DAD Overview Spring 2011

Turner Contemporary opened to the public in Margate on 16 April in a blaze of sunshine. It’s spring and with the opening of Turner Contemporary as the highlight of the South East cultural calendar it seems a good time to think about new beginnings for DAD and new developments in Dover over the past six months as well as events that are coming up in the immediate future.

We are excited by the official adoption in March this year of the muf art/architecture Dover cultural survey and framework. DAD has been asked to take on the custodianship of this document, described by Sally Staples as groundbreaking. We are absolutely delighted to “champion” such a wonderful document and will do our best to keep the principles contained in the document in the forefront of people’s minds so that they can continue to inspire, act as guidelines for those wishing to add to the cultural life of Dover and provide much needed criteria against which future project proposals can be evaluated.

Another piece of exciting news is the new studio space that DAD moved into in the New Year, thanks to a fortuitous introduction to Peter Green, CEO of LSBC cic, The space is in the former Royal Mail sorting office at Charlton Green, centrally located in Dover town, where LSBC is running a programme called New Horizons which provides young people with training in a variety of skills.

A lot has happened since our last newsletter.

Marianne Kapfer and Dominic de Vere were in Dover for three months in total working on the film. Watermark is now completed and we are starting our adventure as first time producers, taking this fantastic film out into the world. It has been an amazing experience from so many angles. Working with Marianne Dominic and Robert Jarvis has been a priviledge and getting to know over 300 former mill employees a continuing pleasure. The 3 evenings of hosted discourse – salons – around a theme arising out of the making of Watermark proved very successful and we  will continue to find ways to host discourse on various topics in the future as part of our role as custodians of the Cultural Framework.

Through Watermark we made real contact with Dovorians through the process of making. DAD has been developing the arts in Dover since 2006 and has grappled with how to develop an engaged artistic practice and involve the local community in a meaningful way, a topic we examined in depth during the last of our salons entitled Mediation and Production. In November we started, an audience development research project, funded through KCC’s new recipes programme to test the effectiveness of social media as audience building tools. This was a new way of communicating for us and our initial skepticism has been converted into enthusiasm. Through the UCA graduate internship programme, Mark John Smith came on board as intern and one of the things that had attracted us to Mark was his interest in the BBC Live Site or Big screen and his interest in social media, which he comes at from an artist’s perspective.

Various DAD events were linked to, in particular our Chinese New Year celebrations on 13 February 2011. At least 100 people joined DAD and Alma Tischler Wood on the new Tonkin Liu Esplanade by her North Downs Marker to celebrate the start of the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. Mulled wine was provided courtesy of the Royal Cinque Port Yacht Club who generously allowed participants and audience to use the bar after the event. Performances included a reading by Zhan Lu Smith, poetry by Untidy Barry, a performance with Rabbit moon cookies by Alma Tischler Wood, music by Mick Morris and guitarist Colin Hinds, a reading of Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach by Roy Boyd, a social networking sculpture by Mark John Smith, and a Fire Poi performance by Ivan Cleak.

Sadly Alma Tischler Wood had been unable to get back from Korea for the official launch of Dover’s new Esplanade on 4 November 2010. Alma’s work was photographed by Nigel Green and contextualised along with the New Esplanade in “Sea & Walk”, a pocket sized guide to interesting examples of 20th and 21st Century architecture along the North Downs Way produced by DAD and launched at this event.

A talk and exhibition of the photographs taken for the DAD Sea & Walk guide by Nigel Green took place at the Canterbury School of Architecture in February this year. Nigel’s talk put the work in the context of his 15-year interest in Modernist architecture and its promise of a better future.

The DAD studio is available to artists as a studio share on very flexible weekly terms, making it ideal for a project over a few weeks or a space on a more permanent basis. In April, the studio was home to a project led by Rhea Shepherd and Lawrence Sherwood, both Graduate Diploma architecture students from the Canterbury School of Architecture at UCA consisting of a two-part ‘Design and Build‘ workshop, open to all those on the New Horizons programme, as well as other users of the DAD studio space. Participants were asked to help design and create a unique, adaptable installation for the studio.

Although many of the participants had no experience of design, by the end of the workshop they realized that they were able to design and express their ideas through drawing. This is England is another project taking place in the studio led by UCA architecture students. The results of their work in and about Dover will be shown in the space and open to the public from 6 – 8 May.

Dovertime will be using the studio space as a base from May to September this year. Dovertime is an experimental film project run by artist Lucy Steggals (in collaboration with DDC, KCC and the BBC). Local people are being invited to donate photographs relating to what they do at particular times of the day. These will be used as inspiration to create a narrative following the day in the life of a fictional character, and may appear as stills in a film to be screened on the Live Site Big Screen in September 2011. The aim is to involve as many people across Dover as possible to create a story in 16 short episodes, each relating to an hour of the day 7am to 11pm.

In March we at last received our Interreg grant from Rouen one and a half year’s after the completion of our Interreg Resider/Reside project, providing much needed cashflow for the year ahead.

If you are in Dover over Easter, Clare is running a t-shirt printing workshop on 23 April with Greg Stobbs in conjunction with the screening of Toy Story 1, 2, and 3 over the Easter weekend by the BBC on its Live Site in Dover’s Market Square.

Wishing you all a Happy Easter.

We are grateful to all of our supportersand to the following sponsors:
Your Heritage Lottery Fund, Screen South, Kent Film Office, UK Film Council, Sea Change Dover, Dover District Council, Kent County Council, Dover Town Council, English Heritage, University for the Creative Arts, University of Kent,  Dover Museum, Seeda, KETV, LSBC cic