The Forgotten Language of Drawing (TEDx)

You can now see the video of project lead Jim Lockey speaking at TEDx Folkestone about the MCF project and about drawing. This was an amazing experience which lead to some brilliant feedback from you people and adults to boot. Lots of people have since shared their stories with me and some have even sent their drawings. This talk is another expression of the ideas at the core of the MCF; anyone can art!

(The featured image accompanying this post is a sketch by artist Jessica voorsanger)

Update June 2017

It has been wonderful to have been so busy with mobile comics factory events and plans that I haven’t had much time to document things here on the blog… it’s great to be that busy, but I regret that there isn’t more here to show you. That there isn’t much evidence of all the brilliant things we’ve been doing. 

But that is set to change. Over the next week or so I’ll be posting a rash of updates to show off the amazing work of young people and keep you updated about future plans.

Follow @mcomicsfactory on twitter Or @mobilecomicsfactory on Facebook keep abreast of these updates.

Also, follow our project leads instagram account if you like seeing pics. Lots of MCF updates end up there first. @jimlockeycomics

TEDx Insanity

Last Saturday I had the immense privilege to speak about The Mobile Comics Factory – and about how brilliant drawing is to an attentive audience at TEDx Folkestone.

This has been an amazing experience and a tremendous vote of confidence in the project… in a couple of weeks the video should be available online through the TEDx YouTube and beamed across the world to a global audience. The potential there is barely fathomable… though of course, it might just drift into obscurity. 

I haven’t talked about this experience on the blog because I haven’t really known how. It was so big I didn’t really know how to fathom it. And it’s all wrapped up not just in my goals for the project but in my personal life goals.
However once the video is finally available I will tell you more about it… I promise.
I want to thank all our supporters who have helped to make things like this possible for the project.
Best

Jim

MCF on the Radio

A few weeks back I guested on The Big Ideas Show with Liu Batchelor on Academy FM.

I talked about the project and together we discussed the role of experimentation in creative endeavor.

You can listen back below. The general message was no new things can happen if you don’t leave your comfort zone, and let others inspire you – but don’t let comparing yourself to others stop you from doing your thing… but less wishy washy than that!

There is also an embarrassing reference to 80s new wave for you to enjoy – really down with the kids!

A day in the Life, July 2016

Well, hello reader!

What an exciting time to be putting together this project, I hope you’re enjoying being a part of it and hearing about it as much as I am enjoying the experience of putting it together.

Last night RE:mix had a screening of their recently made animations and videos, it was a fantastic event attended by friends, family, and the public.

As well as work created at RE:mix we also screened a video by George Berry who has started his own YouTube channel at home. It is great to support young talent!


This morning I met with a representative of the Roger De Haan Charitsble Trust, and discussed the comics factory project. RHDCT have supported the Re:mix project for a long time and it was great to be able to share some stories and talk about where the project is headed. I don’t know what the outcome of that meeting be yet, with regard to future funding. But just like with Folkestone Soup, I love how working on this project allows me to meet and speak with so many different people and groups all passionate about our area.

Later in the afternoon I had a quick meeting with Tom McNeice of Folkestone Rotary Club. He gave us a cheque toward the project and we had one of those embarrassing photo opportunities…


This photo not only reminds me of how much work we need to do on the trike… But also that it would probably do me good to get a bit thinner before riding this beast around town every week. Add that to the daily tasks!

And that is the nature of this kind of work, sometimes you’re meeting interesting people with the opportunity to help you, sometimes you are standing on that back up to interact with kids and actually deliver the project, other times there is prep work to be done. A never ending list of small tasks.

Just yesterday I was making prototypes for the upcoming build and tomorrow I will be running a comics workshop at integrate, a youthgroup for migrant and refugee teens. But right now I’m working on an idea to create a dry canopy for the mobile comics factory so that we can be out in all weathers. Every day is different and but every day is an adventure.

Thanks for your support and don’t forget to share this story to be a part of what we’re doing.

Best

Jim

The Phoenix Rises

How We Got Here

There is lots of information about the project on this blog, but what were the things that lead to its development? Well here I lay it all out, at a significant point in our history.

As I write to you reader we are a couple of days away from a decision that will significantly shape the future of The Mobile Comics Factory, we have made a large application to a particular body and will be receiving a decision on whether we receive the funding soon.

