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Paper boats with young people’s favourite places in Dover!

Date Created: 5th Oct 2023

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This September, our Creative Producer for Dover, Louise Webb, ran a stall at The Urban Fete event in Dover as a part of our Young Cultural Changemaker programme. The goal of the event was to create an exciting space for young people to express their thoughts about Dover. Artist Daniel Toladay was invited to lead a fun workshop where young participants learned to make folded paper boats and were encouraged to write or draw their favourite places in Dover. This activity proved successful in engaging with young people as they began to write and draw their answers whilst having conversations about the places that are special to them. Then, over the map of Dover, these young participants placed the sticky notes around their favourite places. Later these boats were floated in the River Dour and were also caught in net! 

The event was designed for the young voices to be heard where young people discussed their favourite spots around Dover and what made those places special for them. It was fascinating to see that majority of young people preferred peaceful places that allowed them to relax and unwind. Some young people expressed their love for Dover’s beaches, like Shakespeare Beach, which was only accessible during specific tide times. For them, these spaces were essential for finding calm and serenity, especially when they were stressed because of exams and homework. Others mentioned the local Costa Coffee shop as a go-to spot to meet friends and de-stress while studying. Also, the library was on their list of favourites because of its quiet ambiance.  

The local shopping centre was a popular choice with the younger ages. They enjoyed the shops, mostly the toy shops. Dover Castle also proved popular with these age groups although some when asked how many times they go there, they said they could only go once due to it being expensive. Old military forts in the area were also mentioned such as Fort Burgoyne where we participated in the Fun Day with White Cliffs Countryside Partnership who managed the space. Most of the spaces mentioned were outside spaces, various parks were also popular usually these were the parks nearest to the young people involved however Kearsney Abbey seemed the most popular and the one that young people would travel to.   

Through this event, we learned that this group of young people preferred places where they can relax and almost rejuvenate in a way which highlights that they value peaceful environment. This event was organised with the focus of Artswork’s mission and values of empowering young people through creative expression, providing a platform for young voices to be heard which will lead to exciting creative projects in the future. The thoughts and opinions of these young individuals will be transformed into creative commissions. Youth-led change is valued by Artswork as we believe that young people can drive positive change in their communities. 

The Urban Fete event in Dover was an engaging workshop that allowed young people to share their thoughts on their town. It was an insightful event showcasing the importance of peaceful spaces in young people’s lives. Artswork is committed to empowering youth voices, and we look forward to the exciting projects that will emerge from their ideas.   

This program is supported using funding from Arts Council England. 

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