CT20 is a contemporary visual arts and cultural platform championing high quality contemporary art and diversity from the margins, and a producer of diverse contemporary cultures.
– to lead cultural change in the arts –
CT20 actively resists the institutionalisation of art by challenging established stereotypes to find authentic expressions relevant to our times.
CT20’s creative ambitions & mission is delivered through its core programme of Projects, Journals & Residencies. It has a small & dynamic Productions facility catered for quality digital content as well as ambitious site-specific installations. It houses an emerging Archive and digital collections, with CT20Press as its publishing arm. This infrastructure enables its dedicated team to commission new radical art, to produce accessible cultural content and high-end Editions, to carry out high-impact engaging installations and to support state-funded initiatives.
What do we mean by ‘Creative Excellence’…
CT20 are producers of original diverse cultural content that pushes boundaries and transcends cultural barriers.
CT20 aims for consistency of quality and high impact of delivery, which is achieved through developing in-house expertise, knowledge & professionalism supported by a network of partners who are leaders in their field.
CT20 nurtures, supports, promotes and collaborates with outstanding individuals who are committed to their art, regardless of their chosen disciplines or backgrounds.
CT20 cares for the well-being of artists and works closely with them to create bespoke support structures to realise the next stage of their creative goals.
CT20 is committed to creating a more ethical and sustainable cultural ecosystem built upon fairness and trust. CT20 delivers high level of professional conduct through all members of its team, as well as our extended network of collaborators, artists, partners, audiences and participants.
What do we mean by ‘MARGINS’
CT20 is an independent arts organisation that promotes the under-represented to create new perspectives that challenge existing paradigms dominated by mainstream visual cultures.
Based in Folkestone on the south-eastern coast of Kent, poised on the edge of UK and mainland Europe, CT20 occupies the geographical and social margins where culture is embroiled within wider debates surrounding identity, place, political turmoil, and the rapid urban transformations experienced through gentrification, migration and technology.
Site-specificity is key to our programming. CT20 commissions radical art that is immersed in its times and responds to its place, transcending disciplinary, geographic and cultural boundaries.
What do we mean by ‘DIVERSITY’…
CT20 was founded by Nina and Tomas, Chinese and Chilean diasporas who have made the UK their home. Nina is an architect and Tomas an artist, together they created a project that brings together their passion for the arts and their need to better represent multicultural dialects in Britain. Their mix of cultural identities and lived experiences have become a hybrid aesthetic language. With a great compassion towards the ‘other’, they are in a unique position to open up new perspectives by embracing diverse talents, voices, tastes and cultural accents.
Hybrid Cultures = International Diversity + Hyper-Local
CT20’s cultural productions synthesise divergent aesthetics and cultural traditions. It brings high calibre international artists outside the Western cultural hegemony to the UK to make works situated within local contexts. Whilst at the same time, it connects with and promotes local grass-roots cultures outside dominant cultural radar.
CT20 believes that great art has the power to transcend time and overcome cultural barriers to touch everyone. Making art accessible means finding the connection between the individual and the universal, and changing the way in which art is being framed.
CT20’s innovative production models break with cultural conventions and stereotypes, to provide life-long learning opportunities and viable career paths for people from all backgrounds.
DIRECTOR & CURATOR, CO-FOUNDER
Nina Shen-Poblete is a multidisciplinary cultural professional with multiple careers as a cultural producer (curator, writer & content producer), and architect, artist and educator.
Born in China and growing up in the UK, Nina is part of a generation who experiences rapid economic, social and cultural compression of brought about by technology and migration. Drawing from personal history, diverse professional experiences and hands-on knowledge, Nina is always seeking to innovate cultural models that better reflect and serve the complexities of contemporary experiences. This process often necessitates the breaking down of existing cultural barriers, to unlock hidden potentials freed from the limitations of disciplinary silos.
Prior to co-founding CT20, Nina has been a founding member of the artistic collective S-T-O-R-E, actively involved in the creation of an experimental educational and social enterprises as featured in ‘Radical Pedagogies: Architectural Education and the British Tradition’.
