printing blocks

Medway Print Festival is now in its third year! Created by Allison Young and Matt Bray to celebrate printmaking and fine art in Medway! Running for two weeks across multiple sites, the festival includes over 40 events and activities to showcase some of the best printmaking being created today as well as highlighting the fascinating local history of the medium. We are delighted to include activities in 12 venues, welcoming back participants from last year as well as some new organisations for our third Festival.





8-24 June 2018

Further Information

For all individual event enquiries and bookings and for details of facilities and access, please contact the host venue directly on the number/email provided by them. Event information has been provided in good faith and organisations have not paid to participate in MPF18 . All activities are subject to change or cancellation by the host organisation. Some courses require a minimum number of pre-booked participants for them to go ahead. MPF take no responsibility for changes to the published programme or their activities and apologise for any alterations that may occur.

We kindly suggest you check ahead with a host venue to avoid disappointment.



Introducing the team:

From left to right: Allison, James & Matt

Project Lead 
Allison Young is a Medway- based consultant with over 30 years experience of producing creative and educational projects and cultural events. Allison currently curates Rochester Art Gallery as well as working across the heritage and education sector.

Curator Matt Bray is a practising artist, freelance curator and arts consultant with a BA and MA in Fine Art from the University of Kent. He has curated exhibitions for some of the areas leading artists and co-founded the Medway Print Festival and Sick! www.mattbrayarts.com
Designer James Tremain Is a freelance graphic designer & sessional tutor, with a BA in visual communications from the University of Creative Arts. As lead designer on MPF he is in charge of the branding and promotional print collateral. James continues to network and build up his design practice, implementing his creative flair in the Medway Towns. www.14dot11.com


The 2018 festival

The sites involved in the festival represent some of the key art institutions in the Medway area, and our hope is as the festival grows, more organisations and individuals can become a part of this exciting annual event. This year’s participating venues are:

  • Chatham Library Community Hub
  • Fort Amherst
  • The Hazelnut Press
  • Huguenot Museum
  • The Historic Dockyard, Chatham
  • Medway Adult Education Centre
  • Nucleus Arts Centre & Halpern Gallery
  • The Old Brook Pumping Station
  • Rochester Art Gallery
  • Sun Pier House
  • Upnor Castle

Medway Print Festival in context
by Kevin Younger

Printing is one of the more technical of the visual arts and one that has found a spiritual home in the creative post-industrial landscape of the Medway Towns. Supplied with a rich tradition of commercial printing dating back at least to the early 1800s and James Sweet’s press in Strood, it is unsurprising that an artistic tradition of etching and printmaking has grown up alongside it. 

The River Medway has long been a draw for artists, with famous Victorian maritime etcher William Lionel Wyllie and late-twentieth century Rochester painter-engraver Michael Blaker capturing the riverscape’s soot and mist in their evocative etchings. And Eric Ravilious applied his sensitive, naive style of lithogaphy to depicting the bleak functionalism of Chatham Dockyard during WWII, although he found little romance in those grim times on the river. 

The dockyard’s dying days saw another young artist seeking to make a strong mark with print. The ruthlessly angular ’80s woodcuts of Billy Childish were an unmistakable statement against the slick finishes and conceptual work of the time. This woodcut style was mirrored in the stark brushwork of his early oil paintings, but more recent developments have seen a more ethereal yet powerful visual language in paint and print, as evidenced by this new exhibition. 

Printmaking continues to flourish in the towns with a broad community of artists, from the accessible creative hubs of INTRA and Nucleus, to the thriving studios of individual art printers, to the next generation of art students. The Medway Print Festival offers a chance to see what work is being done here and perhaps inspiration to get involved yourself.