Spring Newsletter 2016

DAD is 10 years old, a time to think about what we have achieved and to reflect on where to invest our energy in the future.

Chalk Up, a one-year pilot project aimed at stimulating cultural tourism, led by Dover Arts Development (DAD) and organised under Culture Kent, coincides with a desire expressed by many of Dover’s community groups, stakeholders and statutory bodies to focus on and develop Dover’s tourism offer.

The ambition of Chalk Up thus sits well with current strategic plans for Dover and with the aims of the forthcoming Dover Coastal Communities Economic planDAD is a member of the Dover Coastal Communities team and the Public Realm working group. Many of the long-planned major development schemes and projects for Dover and Dover District are now finally becoming visible and we are delighted to learn that at last arts and culture are in the forefront of people’s minds:

“Dover, along with the wider district, is seeing an unprecedented level of inward investment and development interest I am delighted that ever increasing recognition is being given to the cultural and heritage base across the area and the contribution that this offers to the sense of place and coastal living for incoming investors and employers, businesses and visitors alike.” Tim Ingleton, Head of Inward Investment, Dover District Council.

“I do see the arts and the work that DAD are doing as the lifeblood of any proposal which we make.” Chair, Dover Coastal Communities Team.

Nearly all our work over the past ten years has focused on the interface between heritage and contemporary culture: heritage is constantly in the making and what we create today will be passed on to future generations.

Dover’s heritage is the subject of a major concert and exhibition of new works by artists who bring that heritage alive. This evening of art and music will be held at the Maison Dieu on 20 May 2016. INSPIRATION = DOVER marks the end of our cultural tourism pilot Chalk Up and our 2-year DMAG Joined up project and celebrates DADs tenth anniversary.

The exhibition presents the culmination of two years’ research by fourteen artists who have been exploring the WW1 heritage collections and archives in museums and heritage sites across Dover District as part of Joined Up. The resulting art works will be exhibited, together with objects from their host museums’ WW1 collections, in the Maison Dieu’s historic rooms at INSPIRATION=DOVER.

The concert is directed by Peter Sheppard Skaerved with whom we have developed a long-standing relationship – now into a third project. The concert programme includes the World Premiere of Pulp & Rags by composer Nigel Clarke and poet Malene Skaerved inspired by Buckland Paper Mill in Dover. Some of you may remember Nigel and Malene’s work Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, Thames, Dover Wight commissioned within DAD’s WAR & PEACE programme and  premiered in Dover in 2013. Also included in the programme is the world premiere of David Gorton’s Lachrymal Variations.

The support from partners within and outside Dover has been fantastic and we hope that many of you will buy  tickets. Tickets are £10 and available through Eventbrite and detailed information on the evening can be found on inspirationdover.dadonline.uk

Dover may be on the periphery of England and the most iconic border between England and Europe, but the centre or centrality of Dover in relation to its identity is key to the philosophical perspective of DAD. (Adrian Lovis)

The town has, in a variety of ways, inspired the 126 artists we have worked with over the last 10 years. In that time DAD has managed some 30 projects and produced a legacy of resulting artworks, the most recent of which are by the artists working with us on “Joined Up”. These works are set to become part of the museums’ accessioned collections, thus starting the process of contemporary collecting.

In our first ten years, our aim has been to inspire a cultural approach to building community resilience. Arts and culture are one of the five key themes of the Dover Big Local plan. Clare supports and leads the arts and culture subgroup which is beginning to gather momentum and members. Through DAD, organisations such as the Ragroof players and the Student Makers Market have been connected with the Dover Big Local team and will be delivering some fabulous projects in Dover for all age groups.

Providing opportunities for artists, finding new artists, increasing wellbeing and improving opportunities for people is at the basis of DAD’s work. As is inspiring young people and their teachers. The cultural strand of INSPIRE Phase III, the Kent Schools’ Olympic Legacy Programme Ways to Rio has enabled DAD to manage a partnership project with 8 Dover schools bringing in young practitioners from dance and fine art to lead workshops.

After one of the workshops a pupil was heard to say: “I feel human” – We have seen over and over again how ‘making’ transforms people and nurtures communities.

We are proud to have been shortlisted for the Kent Creative awards for Community / art organisation of the year.