Autumn Newsletter 2016

Our 10th anniversary year is feeling very special and receiving the Kent Creative ‘Arts Organisation of the Year’ award in May gave us a real boost.

The appreciation of DAD’s work continued 2 days later in the speeches and feedback we received from visitors and participants at the INSPIRATION = DOVER concert and exhibition at Dover Town Hall on 20 May. The event was the culmination of Chalk Up, our cultural tourism project, and of the Dover Museums and Arts Group WW1 project ‘Joined Up’, now with its own legacy website:

It also officially kicked off DAD@TEN: ten years of hard graft, according to Chris Mellor from Arts Council England. It is true that this has involved numerous meetings and the writing of funding bids for each of the 32 projects we have imagined and delivered in the last 10 years. But these projects have given us the chance to work with 126 wonderful artists who have all made work in or inspired by Dover.

Through Chalk Up, we have further expanded our network of business partners, many of whom sponsored INSPIRATION = DOVER, and built opportunities for cross-marketing our events. In partnership with the Up on the Downs Summer Festival we held an elemental watercolour workshop at Samphire Hoe ending with a showing of our recent Chalk Up  film production, Weathertime, bringing together works by 30 artists from both sides of the Channel with an original sound score, in the Education Shelter there. During the summer Weathertime was screened on the Dover-Dunkirk route of DFDS ferries reaching an audience of 1 million passengers.

Someone said recently that being part of DAD felt like being part of a family. We have introduced international artists to Dover through residencies, giving them time to develop real relationships with DAD, the community and other artists who live or have studied or come to live in East Kent, encouraging a healthy exchange and leading to further collaborations. We are now part of East Kent’s growing cross-pollinating network and this year we were invited to be part of SALT: Festival for the Sea and the Environment in Folkestone, with Weathertime being screened continuously during the Festival at Folkestone Sea Sports on the Stade. We were also commissioned by SALT, with additional support from Dover Town Council, as individual artists, together with Folkestone-based artist Helen Lindon, to make a new work. The result is a 40-min film, A Parable for Endeavour, which was shown as part of  ‘As far as we can see’, in the Lindon Space and screened at the Quarterhouse and has been invited to be part of the International women’s day programme at Kings College Cambridge on March 11th 2017.

DAD has left a rich legacy of outputs from the last 10 years, which are available for future use in the form of photographs, films, oral histories,musical compositions and public art works. The most recent addition is the animated story of Tom Ransley’s Road to Rio, made by students at Astor College and St Mary’s CEP working together and sharing their learning with pupils from Priory Fields School. Supported by artist John Dargan, the young people turned their images into animated sequences using an iPad. Our 2012 feature documentary production, Watermark, inspired by the last paper run at Buckland paper mill and directed by Berlin-based director Marianne Kapfer, who spent 90 days and nights in Dover during the making of the film, was screened recently to full houses at the Dover Silver Screen Cinema as part of their classic film programme. We are delighted that the film will now be screened by the Folkestone Silver Screen on March 30th and April 6th 2017 in their classic film programme.

The range of historical buildings, in which DAD has developed its projects over the last 10 years, was extended this summer to Fort Burgoyne. A call went out for artists to join a research workshop day and all places were taken within a few hours! 18 artists took the rare opportunity to spend a day exploring the site in July and some of the artists are now developing future projects of their own with the Land Trust at the Fort extending the cultural offer in Dover. Also extending the cultural offer have been the The Dover Studio Collective (Clare Smith, Kate Beaugié, Dave Robinson, Louisa Love, Chris Burke and Mike Tedder) who have held 2 open studio exhibitions in the project space at Astley Avenue inviting guest artists to join them each time. Landscape Islands, organised by DAD and 51Zero also exhibited the unusual collaboration of Joseph Young (Sound) and Kay Aplin (ceramics) in the project space and DAD ran a masterclass in conservation mounting by Deborah Colam for artists wanting to mount their own work in the safest way possible.

Dover-based artist Victoria Pasquino has taken over the Allotment restaurant and hosted The Big draw there this year – a DAD, Astor College, Dover Big Local Art 31 collaboration – and the development of the Student Makers Market providing street-based business training and opportunities for talented young local makers over the last year, supported by Lisa Oulton of Future Foundry through the Dover Big Local, has made it possible to buy beautiful, inventive, individual handmade Christmas presents this year in Dover. Who could have imagined that a year ago?

Wishing you all an enjoyable holiday season