As a student and activist, she conceived ‘Black Grout’ – Publishing As Event – a highly provocative series of conversations with artists and architects held at major institutions in London that critiqued existing modes of education and practice, whilst collectively explored alternative pathways.
Trained as an architect, Nina taught alongside Prof. Andrew Holmes as part of a highly regarded and specialist design unit at Oxford Brookes University before founding her own with fellow lecturer Declan Molloy.
Her on-going research interest in alternative ways of interpreting the history of art & architecture began with a journey to establish a cultural history of ‘concrete formwork’, based on the writings of architectural historians Adrian Forty, Katie Lloyd Thomas and the philosophy of Gilbert Simondon.
Tomas is an artist and independent curator.
Tomas came to London in the late 90s from Chile to study sculpture – a journey which proved to be life-changing. Moving to Scotland at the tip of a creative curve to further pursue an MFA in Glasgow, he began to try his hand at putting on exhibitions, first in a small derelict art space in the east end of Glasgow. Often working in part-time jobs in order to put on exhibitions independently, Tomas set up a curatorial duo called ArcanMellor with artist Leo Todd, and began producing highly respected exhibitions in Glasgow and London, working with artists such as Alexander James Pollard, Patrick Coutu, Luis Dourado, and Thomas Lelu.
Tomas has a curatorial vision and approach that juxtaposes high and low cultures, and brings his creative dynamism to the team at HPCT20.
In his own words, ‘we are on the edge of something that can be great and has promise to affect change in a sector often deemed exclusive. I would like to believe that what we are doing will to a small extent effect change in the way local communities perceive art.’
Melora is in the process of completing an MA in Arts and Cultural Management at Canterbury Christ Church University, and she has been project assistant at CT20 since February 2021.
Prior to coming to the UK and whilst living in Paris and Prague, Melora has always been drawn to the arts, seeing it from the perspective of the audience and through developing her parallel passions in music and drawing.
Moving to the UK enabled her to discover independent organisations with alternative and engaging ways of championing and sharing art with the audience. Through her work experiences with Nina and Tomas at CT20, she is putting her studies into practice, which slowly moves her position from the audience to that of a cultural producer within a multi-faceted and diverse cultural organisation. This experience allows her to find her own personal vision of championing the arts and to bring a new vision back to France.
A Folkestone resident since birth, Maddy is a writer and creative who has long been fascinated by the hidden cultures and communities of her hometown and those who live within it.
Raised on punk music and poetry, Maddy has spent her life endeavouring to understand the ways in which art can weave together intricate tapestries of personal stories and memories.
With her creative passions leading her to pursue a career in music journalism, whilst studying in Southampton, Maddy became increasingly aware of the growing need for inclusivity within the arts industry. This discovery sparked her initiation of the ‘South Coast Women In Music’ convention, an event to raise awareness of inequality and celebrate unrecognised creative brilliance.
Further pursuing an MA in Music and Culture, Maddy has also established a culture of community around ‘Unfinished Business’, an independent zine series showcasing the abandoned works of artists, writers and poets.
With a passion for listening to and communicating the stories of those around her, Maddy brings her drive for celebrating diversity and art to the team at CT20.
| CEO, Shape Arts
Roger De Haan Charitable Trust
Arts Council England
Kent County Council
Association Fructôse (Dunkirk)
Canterbury Christ Church University (Canterbury)
Creative Folkestone (Folkestone)
DAD – Dover Arts Development (Dover)
El Estudio (Santiago, Chile)
Folkestone Fringe (Folkestone)
Glasgow School of Art (Glasgow)
La Plate-Forme (Dunkirk)
Last Fridays Folkestone (Folkestone)
Oxford Brookes University (Oxford)
Shape Arts (London)
STORE Projects (London)
Strangelove Festival (Folkestone + London)
The Performance Space (Folkestone)
Venice Agenda (Folkestone)
Tannery Arts & Tannery Projects (London)
The Drawing Room (London)
UCA University of Creative Arts Canterbury (Canterbury)
University of Westminster (London)