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Kinetika’s popular T100 Walking Festival returns to Thurrock, Southend and Kent in July. Ali Pretty, Artistic Director of the internationally renowned, outdoor arts company, leads the walks as a 15-day pilgrimage – Welcome to the Kitchen Table.
Running between 6 – 20 July, T100 2019 – Welcome to the Kitchen Table aims to connect diverse communities along the River Thames, sharing food and recipes as a way of starting conversations, finding what different groups have in common and sharing an understanding of diverse cultures.
The festival began in 2015 as Thurrock 100 (10 walks of 10 miles across 10 days) and has grown into a walking, talking and making festival which now stretches from Kinetika’s home in Purfleet along the Estuary to Canvey, Southend and across the Isle of Sheppy and Hoo Penisula in Kent.
Johnny spoke to Jules Easlea about the festival:
Beginning in Grays at the Grays Beach Riverside Park on 5thJuly with a launch event at 5pm, T100 – Welcome to the Kitchen Table heads off on Saturday 6thJuly from Grays Campus to Purfleet. Over the next 15 days the walks thread their way down the estuary taking in intu Lakeside, Davy Down, Orsett, Chadwell St Mary and East Tilbury in Thurrock borough before crossing into Canvey and Benfleet. On the 13thJuly, the walks reach Southend and head to Southchurch Hall and a shared picnic.
Monday 15th July sees the walks begin in Kent. Crossing the river by boat, the walks lead off again from Sheerness to pass though Minster, Faversham, Sittingbourne, Kemsley, Gillingham and Strood. On Friday 19thJuly, walkers can enjoy a shared meal at the twilight market in Gravesend.
Dedicated volunteer walk leaders have recced each walk to uncover the history, stories and fascinating facts about the landscapes and places each pass through. All the walks are free and open to all. Walk lengths vary as does the terrain covered. Check the T100 website for full details of each walk.
Thurrock, Kinetika’s base since 2014, has long been a centre for the movement of people, with the docks in Tilbury drawing peoples from around the world to work and then to settle. To create connections between these communities, Kinetika has run a series of creative workshops to welcome everyone to the Kitchen Table, working with local participants to gather recipes and drawings to create especially designed hand-printed tablecloths for the walks.
Ali Pretty is undertaking this pilgrimage to see what that concept means in today’s secular world. Each day of the journey will include sharing food, creative writing and drawing activity to encourage an exchange of stories between participants from different backgrounds.
The walks will culminate on 20 July at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal, where the Tilbury Windrush Carnival takes place . Ali is the Artistic Director for the carnival on behalf of the Tilbury-on-The Thames Trust. Drawing on her experience of designing for Notting Hill Carnival in the 1990’s, she is bringing Tilbury’s rich heritage together inviting growing West African and East European communities around the Table with ex-dockers and seafarers to tell the story of this international port town strategically positioned on the banks of the Thames.
Kinetika has established a unique model with T100; engaging people from diverse backgrounds, harnessing a loyal, dedicated volunteer force linking together communities who are inspired to shape a different perspective of the places in which they live and have a voice in creating their own future.
“It has been wonderful working steadily in Thurrock over five years to build up a team of local artists and volunteers who are on a journey with us to reach out to wider communities through the arts and lay the foundation for culture to be a transformative force in the transition that is coming to this part of the Thames Estuary.”
A full programme of walk routes, start times and locations, can be found on the T100 website. More details will be added to the programme as they are confirmed, so keep checking the website for updates: www.thurrock100.com. For more information on Kinetika, please go to www.kinetikaonline.co.uk.
T100 Welcome to the Kitchen Table walks take place between Saturday 6 and Saturday 20 July
- Fri 5 July 5– 7pm Launch event at Grays Beach Riverside Park
- Sat 6 July Shared lunch 12.30 – 2pm TICC Grays Campus. Walk 2pm.Grays to Purfleet via the Graffiti Wall and refreshments at St Clement’s Church
- Sun 7 July 11.30 am Purfleet to High House Production Park, picnic lunch and walk on to Chafford Hundred for early evening refreshments
- Mon 8 July 12.30pm Lunch taster at intu Lakeside, Davy Down and the Mardyke Way to Bulphan
- Tues 9 July 1pm Explore Orsett and walk to Chadwell St Mary for an early evening community BBQ
- Weds 10 July 1.30pm Chadwell St Mary to Coalhouse Fort, ending in East Tilbury for George’s Fish and Chips
- Thurs 11 July 11am East Tilbury to Pitsea with picnic at Thurrock Thameside Nature Park
- Fri 12 July 10.30am Canvey Island ramble with lunch on the sea front.
- Sat 13 July 9.30am Benfleet to Chalkwell with Brunch at Salvation Army Tea Rooms and ice-cream at Belfairs Woodland Centre.
- Sun 14 July 10.00am Chalkwell to Southchurch Hall via the sea-front ending with a shared picnic.
- Mon 15 July 10.00am Sheerness to Minster. 5.30 – 7p.m. Evening walk Leysdown to the Ferry Inn, Isle of Harty.
- Tues 16 July 11.30am Faversham Two Creeks walk. 5pm Faversham town walk ending with a programme at the Hot Tin.
- Weds 17 July 10.30am Sittingbourne Station to Kemsley and return on the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway. (tbc)
- Thurs 18th July 5pm Gillingham to Strood
- Fri 19 July 3.00pm Lower Higham to Gravesend via the Thames and Medway Canal ending 6pm with shared meal in the twilight market.
- Sat 20 July 10am Walk through Tilbury to join the carnival and finale at Tilbury Cruise Terminal
Image: Mike Johnston