DAD in Dunkerque


On Friday 4 November, DAD was part of an East Kent delegation visiting cultural counterparts in Dunkerque. The aim of the day, organised by the Town of Dunkerque, was to launch a network bringing together the different creative organisations who share a transmaritime and cross-border identity in the Channel Region – Kent, the Northern French Coast and West Flanders. 

In the morning we went on separate tours of Dunkerque, visiting the amazing buildings at various stages of construction/restoration, identified for future cultural use. It was explained that following a Richard Rogers masterplan, the movement of the town is to the sea front, the former ship building area. The Frac will be moving to a wonderful new building, alongside an identical existing former shipbuilding space, in November 2012 where it will be able to house its large collection as well as stage exhibitions. The former building will be left as a raw exhibition space. There are also some raw production spaces which provide bases for associations such as La Plateforme, Fructose, and others. An example of public realm work which is not dependent on fixed studio space is the Jardin Barges, part of an experimental project called Opener, a research programme into what it means to inhabit the town.

Lunch was held in the LAAC where the afternoon presentations and workshops also took place.

Marianne Nouveau from the City of Dunkerque and Gracienne Damman from the Greater Dunkerque Council  introduced the afternoon programme followed by Bruno Cooren: Network building in the Channel Region. What is at stake? It was explained that unlike the UK the cultural institutions and their programmes are almost completley financed with public money. Victoria Pomery then presented the Turner Contemporary in Margate and Hendrik Tratsaert presented the arts festival, Freestate, which takes place in in Ostende.

The group then split into 3 workshops looking at different aspects of cultural activity. There was a real openess and wish for collaborative projects. Dunkerque is going to be the Regional Capital of Culture in 2013 so the planning for potential joint projects begins now!