DAD Spring Newsletter 2014

Dominic de Vere’s film arrived and surprised us all!

Wonderful when you give an artist a commission to make a project film. Dominic’s film War & Peace is made up from the fragments from the many strands of the DAD War & Peace project while being an individual reflection on War & Peace. It marked the end of the project, but as with most good projects, the end is the beginning of others. Peter Sheppard Skaerved referred in his appreciation to the opportunity the project had offered and the turning point it had been in his, Malene Sheppard Skaerved’s and Nigel Clarke’s artistic journeys. “It seemed that Dover’s role as a ‘cinching-point’, a bottleneck for arrival and departure, for invasion and adventuring, its constant re-invention, offered us opportunities and challenges in our own practice. …. Plans are developing for further events flowering from the enrichment of working with Dover, and with DAD.” One of these was when Peter and Malene returned for the salon Keep Going which took place in the project space Clare has made available for wider use above her studio and which is captured in the beautiful film of the same name by Ewan Golder. The other is the Kickstarter campaign by award winning composer Nigel Clarke to commercially record his and Malene Sheppard Skaerved’s DAD commission Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight along with a new composition commissioned by the Belgian brass band Buizingen. ‘The Scarlet Flower‘ (Concertino for Flugel Horn & String Orchestra) is inspired by the story of World War 1 British nurse Edith Cavell’s last hours before being executed by firing squad in October 1915. Cavell had been arrested and sentenced to death after helping 200 British soldiers escape from occupied Belgian territory, although it was acknowledged by both sides of the conflict that she had also helped hundreds of wounded allied and German soldiers without distinction. Her famous clarion call: “Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone,” is inscribed on her statue in St Martin’s Place, near Trafalgar Square in London. The Kickstarter campaign successfully reached the £4000 target thanks to 49 pledges, many of which were from Dover and DAD supporters, which means the recordings can go ahead. Peter also returned to give a composition workshop to St Mary’s C of E Dover as part of the Nautical Threads project. The aim of the workshop was to encourage class teachers to incorporate pitched instruments into composition lessons and meet national curriculum objectives. As a follow-up the school’s head of music delivered a presentation to the rest of teachers about implementing the composition element of music in the new national curriculum and said that “The workshop had the required impact.”

Phase 2 of Nautical Threads enabled 8 teachers to undertake Arts Award Adviser training and most of the drawing workshops and all of Dan Simpson’s concrete poetry workshops for pupils have now been delivered. The main event during this phase was The Raising of the Ghost Ship “Lady Lovibond” on 29 March, an interactive street theatre event, to search for and rescue the legendary ghost ship by calling to the Captain and his bride to entice them back to land.

As part of the preparations for the event, a lantern-making workshop led by Simon Everett took place at Astor for teachers in the six schools that wanted to take part. They then made lanterns with pupils in their own schools.

Pupils also took part in preparatory workshops involving performance, filmmaking, nonsense poetry and storytelling facilitated by artists Loren Beven and Kati Saqui from Underground Pearl, who we commissioned to devise the event itself together with Petra Matthews Crow from Astor and the Dover Rowing Club. Performers included Sebastian Fairley, Finely Guy and Owen Dawson from Astor, the Landmark Show Choir and Maddie’s Melody Makers, Year-3 Pupils from St Mary’s CEP and Barry O’Brien of Dover Tales who read the story of Lady Lovibond. The procession was led off by Big Fish Street Band from the Isle of Sheppey and we were also joined by the Dover greeters and marshals from the Sheppey EMU’s (Event Marshalling Unit).

As Nautical threads nears its end, Tania McCormack will be delivering more of her wonderful drawing workshops which have really encouraged teachers to work big and Underground Pearl will be running more of their workshops in which text and image are intertwined, with pupils working together collaboratively in teams. Still to come are exhibitions at Deal and Dover libraries of the textile pieces, a main output of the project.

Our exciting ongoing relationship with UCA continues: last November, 4 of the 6 practitioners in the Collaborative Research Group came to visit us in Dover for a “Walk and Talk” about DAD and the work we do. One of the group, Louisa Love, has now joined the Dover Big Local ART31 group, formed as a result of the first Arts & Culture focus group meeting facilitated by DAD. More Dover Big Local ART31 meetings will be taking place to develop a two-year project as part of the Dover Big Local Plan. Other focus groups have also been meeting to look at other topics. One of the expressed wishes for Dover is an extended skate park. An added bonus of Joanna’s Le Havre trip with UCA was talking to urban architect Jeffrey Adjei who has now linked Dover into his Skate Link, skating across borders ICR EKCC skating project with East Kent and Le Havre.

The European dimension to our work keeps growing: we went to Lille in November to visit Nicolette Picheral who we had come to know through the Dover and Dunkerque Beacons & Borders project last summer. We took the opportunity to meet up with Pierre-Yves Brest at the same time and saw his new exhibition Opus Incertum. Pierre-Yves worked with DAD in 2009 on the Reside/Résider project. This year he has been invited by the students association of the “Ecole Nationale Superieure de la Photographie” to curate their WIP exhibition, which is part of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie: Fringe. This has led to DAD working together with the UCA EKCC initiative and the AEENSP in Arles on a student exchange. On April 30th Nikita Shergill, a photography student at UCA Rochester, was selected to show her work in the WIP exhibition and undertake a residency in Arles in the summer. We will be selecting a student from the AEENSP to undertake a residency in Dover and a joint exhibition involving both exchange students is planned in Folkestone as part of the Folkestone Fringe in September/October during the Folkestone Triennial.

Our French presence was further widened with a short film made in December about us for France’s La Voix du Nord Internet TV. Although we have worked with many German artists DAD had never been to Germany until April, when we gave a performance presentation and workshop at TDU3 in Breklum. We were included in a programme of inspirational speakers and new music by Walter Zimmerman performed by the Sonar Quartet, who also framed the evenings’ talks with improvisations of their own.

Improvisation and play underpinned the second Spontaneous Creativity workshop with Francois le Roux and Dover based Flautist Paul Cheneour: poetry and drawing becoming part of the mix along with music and movement.

Music and movement is the inspiration behind DAD4DADs, our new project with dance company Jasmin Vardimon. This new partnership is a result of the 2 organisations getting to know each other through the City of Culture 2017 bid. Although the bid was not successful the connections made have empowered relationships throughout the district. A pilot to assess the feasibility of delivering an East-Kent wide programme for fathers aimed at increasing confidence in their role as men and providing alternative routes to personal development has just been completed with funding from Dover Big Local and 3 Dover Town Councillor’s ward grants. The project is for fathers/dads of all ages and from across all demographics bringing them into a world of conversation and communication. Musician Richard Bundy and JV dancer Luke Burroughs used music and movement to explore what it is to be a father in a one-day workshop in Dover on May 3rd . Greg Stobbs aka Squirl was scribe – all 3 artists are dads and we will be looking for more dads to get involved as the project grows across the district. Ashford next for the pilot and Dover for phase 2!

We are enjoying being involved in the Up on the Downs landscape heritage project. While on heritage, we have just heard that ACE and KCC have awarded us funding for a 2-year WW1 project with DMAG (The Dover Museum and Arts group) starting now! More on this very exciting project in six months time!

Last but not least we are proud to have been nominated, shortlisted and highly commended for The People of Dover Awards 2014. Thank you to the whoever nominated us and everyone who supported us.

We would also like to thank all our funders.

Photos: Kate Beaugie, Paul Cheneour, Joanna Jones, Clare Smith