DAD Autumn Newsletter 2014

We are so late with our autumn Newsletter, but just in time with Autumn officially ending with the Winter Solstice on December 21st!

A complete makeover of coincided with Paul Osborne, our web programmer from the beginning, starting a full time job at Cambridge University as programmer on the extraordinary Gaia project ! We knew he was brilliant but now we realise how brilliant. Paul did the migration to the new site designed and programmed by Russel & Wesley Burden from Nebulo with the top design by our designer Edda Jones. We now have a site where visual material is at the centre and which is a real pleasure to update. We have added a LEGACY section, our 4 latest UPDATES show up now on our home page and our projects are found in PORTFOLIO marked live if they are current. We also have a NEWSLETTER section.

Since our spring Newsletter went out in May we have had 2 new major projects running in parallel: Code Name Joined Up, a 2-year project to coincide with the series of WWI commemorative events planned by each member of the Dover Museums and Arts Group (DMAG), and the DAD 4 DADs 6 ways 2 wellbeing project, building on our DAD4DADs pilot which we wrote about in our spring newsletter, only this time for young people and funded by public health through KCC with investment from Artswork and the Royal Opera House Bridge, which is quite a new funding avenue for us.

There are 10 museums and heritage sites involved in Code Name: Joined up and we are commissioning an artist to work in each. Some artists like Peter Sheppard Skaerved and Matthias Koch are returning to work with DAD again. Others are working with DAD for the first time: Colin Priest, Nicolle Mollett, John Dargan, Rob McDonald and Aine Belton, while others have worked with DAD in some capacity before but have been commissioned this time as artists to do a piece of their own work around some aspect of WW1with their specific host: Cathy Rogers, Tania McCormack, Louisa Love and Gabor Stark. One of the highlights of the early stage of the project is the series of Stitching and Drawing workshops led by Rosie James and Marcia Teusink. These workshops, taking place in each venue are collecting a following inspired by the practitioners and the WW1 collections at each venue. The project is bringing a different audience to the museum and heritage sites and the artists’ interventions will help the WW1 collections to be experienced in a new way by museum visitors.

We are very pleased to have been awarded a contract to deliver DAD4DADs, in partnership with the Jasmin Vardimon Company, aimed at young people as part of the Six Ways to Well Being programme. The project aim was to improve the mental wellbeing of all those involved in the project through exploring the theme of DADs/fathers/fatherhood. Dads means biological fathers, stepfathers or a significant male figure. As well as exploring their relationships with their fathers, the young people explored the impact of the “male figure”, or lack thereof, within their lives through music, movement, drawing and poetry workshops. There was an opportunity for the projects “Wellbeing champions” and those who would be taking Arts Award to go to the Jasmin Vardimon Company’s performance of PARK at the Marlowe theatre in Canterbury with their significant male figure. About 30 young people are currently working on their Arts Award, using the project as the basis of their portfolios. With Mental wellbeing at the heart of this project, this has meant that we have taken notice of the emotions that it has triggered. The subject of “DADS” is so primal to our human existence and one that evokes strong feelings in everyone. Placing “Dads” within a wellbeing project and using the 6 ways as tools has enabled this emotive subject to be carried safely through the workshops by the practitioners, with a support team available should there be a need. The project started with a Family Systemics workshop for all adults involved in the project: teachers, practitioners and the management and support team. It paved the way for a sharing of emotions that arose through the whole project – a rare and special experience of taking notice, giving, learning, connecting, caring and being active, which are the Six Ways. All Six Ways were completely embedded in the project through the workshops and practised by all those taking part.

We were involved in 4 Folkestone Triennial curated Fringe events: a send off from Shakespeare beach for women walkers following in their sisters’ footsteps (led by Audrey Greenoakes), a Fringe Friday talk making things happen down at the Fringe hub and the DAD Photography Exhibition with Nikita Shergill, a recent graduate from UCA Rochester, and Annabelle Amoros a recent graduate from the photography school in Arles, who we had selected in Arles in the summer and whose Dover residency coincided with the exhibition. It was a pleasure to work with Diane Dever and the Fringe team and we really enjoyed our time in Folkestone. Our film about Buckland paper Mill Watermark ran continuously over one weekend during the Triennial and we have also returned to the actual mill site in Dover invited by Harminder Gill, the developer, with a group show of artists’ work: Buckland Mill revisited.

Joanna went to Cyprus to talk about DAD and show her film work Re-Veil-Le along with Dominic de Vere’s War & Peace film at the Pharos contemporary music festival in Nicosia. Both works were originally commissioned by DAD within our War & Peace programme.

Stitched Time, the shared making ACE-funded project Clare initiated, was sewn in Dover over several days by the 8 artists involved and exhibited at Limbo in Margate along with a video piece by Clare and a video work by Ewan Golder. This relational aspect of Clare’s work evolved out of DAD’s Bunting Forever project and also the Voyagers, during which she undertook a self-initiated residency in Dover museum to create a collective piece of work about remembrance as part of DAD’s War & Peace programme.

Clare led on two family friendly Big Draw workshops for Dover Big Local, with additional support from Dover Town Council. The workshops were very well attended thanks to a determined social media campaign by Petra Matthews Crow and her expert hands-on recruiting skills. We would like to wish you all, our funders, participants practitioners and supporters all the best for the final days of 2014

Clare & Joanna