ART // CULTURE // EDUCATION // HERITAGE // PERFORMANCE // VENUE // doing things different

Tellings on the Medway

Jessie Brennan

Date: Saturday 18th May  | 8:00am – 16:00 | Admission: FREE

Tellings on the Medway with Jessie Brennan during Medway Barge Match,
start/finish line at Gillingham Pier

Come aboard to enjoy undoubtedly the best views of one of the world’s oldest sailing competitions, the 105th Medway Barge Match, from the upper deck of historic Light Vessel 21 and share your stories and experiences about the river Medway with artist Jessie Brennan – bring an object of personal interest collected along the river to start the conversation… or just come aboard for a cuppa and chat…

Artist Jessie Brennan is currently developing new site-responsive work for her solo exhibition at Rochester Art Gallery in October 2013. Her work will document the Medway’s heritage through the hidden histories and first hand stories of people who have worked/lived/played alongside the river.

The river Medway has a rich industrial and social heritage; Jessie’s project will be a tribute to an atmosphere loaded with the ghosts of Kingsnorth power station, The Medway Queen, Royal Navy boys, women ropery workers, shipwrecks, paddle steamers, O-boats, RSPB reserves, nuclear facilities, visiting royalty, cement works, ship-breakers, anarchist river dwellers, developers and land grabbers…

Today Chatham Docks is entering a new phase in its history; part of it will be developed from commercial industry into residential use, changing the social fabric of the area.

Jessie invites you to share your stories about the river Medway, particularly your personal experiences and memories about living or working along the river between Strood and Gillingham.  She’s keen to get a sense of how and why the river is important to local people through exploring how the river has shaped and continues to shape the identity of Medway and the people who occupy it.

Do you have a favourite spot along the river?

Do you work along the river or at the commercial docks?

Can you recall some of the changes that have taken place along the Medway?

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever heard about the Medway?

Whilst aboard you can also take part in Jessie’s project by drawing a 1-minute landscape – no drawing experience necessary, all materials provided and everyone’s welcome!

Please come and contribute to the project!

For more information about the Medway Barge Match, visit:

For more information about Rochester Art Gallery and Craft Case, visit:

About Jessie Brennan

Jessie’s practice lies between drawing and participation, informed by the social history of places, and by a direct engagement with the individuals who occupy them. She is currently exploring drawing and participation as critical tools to conceptualize and imagine experiences of place inspired by heritage, folklore, and myth particular to the river Medway. Central to her creative practice is the exchange of local knowledge and personal experiences between people within a particular place, situation or context. The information gathered from these exchanges and the process of exchange itself is playfully articulated in meticulously detailed pencil drawings and performances captured in video. Jessie’s video installations investigate interactions between individuals looking and being looked at, while the pencil drawings unravel imaginary landscapes assembled from personal information shared between the individuals and the artist. The title Tellings on the Medway refers to the ritualistic sharing of a bedtime story to the artist as a child by her father.  A ‘telling’ brings together historical fact, memory and personal experience. This reflects Jessie’s interest in how memories and factual narratives about local historical figures and events can shift and be revised across time within communities so that historical facts and personal fictions become playfully blurred.

To view Jessie’s artwork please see her website:

Jessie Brennan 43 Strangers


Please note, LV21 is a historic ship undergoing restoration. Access is via steep steps. There is ample free parking on and around Gillingham Pier.