DAD Overview Spring 2010

DAD has been really busy since the New Year, working on several projects concurrently. Résider/Reside, with artists Pierre-Yves Brest and Sharon Haward, finished in December and we’re still working on the reporting. As with all interreg projects, the reporting is time consuming and we have to show spending to be in line with the initial forecast, phase by phase and line by line. All reporting for the new Interreg programme has to be done using a new online tool that is not the most transparent. It is very bureaucratic and like all interreg projects there’s always a big question mark around when one will actually get the funding as it is paid out long after the money has been spent. We really did enjoy the project though. A key aspect within the project was “mediation”, something that has been central to DAD in developing the arts in Dover. Having become aware, through previous projects with our French partners, espace36, of the French understanding of cultural mediation, which includes audience development activities and participatory art forms, it was decided that mediation would be an essential part of Résider/Reside. Lucy Platel, the UK mediator, worked with artists Pierre-Yves Brest and Sharon Haward to gain an understanding of their work. For the closing event she developed an engaging performance piece out of her mediation work with the public which reclaimed mediation as an aspect of practice. We produced a bi-lingual project publication, designed by Edda Jones, which you can download on this page.

At the end of 2009, DAD was brought in to act as consultants in commissioning an End-of-trail marker for the North Downs Way National Trail. For many years, those walking the entire North Downs Way either via Folkestone or Canterbury from Farnham will have arrived in Dover’s Market Square and perhaps felt something of an anti-climax at the lack of a clear end point and marker of their achievement This is about to change with the commissioning of a piece of work to mark the new finish of the North Downs Way on Dover’s Seafront. The site for the marker is on the new Esplanade designed by architects Tonkin Liu. The commissioned artist and details of the design will be announced soon. DAD has obtained some additional money from the Sea Change Dover programme to run a local involvement project relating to the new end-of-trail marker. School pupils will take part in a walk along a section of the North Downs Way, ending at the site for the marker on Doverʼs Sea Front, near the Swimmers statue. They will be recording their experience of the walk in a variety of ways and the results will be exhibited during August in the Centurion House box gallery which lies on the North Downs Way trail between Dover’s Market Square and the sea front. DAD is also creating a handy pocket-sized guide to the North Downs Way Trail: A new map of the full trail showing the amended route and position of the new end of trail marker is being developed. The printed-version will be composed of available data (traditional routes and heritage sites, etc.) and newly developed content to explore the urban routes of the trail and their specific cultural value. The online-version (to view on-screen or download) will include an interactive map featuring specially-commissioned still, video and audio content as well as links to further online sources.

The “Recreation” shop closed on February 27th 2010 but “Remade in Dover” lives on! Remade in Dover is in the process of establishing a commercial venture – possibly a Community Interest Company (CIC) under the management of Edda Jones. Remade in Dover, the joint pilot project between DAD and Dover Pride, which championed upcycling and design, was a great success. A specially commissioned edition of upcycled souvenirs from Dover is being developed. Six designer-makers and artists have been invited to develop work so far: Kerry Brock and Sam Bole – two of the Remade in Dover upcycling champions; Esther Coombs – who presented work at the shop and went on to mentor Sam and Kerry; as well as Caron Ottewell, Marlene Hargrave and Clare Smith. Pop-up style souvenir displays will be set up in various locations in town.

In the meantime the Bench street shop was transformed for a week in March into a film studio for Watermark, our documentary film about Buckland Mill. Buckland Mill was a successful paper making factory, world famous for its Conqueror brand. A large employer, the Mill closed in 2000 when production was transferred to Scotland, leaving many people in Dover without a job. After much planning and research, our “story shop” opened on 15 March, with an oral history workshop led by Dr Tim Strangleman from the University of Kent. We invited local film makers to take part and the day was also an induction day for the 6 UCA students who came on board as crew to work with filmmaker Marianne Kapfer and sound artist Robert Jarvis. We are looking forward to the short films that the students will be producing to show on the Dover BBC LOCOG Big Screen as teasers to create interest in our forthcoming film. On 16 March the “story shop” was open for business. Over 30 interviews with former employees were filmed over 5 days and what emerged from their “stories ” was the strong sense of community and security that working at the Mill provided for generations of families that worked there. We scanned scores of photos and were brought super-8 film footage of a “normal” working day inside the factory, which we are digitising to use in the film. The story shop became a hub and meeting point for many former employees. Two further weeks of filming is planned for July, which will include an evening reunion event with former employees on 23rd July.

And finally it has been proposed that Dover Pride’s Centurion House Box Gallery, will be “Programmed by DAD“. It is absolutely fantastic to have such a contemporary space in Dover. The quote below describes a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw but can as well be applied to the Centurion House box Gallery with it’s 3 shop windows providing 14 meters of glass frontage and viewable day and night 7 days a week:

Briefly pausing while passing by, attracted yet still keeping one’s distance. Each window a separate creation. Display windows have always been places of exposition. Filled with items, products or information they catch the hasty gaze of the passer-by and demand attention. The objects seem close enough to grasp and yet remain out of reach. Display windows are places of longing, of projection and of desire. Glass partitions create an inside and an outside and at the same time allow the product area to become a quasi-imaginative space.”