printing blocks

Medway Print Festival is now in its fourth 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 a wide variety of 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 some regular participants as well as some new organisations for this year. We hope you enjoy everything we have to offer!


If you would like to participate or submit an event, please contact arts@medway.gov.uk


7-23 June 2019

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 MPF19 . 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.

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

Curator Matt Bray is a practising artist, freelance curator and artists mentor 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

The 2019 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:

  • Rochester Art Gallery
  • Huguenot Museum
  • Medway Adult Education
  • Fort Amherst
  • The Hazelnut Press
  • The Guildhall Museum
  • The Old Brook Pumping Station
  • UCA Rochester Campus
  • Upnor Castle
  • Nucleus Arts Centre & Halpern Gallery
  • Nucleus Creative Riverside Hub
  • Cafe Nucleus, Rochester
  • Chatham Library Community Hub
  • Eastgate House
  • Artycat @ Francis Iles


And… Calling all Printmakers for MPF 2020!

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ death in June 1870, Rochester Art Gallery is hosting a special print exhibition for MPF20 and Dickens 150. Printmakers will be invited through an open call competition to create a new cover or illustrations for ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’, his dark unfinished novel set in a fictional Rochester. The selected prints will be exhibited alongside Victorian treasures from the Guildhall Museum.

More information will be available soon and a special category for young printmakers will also be on offer. A free briefing session with Medway Heritage Service’s Museum Education Officer and Dickens expert, Dr Jeremy Clarke, providing background on the novel and its locations, as well as details of how printmakers can take part, will happen on Thursday 11 July at 3.30pm at Eastgate House To find out more email arts@medway.gov.uk or visit www.enjoymedway. co.uk or the Rochester Art Gallery and Craft Case facebook page.




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.