7 Soggy Pilgrims visit DAD

The DAD urban room

DAD was delighted to offer a cup of tea and a piece of cake to 7 ‘soggy pilgrims’ in its Urban room on a very wet Monday  June 10th.

The Green Pilgrimage group, who are particularly interested in how the arts can enhance their pilgrims trails, had previously in the day visited Surrey Hills and the Ash project. There were partners from Norway and Norfolk who introduced their projects and DAD was able to introduce CHALKUP21 its art  & architecture trail that uses the North Downs Way and England Coastal Path,  linking 9 contemporary structures that have been built this century along the trails including the North Downs Way end of trail marker on Dover’s sea front.  DAD was involved with the callout and selection of the artist for the  North Downs Way End of Trail Marker commission in 2010 – 2011. Alma Tischlerwood won the commission and has just completed a second public art work in Kearsney Abbey in Dover part of Dover District Council’s Arts Council funded Art in the Park Kearsney Interpreted. Pete Morris, the North Downs Way manager,  organised the visit that led to a lively exchange around the table of some of the problems and pitfalls of projects involving artists as well as the added value that their projects are able to bring to the trails. As DAD is the work of two artists, DAD finds itself in the unusual position of being able to appreciate the perspective of the artist and the commissioner, something that is becoming increasingly relevant.

Catherine Bradley, Lead of the Green Pilgrimage Project, said “Inspiring Art such as the Ash to Ash sculptures at White Horse Wood County Park or Percy Pilgrim at Harrietsham, really bring a Pilgrim route to life.  They help pilgrims connect with the landscape around them, the heritage, and the culture through moments of reflection and personal contemplation.  We really hope to provide more inspirational art along Kent’s pilgrim trails

Green Pilgrimage is a European interreg project and the summary below comes from the project website.

Green Growth and Pilgrimage  –  The continued fragility of Europe’s economy means that growth and development policies often take precedence over environmental policies, threatening cultural and natural heritage assets.

The Green Pilgrimage (GP) project will show how growth and development policies can economically exploit AND protect natural and cultural heritage. Key to this is our focus on the power of pilgrimage – recognized today as one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry (UNWTO, 2015) with more than 300 million pilgrims every year.

Now is the time to harness the power and potential of religious tourism to make a positive difference in the world.’ United Nations World Tourism Organisation

The Power of Pilgrimage  –  Ancient pilgrim routes such as The Way of St James to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, report an annual 10% increase in numbers, particularly among non-religious. Harnessing this increased popularity to protect natural and cultural heritage is a common challenge faced by those responsible for Europe’s major pilgrimage routes. GP will show policy makers how to protect natural and cultural heritage whilst developing jobs and growth along pilgrim routes through developing low impact tourism, digitalization, pilgrim accommodation and strengthening local traditions. This reconnects pilgrims with their environment, landscape and culture.

For more information