FF was started by Niamh Sullivan, Laura Mansfield, Matt Rowe, Denice Dever, Rowan Whybrew, Gerry Kelly and Diane Dever in 2007 in response to the inaugural Folkestone Triennial in 2008. The intention was to take advantage of an international focus on the fourteen-week exhibition to raise the profile of artists living locally – and artists who we could entice to visit the town – to a wider regional and national audience.
After the Triennial the decision was taken to continue to work with artists in the town and use the Folkestone Fringe brand to represent Folkestone nationally and internationally. We wanted to continue to witness good art, architecture, performance and sound, all the time.
Folkestone Fringe has both benefitted from, and been a driver in, the cultural changes happening locally. It’s been great to work locally and to welcome new people, who each bring with them ideas and energy, and to find ways to include that energy in festivals, and events we’re involved in. And we feel privileged to have worked with so many great people over the years and our aim over the next few years is to grow local, makers, curators, producers and art practitioners so that the skills base becomes more embedded in the town, so that new ideas, from the younger generation are given the space to grow, to enable then to deliver the next ten years of well-considered and meaningful cultural activity.