlet for the participants to showcase their involvement and ideas via the airwaves.


To share learning and inspire people to develop their own project ideas beyond LV21, a small network of temporary onshore Lookout Posts will be set up across the area. We want to help local residents to take the lead and set up their own ‘observatories’ in places where people meet – libraries, cafes and pubs, community centres, sport halls, parks and buses…

All hands on deck

As part of the integral learning, skilling up and skills sharing element of the Lookout experiment we will also investigate the viability of setting up a ‘Time Bank’ with a view to build a local economy structure fuelled by skills and resources exchange, co-production and stronger community connections.

If you would like to submit a proposal or get involved please contact us.

A complementary programme of Lookout workshops, taster and skills sharing days, and networking events accompany the project. Find out more about our current events please visit our events page.




Lookout is one of four ‘Out of the Ordinary’ projects supported by Ideas Test, an Arts Council England funded Creative People and Places programme www.creativepeopleplace.info.

© 2014 Lookout 21 a project by LV21 | design and hosting ✭ Spaghetti Weston
Lookout is part-funded by Ideas Test, an Arts Council England funded Creative People and Places Programme