This funding will not decide if the project happens but it will massively affect the projects scale, effectiveness, and opportunity. If we receive the funding I will be able to devote my working hours to the project, seeking new collaborators, developing the program, finding ways to extend the project, working with other agencies and guaranteeing that the factory will be out in Folkestone at least once a week for the next year!

If we don’t receive the funding, then we will be reliant on whatever time I can volunteer and the project will be much smaller in scope and scale.

So it really is a nail biting time here. However I am confident in the project, I have been encouraged by the positive response and I believe this project represents an amazing opportunity for Folkestone. This anxious moment causes me to reflect on how we got to this point and reminds me that nothing worth while happens without risk.

Some of you may not know that I have been running creative workshops in Folkestone for five years under the name RE:mix. The project is managed by Harbour Church, as part of their commitment to community outreach and social action. Over the years it has been supported finincially by generous donations from The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, Folkestone Rotary Club, Up On The Downs, and Shepway District Council.

We have run termly workshops in all kinds of areas of creative media, including making comics, animation and film-making. Here are some examples of previous work from RE:mix.

As you can see the young people at RE:mix have made amazing work over the years, and you’ll be pleased to hear there is some stuff still to be released from this year’s projects.

We started RE:mix in Harbour Church’s building in Harvey Street (no longer owned by the church). At that time we had up to 30 young people each week from a range of communities, particularly those with greatest need. It was a vibrant time. In our middle period we ran from another location in Wear Bay Road. We had some of our best outcomes in this period, we were able to build a studio and we created an internet video series that was picked up by the local paper a few times. During this time had an average attendance of 15 to 2o, with most of that drop off in engagement came from migrants and the lowest income families. Despite the successes of the project I worked hard to keep attendance up by running more socially socially orientated workshops – like a drop in club – but found that the small change in location presented a real obstacle for attendance for those with the greatest need.

This past year we have been running our workshops from Sunflower House, Foord Road and have found the same issue intensified. Sunflower House is fantastic, but it is a difficult location from which to run youth work.

I am not content to let a situation persist in which we are not reaching every young person who wants access to our projects. The first hand experience I have had seeing the power these workshops have for good, and recognising the geographical tether that most teens experience are the factors which lead to developing the Mobile Comics Factory. No longer will we be limited by our location, and we will be able to bring our workshops direct to where young people congregate.

How To Make Your First 50 Likes Count

Hi Jim here,

project lead for the Mobile Comics Factory.

I spent a lot of time sequestered away at my desk working on funding applications and plans to begin to make the mobile comics factory happen. But with a project like this (something that is for the community, within the community and supported by the community) I knew that I could not make it happen alone.

The community needed to know about it, I needed to share the passion I have.

I hoped to get people excited about making work for the library, I hoped to gain the insight of other youth workers around town and learn about the young people they work with. I needed community leaders and potential funders to know about the project, and I needed to gauge the local appetite for an idea like this.

So I went to Facebook and made a simple page. But rather than invite my entire friend-list as I might normally do for an event or personal project, I did something very different.

Anyone can get lots of likes to a Facebook page by spamming people and leaning on the goodwill of friends, but I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want people to thoughtlessly click the like button and I wanted to ensure that people who would be most interested in the project didn’t dismiss it as spam.

So once the page was finished I selected four or five friends and sent them a specific  and personal message asking them to take a look at the new page. I asked them to take it in and if they felt that the project was something they supported, then to share it with their friends including a personal recommendation.

I explained to them that what I had realised from my own experience was that I give far more weight to the opinion of people I trust than I do to paid advertisements or people sharing pages at random. I selected four people whose opinion I listen to, and who have a stake in the community. Each was either a youth worker or an artist. I also picked a friend who I knew would have my back, someone who really knows how to encourage and who oozes enthusiasm.

I didn’t even share a link to the page on my own Facebook feed at first. I relied on this message sent to less than half a dozen people. Within 48 hours the page had fifty likes and I was interacting with people I’d never met who were excited about the project and had things to offer and insight to give.

Had I sent an invite to everybody I know, I may well have still received fifty likes on the page but I would have known all those people already, and many would not have had contributions to make beyond moral support.

I hope that helps you if you’re trying to drum up interest in your own endeavours. And may I put out my cap and remind you that you can support us by being vocal about your interest in this project on social media.

Its value is priceless. Not least because of the encouragement it gives me to keep driving forward and make the project the best it can be.

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