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Harbouring Hopes For Ramsgate

Encouraging our Heritage Practitioners of the Future

Although there is a premium for people with the right skills, Thanet has an acute shortage of people suitably qualified to repair the more than 2500 Grade 2 listed buildings in the area let alone Ramsgate’s beautiful Georgian Grade 2* harbour and its buildings which are in need of serious repair. This project will focus on the harbour and it is designed to inspire young people to pursue a career in the heritage industry.

Kent’s selective education is a divisive force in Ramsgate. This project brings together 14 students from the local grammar and 14 from the town’s comprehensive. They will work together recording much-needed repairs to the harbour, interviewing craftspeople who specialise in heritage and exploring pathways into heritage jobs. The project will start this February and include a video record, printed material and culminate in an exhibition in October at the Maritime Museum. Thanet schools, colleges and the wider community will be invited.

The project starts this February 2018 and will culminate in the exhibition in October. Over the course of the project, we want the project participants to learn that a community needs people with different capabilities and strengths if it is to prosper. These will be Year 8 (Key stage 3) pupils and this project should help them make better subject choices for GCSEs. Median workplace earnings in Thanet are way below the national average. We want young people to realise that they don’t have to leave Thanet to earn a decent living; there are good, well-paid jobs to be had in the heritage industry. We are hugely excited to learn that East Kent College is starting courses in heritage skills for the built environment and we see this as a fantastic opportunity to market those courses to the wider community.

maritimemuseum_219The final exhibition will be an immersive experience at the Maritime Museum celebrating the harbour, featuring the students’ photographs and showing the repairs needed and the skills needed to affect those repairs. It will include filmed interviews with skilled heritage practitioners working on sites such as Canterbury Cathedral and at Dover Castle and include ambient sound collected from around the harbour. The brochure to accompany the exhibition will be a record of the project and will also signpost the pathways to training in those heritage skills.

The students will work with professionals including Mark McEvoy whose documentary photography is represented in a number of collections and who teaches at Middlesex University, Jules Bigg of Fresh Produce, a graphic designer whose clients include News International, Eat and Emap, Gemma Dempsey, an experienced presenter and journalist who works in USA and UK, Dan Whitehead of Roar Video who has 15 years experience as a video and website maker, Matt Smyth, sound engineer at Pie Factory Music and Ben Morton who has produced major exhibitions for clients such as Maserati and Puma.

Our heritage partner on the project is the Ramsgate Society but we will also be working alongside the Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone, Historic England and the Ramsgate Heritage and Design Forum as well as Pie Factory Music which is part of Ramsgate’s Youth Centre.

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