DAD Spring Newsletter 2015

It’s spring and time for another newsletter.

2014 ended with the Dover Harbour Board’s Christmas truce carol service in the newly renovated Dover Marina railway station, now the Dover Cruise Terminal. After readings of poetry and letters from the trenches, interspersed with carols sung in English and German, the wonderful mix of people present then witnessed the unveiling of Anthony Heywood’s paper spitfire, a ghostly reminder of the fragility of peace as suggested by its title Dove of Peace. This wonderful mix of people was partly due to DAD’s input into the guest list. Over the past 10 years we have reached so many different people through different projects and this gave us an opportunity to link back to our contacts with Buckland Paper Mill, where Anthony had done much of his research for the making of a spitfire out of paper before the mill closed in 2000. In addition we invited the volunteers who look after the majority of the 10 heritage partner venues in our 2-year DMAG WW1 code name Joined up project. We are now half way through the project and recently held a “one year gone and one year to go” celebration at which all the artists presented where they were with their commissions while DAD presented an overview of progress on the overall project. We have a short URL address now where you can follow the artists research as well as the projects highlights by reading the project updates.

There was a lot of “trying to get the measure of each other” by artists and museums people in the first year – not easy with both sides approaching their work in very different ways, although in the end so interdependent, with artists, designers and craftspeople making so much of what museums then conserve.

The creativity in this second year is palpable and the excitement building as trust and understanding deepen and as the artists start to show the fruits of their research and engage with visitors to the venues.

 Allowing the creative process to transform is at the basis of all DAD projects, making a safe space for change to happen, whether organisational or personal.

We held a final event to celebrate the achievements of the DAD4DADS6WAYS2 WELLBEING project with our partners, the Jasmin Vardimon Company, at which we screened Ewan Golder’s project film and Greg Stobbs’ aka Squirl ‘s DAD4DADS 6 WAYS 2 WELLBEING project book. An inspiring event documenting a project which every town in the country could benefit from – Jon Linstrum at Arts Council England, who also expressed his appreciation of the project book by saying he, particularly loved the drawings of Dads reproducing the repeated movements of their children and thought this basic idea, and the way it was realised, was a wonderful encapsulation of the project and its aims. 

DAD continued its tradition of hosted conversations with a conversation entitled Empowering the Individual through the Collective to mark the opening of WOW Folkestone and of Stitched Time, produced and curated by Clare. Also becoming a tradition is the annual Spontaneous Creativity workshop: this year it became the morning session of our first Culture Kent action allowing non-language based communication between participants, using voice, visuals and music, as part of a day bringing invited cultural practitioners together from France, Belgium and the UK. The Culture Kent Dover pilot is part of a cross arts and tourism project which aims to promote Kent as a national and international cultural destination. DAD will be working with partners to help build a local network. In line with Culture Kent’s aims of increasing cultural tourism, we worked in association with the Royal Cinq Ports Yacht Club and the Port of Dover on the Land & Sea exhibition of rarely seen paintings on loan from the Port of Dover and shown to the general public in the usually members only yacht club. Also part of the programme was a watercolour workshop inspired by the views from the yacht club terrace and the paintings in the exhibition. We ended the project being presented to Princess Anne, who said that she was not aware there were any arts in Dover and thought we must be very busy!

Also within the Culture Kent Dover pilot we are delivering 2 events at the end of July by invitation from the the National Trust and the Up on the Downs Partnership : Walk and Draw workshop with Clare on Thursday 30 July 11-3pm in the recently uncovered Fan Bay Shelter: I was so excited when I saw the beautiful drawing in black, white and burnt sienna of the shelter with the bunk beds for the soldiers. I immediately thought Fan Bay would be a wonderful place to draw and I’d like to invite you to join me there

And Joanna is leading an experiential walk, Sensing and Seeing, along the white cliffs of Dover on Friday, July 31st at full moon. Joanna ‘s paintings emerge through a process more sensed than seen. The walk will start at the National Trust visitors centre in daylight, entering the underground labyrinth of Fan Bay Shelter, hewn in the chalk to house up to 200 troops in WW2, at dusk and re-emerging at sunset by the 2 newly unearthed sound mirrors from 1914 and 1917, overlooking the channel, and originally contructed as sound amplification devices to warn of planes approaching. The return journey along the cliffs will be by moonlight finishing at the visitor’s centre to see a painting as film by Joanna, made with Dominic der Vere, for an interpretation of Debussy’s La Mer by composer Sally Beamish for the Trio Apaches (19 min). Debussy started his work in 1903 in France and completed it in 1905 at the Grand Hotel Eastbourne on the english channel coast.

Thank you friends, partners and funders for your continued interest and support.