Canterbury Festival is committed to creative learning and skill development. We regularly work in partnership with local community groups and charities to deliver free workshops to those who do not have regular access to the arts. Project participants steer the workshops, choosing both the art form they wish to learn, and their own goals for the project.

Our community projects take place throughout the year. Click the links below to find out more about current and past projects.

In 2020 the Festival expanded on its New Tricks Project with Beat This, a series of drumming workshops engaging communities around Canterbury in creative activity.

The project aimed to help tackle social isolation, enabling individuals to take part in arts activities, meet people and learn something new.

The workshops were postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdown but when restrictions were eased, they were reinstated with social distancing – helping to rebuild networks and bring these communities back together.

We are incredibly thankful to our workshop leaders Kevin Richards and Simon Lee who have been incredible throughout. The project is generously supported by The Kent Community Foundation and Beerling Foundation.

In 2020, Canterbury Festival joined forces with community groups, charities, schools, colleges, universities and artists to create a city-wide art exhibition during the 2020 Festival. Taking place from 17 – 31 October, the HeArt of the City Arts Trail celebrated creativity, highlighting the important role it plays in health and wellbeing. Many of the artworks were created as part of lockdown projects led by Kent organisations – connecting the community when it was at its most isolated.

Participating organisations included Pilgrims Hospices, Catching Lives, L’Arche, Future Foundry, Canterbury College and many more.

The Arts Trail map can be downloaded here

All artworks were exhibited in window spaces and were available to view during daylight hours from 17 – 31 October.

Canterbury Festival would like to thank the generosity of participating artists, organisations, estate agents and landlords for making the HeArt of the City Arts Trail possible.

Click here to read more about this project

New Tricks is a project engaging the over 65’s in communities around Canterbury to take part in new arts activities and performances.

The project aims to build a stronger relationship with the community, enabling elder participants to explore the arts and forge long term friendships. We are currently delivering this project in Hersden, Barham, Querns and Chartham.

Each community centre or village hall has up to ten sessions of participatory and audience-based activities which include:

  • Mampama African Fusion
  • Screen printing
  • Punk printing
  • Cyanotype
  • Writing Letters to the Future
  • Among the Reeds
  • Gumboots Reggae
  • Raynard the Fox Puppet
  • Puppetry
  • Trip down Melody Lane

(Performers are from Canterbury Festival’s programme and facilitators are trained on our TEC course.)

This project has been funded by Canterbury City Council.

In Spring 2019, Canterbury Festival worked with clients of Canterbury based charity Catching Lives; developing new work and exhibiting it in a gallery setting, at 35-37 Tontine Street, Folkestone.

Canterbury Festival initially teamed up with local art facilitators to provide a free ‘Teach, Educate, Create’ course, covering various aspects of how to deliver community workshops, including planning, risk assessments and safeguarding.

On completion of the course, facilitators gained hands on experience by delivering various workshops at Catching Lives – an independent charity which aims to help rough sleepers and vulnerably housed people across East Kent, by giving them access to support and facilities that they may not receive elsewhere.

Workshop themes included lino printing, animation, badge making, flag making and music.

Canterbury Festival worked with animator James Murray to run a series of weekly workshops exploring stop-motion animation. Workshops took place at Rising Sun’s offices and engaged a cross section of young people aged 12-18.

This Link project was supported by Kent Community Foundation and The R G Hills Charitable Trust.

In 2017 Canterbury Festival worked with St Nicholas School, running a series of workshops with hip hop producer, writer and community worker Oliver Seagar. Participants were encouraged to embrace their creativity, empowering them through perfomrance and writing skills.

This project was made possible with the support of The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and The R G Hills Charitable Trust.

In 2017 Canterbury Festival worked with two dancers from Kent Dance Network, running a series of dance workshops for Porchlight service users, as part of the Link project.

With support from The R G Hills Charitable Trust

The Festival worked with an artist and Catching Lives on a series of sculpture activities inspired by scratchcards exploring the theme ‘homelessness need not mean hopelessness’. The project concluded with an exhibition in Canterbury’s The Beaney in March 2018.

Canterbury Festival and an artist worked with fifteen young members of Kent Refugee Action Network to produce a piece of artwork that was exhibited at the Sidney Cooper Gallery. The project aimed to empower the participants and encourage them to enter gallery and other creative spaces without feeling self-conscious.


In the summer of 2016 Canterbury Festival engaged 12 people who identified as NEET (young people not in education, employment or training). Participants worked with a musician as part of a summer music school; improving skills in performance, production and teamwork. Following the project, five participants went on to full time education.

For more info on our projects including how to get involved, contact or 01227 452853.