What Next?

We received Arts Council England’s Covid-19 emergency funding at the end of  April 2020 to keep Dover Arts Development going over the next months and deliver a programme with the intention of securing DAD’s future.

The project evidenced DAD’s collaborative, porous structure through direct experience and helped identify those who will safeguard DAD’s future, affirm our ongoing strategic & partnership work & continued delivery of collaborative projects.

The Covid-19 virus holds no moral brief but it has brought the world to a halt. In this lockdown period between the world as we knew it and an as yet unknown post-Covid world we have a chance to imagine afresh our communities, ecologies and environment and the role of the arts in that vision.

Our activities and joint & individual discussions raised awareness of DAD as a network resource and support structure, and considered how DAD’s advocacy for the arts and dynamic artistic vision for Dover can be sustained.

We set the criteria for a collaborative framework going forward that upholds DAD’s mission statement, strengthens DAD’s ethos and secures DAD’s existence for the next decade, and appointed artist Louisa Love as a new director. We are looking for artists who will bring new ideas and innovation to the DAD project and business model, while remaining true to the ethos of collaboration, inclusivity & relevance, acknowledgement and generosity: practitioners who see DAD as a potential vehicle to realise their dreams and ambitions for Dover and have fun doing so.

Being unable to use our physical spaces (i.e. the residency space for visiting artists and the Dover Urban Room for salons & meetings), we moved to online spaces and developed and expanded our digital capability to deliver our programme:

Dover Cultural framework: As joint custodians of the framework we met with Dover Museum and secured the updating of the Dover Cultural Framework, extending it to the whole of Dover District and setting guidelines & strategy for the next decade.

We engaged locally and hyper locally in a series of ZOOM salons, bringing together artists, thinkers, residents and representatives of organisations for curated conversations about collaboration and ongoing partnership working, the role of a local arts organisation post Covid-19, climate change, a changing world, creative resilience and environmental responsibility.

We supported artists through challenging times by providing opportunities and outlets for their work and connection with other artists.

We worked with artist and recently appointed DAD director, Louisa Love, on DAD ARTISTS AT HOME. She invited artists who have worked with DAD over the last 12 years to share their lockdown activity in the form of videos, photos and writing to be featured and promoted via DAD’s website and social media platforms.

Alice Bryant came back to CHALKUP21. She  asked for contributions of photos, poems, videos featuring the CHALKUP21 Art & Architecture coastal trail from Folkestone to Deal for posting to the CHALKUP21 Facebook page and Instagram. Among other things encouraging people to share their photos and videos taken while on their “permitted daily exercise” along the trail on Instagram, using the hashtag #chalkup21 and tagged @dover_arts @chalkup21

We  commissioned 3 Dover based curators to curate 3 online exhibitions to be promoted through our website and social media platforms. Once venues open again there is potential for ‘September’  to be a physical exhibition.
Lonely Dover 
The Dover Art Network

We worked on an online DOVER PRINTFEST with Future Foundry & the Dover Studio Collective. The printfest was part of the 8th Fete de l’Estampe. Working with Future Foundry enabled us to share resources and jointly develop and nurture talent. We ran 2 artist-led Zoom print workshops and showed work via #DoverPrintFest on Instagram.

Once again we delivered the annual family-friendly DOVER BIG DRAW with the Dover Big local.  The drawings were used to create a video and zine.

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DAD Artists at home

The DAD Artists at Home strand of the What Next? project supported DAD’s community of contributors during the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.