Magic Carpets 2021

welcoming Ireland & local artists 

The Residencies

After postponed trips, Zoom sessions, and inventive uses of hashtags, we are absolutely delighted to welcome Magic Carpets artist Mary Conroy to Folkestone in person, all the way from Limerick, Ireland, in June. We began working with Mary, for our third-year MagiC Carpets project. We wanted to work with an artist whose practice is strongly connected to the local environment and who is experienced in collaboration and co-creation with members of the community. Mary, who was nominated by Niamh Brown at EVA International, seemed like the perfect person we were looking for as her practice is strongly influenced by the local landscape and its materials. During this residency, Mary will be working with Folkestone artist, composer, and musician Craig Gell. 

Throughout this Summer residency, Mary Conroy and Craig Gell have been working both individually and collaboratively to explore the town's materials and natural environment. Responding to the question, and Folkestone Fringe Triennial theme of ‘What’s happening, exactly?’ they developed community-focused workshops which have contributed to the final outcome of their works – Pent Happenings and What are you made of Folkestone?

This exhibition drew connections and creates a dialogue between the two artists’ research. We decided to hold the exhibition in the Urban Room Folkestone as it is a space that encourages dialogue, interaction, and knowledge exchange - integral elements to both artists’ practices and the ethos of the MagiC Carpets Platform.

Mary Conroy

Irish artist Mary Conroy, nominated by Niamh Brown at EVA International, has a practice which is strongly influenced by the local landscape, its materials and current events – Mary's practice as an artist is to connect people with place through making, dialogue and material exploration.

This month-long residency has been an exploration of the traces left behind over millennia by geological forces and human activities tracking the development of Folkestone from 110 million years ago to present day.

The question ‘what is someone made of’ is often used in reference to someone’s inner character. The same can be applied to place. Place is formed over time by the actions of its inhabitants and events that occur there, both natural and through human engineering. These people and events leave traces of the past as building blocks for the future.

What Are you made of Folkestone? is a collaborative and inclusive inquiry into Folkestone town and surrounds as place, presented through naturally occurring material, modified material and material culture.

What Are you made of Folkestone? is a collaborative and inclusive inquiry into Folkestone town and surrounds as place, presented through naturally occurring material, modified material and material culture.

Craig Gell

Folkestone-based artist, composer and musician Craig Gell, is known for his site-specific sound art, sound-walks, and multimedia installations. Craig has a practice which is largely influenced by his local natural environment and the forces of nature active within it. Researching the history and ongoing relationship that the town has with water, Craig has developed Pent Happenings, to encourage people to engage with, and expand their knowledge of environmental impacts of the town.

// Magic Carpets // 

MagiC Carpets is a Creative Europe platform uniting 15 European cultural organisations that create opportunities for emerging artists to embark on journeys to unknown lands and to create, together with local artists and local communities, new works. These works highlight local specificities and aim to compensate for the shortage of story-telling existing in modern society by enhancing cultural accessibility, cultural activism and participation.

Folkestone Fringe is honoured to be the UK partner in the project, alongside partners from Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.


Photography: Josh Jordan // More photography documenting this years' Magic Carpets iteration coming soon...

This project, hosted by Folkestone Fringe, is part of the “Magic Carpets” Platform co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. #MagicCarpets   #CreativeEurope

They work from what’s ‘there’, what is immediate to us, through a process of playing out this focus through socially engaged practice, including participation and intervention with the locals of a place. The work itself takes shape from these site-specific exchanges happening, via simple invitations to get involved - always free, with previous experience not considered - the work is completely utilitarian. Foundationally, Mary & Craig’s work is driven by a want to physically see the connection form between people and place - a line of focus which has continuously allowed and allows us at Folkestone Fringe to reflect on what we ourselves do, and the benefits of believing in the power of this connection. Magic Carpets continuously prompts us to think about what is changing between us and the foundations which make a place, and further, what our job is within this.

- Extracted from Olivia Franklin's 2021 Review on our part in Magic Carpets: Year 4

Read Olivia Franklin's Review Here



9 September 2021

Magic Carpets 2021 Closing Exhibition
Progress Agency