DAD Overview Spring 2013

A few people have pointed out to us that it is time for our Spring overview!

A highlight  at the beginning of the year was the invitation from ALISN to be part of Sublet at the London Art Fair. The artist-led projects that made up Sublet were described as a selection of the “most sophisticated artist-led projects in the UK.”

We decided to showcase work by six photographers who have had residencies with DAD in Dover since 2007. Philippe Bazin, Götz Diergarten and Laura Padgett – were among the five artists chosen for the DAD photography commissions 07-08, the project that really launched DAD and the beginning of an ongoing relationship with some of the best photographers in France and Germany. Nigel Green worked with DAD on Sea & Walk, a project which contextualised the optimism of the new architectural development of Dover’s Esplanade by London-based architects Tonkin Liu with reference to vernacular Modernist Buildings along the North Downs Way – the trail now starting and finishing on Dover’s seafront. Pierre Yves-Brest was selected for DAD’s third cross-border project with France, Reside/Résider, and his work examined ideas around longing and desire from both sides of the Channel. Matthias Koch and Götz Diergarten are counted amonst the renowned contemporary photographers coming out of the German Becher school. Koch recently undertook a three-week residency in Dover as part of DAD’s ongoing War & Peace project which aims to deconstruct Dover’s multi-layered history as peaceful industrial town, seaport for generations of arrivals and departures, and defensive military stronghold in times of war. Koch and Diergarten both feature in the film: The photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher by Marianne Kapfer, who also directed DAD’s award- winning documentary feature film Watermark.

Taking part in a commercial project like the London Art Fair was new for us and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience of talking to existing friends of DAD and making new contacts. We were pleased to be able to represent the photographers’ Dover portfolios and it has prompted us to consider our sustainability. We have set up a fledgling online “shop” which we plan to develop.

The experimental, exploratory phase of the Prosper-funded Tree with a View, a contemplative tree sculpture proposed by visual artist Alma Tischler Wood, in collaboration with DAD and sustainable architect, Jonathan Deacon, for The Bay Trust at St Margaret’s Bay, continued to the end of March. In December, Alma ran a visioning workshop at the Pines Tea rooms to help shape ideas for the development of the prototype tree sculpture. The resulting drawings were exhibited along with Jonathan’s model and drawings by pupils from St Peter’s School, Walworth, at Marine Studios, Margate on 15 and 16 February. The Year-5 pupils at St Peters had taken part in an earlier workshop in which the children looked closely at trees and explored their visions of tree constructions. In celebration of the connection between the urban and rural communities, along the A2 from East London down to East Kent and Dover, the resulting drawings and poems were exhibited in the Children’s Library in Dover. The pupils, who had taken part in a week’s enviromental education course at Rippledown visited the exhibition and were proud and excited to see their work on show announced by a “proper poster.”

Tree with a View also gave rise to an informal afternoon tea discussion, Elective Affinities, with a selection of invited guests to discuss the vexed questions of sustainability and contemplative spaces at LIMBO in the context of Crate and Limbo’s proposed joint-development of new artists’ studio spaces in Bilton Square, Margate. For DAD this was a great opportunity to co-host an event with Limbo and Crate.

DAD is now in its seventh year. Over the years, we have given several talks about our work and are getting pretty good at the tech side of things: everything went smoothly at the talks we were recently invited to give. First to the Dover Society, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary and is greatly respected within the town, and two days later to the Turner Contemporary team.

We were delighted to be invited to join the Steering Committee for the Inspire programme, the schools legacy programme for the Olympics Pass the Passion project. Clare now sits on the steering committee and cultural subgroup helping to concretely shape its cultural strand. DAD was asked by Artswork, the Southeast bridge organisation, to organise workshops for the 10 schools wanting to register for Artsmark. The workshops were designed as experiential creative workshops and as a consultation to inform the Inspire programme and ensure the pupil voice was included. The workshops all had to be organised and delivered in March. DAD engaged three practitioners – Greg Stobbs, Anne Muddiman and Diane Mae Bundy – who delivered the workshops collaboratively in pairs, something the practitioners found immensely rewarding. We also engaged Miles Umney, who is currently doing his Curatorial Internship with DAD, and two recent UCA graduates, Charley Vines and Jack Coulson to collect evidence (photos, video).

Our current project, War & Peace, with its many strands, continues. Korinna McRobert has successfully taken her film ReFraming out into the world. Amongst its several screenings was one at Clare’s former college, King’s college, Cambridge as part of this year’s International Women’s Day programme. Dominic de Vere has completed an intriguing project film trailer and Matthew Sharp, director of the Deal Festival delivered a highly successful composition and improvisation workshop at Dover Boy’s Grammar, with Miles Umney once again taking photos and making a video. Joanna has been working on her new work in the studio while Malene Skaerved has been developing her stories and Nigel Clark his composition. We have booked the Town Hall for the premier concert on Friday 11 October 2013. Save the date!

Other War & Peace dates for your diary are 5 May 2013, a free one day workshop in spontaneous creativity with South Africa’s HA!Man and Dover’s Zen Collective. We are delighted at the opportunity to bring these artists’ respective experiences in the field of open improvisation together to facilitate a collective process, a communicative experience that will weave all the levels of skill and particular gifts of the participants into a growing body of music and final performance at the end of the day. To Book your FREE place click: http://spontaneouscreativity.eventbrite.com/

28 and 29 September 2013 for La Compagnie PAR LE MOT’s production in the Drop Redoubt and Grand Shaft in Dover. The performances will be in the afternoon and we will be sending you details nearer the time. French artist and storyteller, Nicolette Picheral will be working with director Stéphane Vérité and accomplished solo guitarist Colin Hinds, who has recently come to live in Dover.

East Kent is developing an innovative bid to become UK City of Culture 2017. An initial expression of interest was submitted on 28 February with the first phase bid to be submitted by April 30th. The vision is one of “a city imagined” – a city of boundless imagination, a city of inspiration, of innovation, collaboration and growth. One that celebrates all the work that artists and arts organisations have been doing and builds on that with KCC and Canterbury, Ashford, Shepway, Dover and Thanet Councils. DAD is delighted to have been invited to be part of the steering group.
The muf art/architecture Dover Cultural Survey and Framework that was adopted by DDC in 2011 continues to provide a basis on which projects can be developed. For those of you on Twitter you can join the 2017 conversation using hashtag #EKculture2017

Finally, as residents of Dover, we are very excited about Dover Big Local: a National Lottery award of £1m which is for Dover residents to decide how it should be spent on projects in Dover town centre that make a lasting difference to the community. If you would like to get involved, or know more, click here

We are grateful to our funders, partners and friends for all their support.