DAD Overview Autumn 2010

We were thinking we’d have a quiet summer but we’ve hardly had a break and it’s already October. We start editing Watermark,DAD’s documentary film production about Buckland Paper Mill, this month and we’ve also just started a new project, Boxme.in, researching the use of social media as an audience building tool. This seems very apt at the moment, especially since so many arts organisations have enthusiastically embraced the use of Facebook.

Work on Watermark has been pretty constant since the spring, with most of April, May and June spent on planning and organising a Reunion party for former Wiggins Teape and Arjo Wiggins employees. The Reunion, on 23 July, was an important element of the 2-week July shoot led by director Marianne Kapfer, with sound artist Robert Jarvis, Marianne’s assistant, UCA graduate Dominic De Vere, and current UCA film students from Maidstone, Jamie Jenkinson, Korinna McRobert, Andrea Morris and Cassandra Beckley.

With help from volunteers who previously worked at the Mill, we located around 300 former employees, all of whom were sent personal letters of invitation on our DAD Conqueror paper – Buckland Mill had been famous for its production of Conqueror. Around 200 people attended, 50 of whom arrived by an open top bus hired from Dover Transport Museum, which picked people up from 11 stops around Dover.

During the evening the L.A. Music Club performed a specially commissioned “Watermark” song composed by Bert Osborne and arranged by Richard Bundy; we also showed a 13-minute film trailer of the forthcoming film and a Reunion Band, “the Raghouse band”, including former Mill employee guitarist Tic Brown, performed a list of popular songs from the 60s.

The event, as well as creating wonderful footage was very much appreciated by the guests who were absolutely delighted to be with each other once again; the Mill closed in 2000 and some former employees had not seen each other for as long as 50 years.

There is also an educational strand to the Watermark project and two local schools, Green Park Primary and Archers Court, worked on their own satellite “Watermark” projects, which they developed in greater depth during two taster days at UCA Maidstone.

DAD’s continues to build its reputation for hospitality: related to Watermark are the DAD ‘salons’, 3 evenings of DAD hosted discourse and sharing of best practice. The first “A Local museum – who needs it and why” took place in July. Each “salon” is an opportunity to explore a theme that has emerged through the Watermark project with ten invited guests, each bringing their special knowledge and vision to the table. The second “Work as culture, Culture as work” will take place later this month.

2010 is the 3rd year in which DAD has developed programmes in Dover for the Cultural Olympiad Open Up Weekends: Over the weekend of 24 and 25 July we delivered two film-related events to coincide with Dover District Council’s Film All Dover weekend programme.  The artists’ films Supermen ll (Foreign Investment) and Revisit (Kathy Kenny and Ron den Daas) were installed on a loop in The Grand Shaft, a seldom viewable architectural wonder: 3 spiral staircases interwoven in a circle around a central shaft running from the top of Western Heights down to sea level. We also ran a free filmmaking workshop for young deaf and disabled filmmakers highlighting Screen South’s uScreen programme.

The 7 films made during the workshop will be shown as part of the BBC LOCOG Big Screen rolling programme in Dover’s Market Square, with a special screening on 16 October. Having lobbied hard to get the screen to Dover, DAD continues to create content for this valuable resource.

A particular feature of our work over the past six months has been our work with students, very much a two-way process. There is a lot of talk at the moment about the ethics of unpaid internships. DAD always includes a budget to pay for work done and is also very clear about the terms of any volunteering. In the case of the UCA students who came on board as a volunteer film crew in July for Watermark, DAD paid for accommodation, meals and travel. All the students involved in the Watermark story shop have had an opportunity to make work for the BBC LOCOG Big Screen. Work by Marley Showler and Rob Bernard, now graduates, will be shown on the Big Screen on 16 October and then at CineCity in Brighton in November as part of the Digital Film Archive Fund showcase event.

We have also been fortunate in having two paid interns, Joe Love and Cathy Rogers, through UCA and are planning to engage a third. Where we can, we offer paid opportunities to young artists or students, for example, Bethany Chater and Max Kimber, who helped invigilate at the artists’ films installed in the Grand Shaft in July.

We can now officially announce that Alma Tischler Wood was commissioned for the North Downs Way End-of-Trail Marker. The Marker consists of a cast iron 1.2-metre diameter plaque with symbols representing the Trail and an 8-metre long black granite “start/finish” line. These two elements successfully complement both the existing swimmers statue by Ray Smith (1995) and the new esplanade by architects Tonkin Liu, creating a purposeful and playful arrival at the seafront for pedestrians emerging from the town via the underpass or departure point for those setting off into town.

The Marker has been much praised by Robert Adams, of the Dover-based family firm Adams the Printers, now run by his son Jim. “The siting of this marker is superb, being an integral part of the promenade regeneration. The choice of materials gives the marker gravitas. The typeface chosen creates dignity, clarity and timelessness. The execution of the lettering is craftmanship of the highest order. Congratulations.”

The first part of our North Downs Way local involvement programme is now complete. Local schools were invited to be inspired by the North Downs Way and develop creative responses to their exploration of both the rural and urban spaces of the trail around Dover. The pupils responses resulted in an exhibition of work in the Centurion House Box Gallery, with some pieces from both schools being acquired by Dover Museum.

Thankfully, we finally finished the reporting for Résider/Reside although we are still waiting for the money!

We are grateful to all of our sponsors and supporters:

Your Heritage Lottery Fund, Screen South, Kent Film Office, UK Film Council, Sea Change Dover, Dover District Council, Kent County Council, uScreen, Accentuate, Dover Town Council, English Heritage, University for the Creative Arts, University of Kent,  Dover Museum, Seeda, KETV