Listen, friend We hold this truth To be self-evident That a person Who has a story Requires space – To start We set this out A simple requirement In language That in justice As it is told A person’s story Be accorded Its place.
REFLECTING ON LIFE CYCLES & LANDSCAPES
David Herd, written as a prologue for the publication Refugee Tales a source of inspiration for And Now:, referenced in the Wayfaring commission. refugeetales.org/about–refugee–tales
That’s where we begin Think of it as A basic entitlement Like walking Telling stories Occupying the landscape In the heat of the sun – Out of Canterbury To reassert The ancient covenant That the State As it is constituted Shall not detain Indefinitely. It’s where we start out That people might Simply circulate Not stigmatised For seeking asylum In this straunge stronde But listened to As they tell their tales That hearing we might shape A polity – Tender Real Comprehending welcome. Design: lostandfoundcreative.co.uk
E S S A Y S Beginnings and endings… Kate Wood and Bill Gee, Activate Performing Arts/Inside Out Dorset festival Wayfaring: a journey of discovery for the Dorset AONB Tom Munro, Dorset AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) One moment: Mandy Dike, And Now: Where are you? You are here! Ben Rigby, And Now: Outside: working across boundaries – art and landscape Lucy Galvin, Norfolk Coast AONB Taking Time – Culture Shock – Rituals Kees Lesuis and Marin de Boer, Oerol festival, Netherlands Engaging with the landscape: why art is vital Howard Davies, National Association for AONBs Inside the landscape Adam Stout, writer
PHOTO CAPTIONS AND CREDITS, FUNDERS AND PARTNERS
This book of essays has been produced in order to reflect on the experience of an ambitious three–year landscape art project, Life Cycles and Landscapes, which had a major commission – Wayfaring – at its heart. The project culminated in 2018, with presentations of Wayfaring at Wells in Norfolk, on the Dutch island of Terschelling, at Basildon Park in the Thames Valley, and Maiden Castle in Dorset, with an earlier iteration at Top Parts in Dorset in 2016. The project was produced by Activate Performing Arts, creators of the Inside Out Dorset festival, in partnership with the artists And Now: – Mandy Dike and Ben Rigby – and the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).
Using local and found materials the artists crafted installations that audiences could move through, investigate and contribute to, culminating in a resolution event with music and performance, and where possible, with fire – although the use of fire was limited by working in such precious and significant landscapes. Schools’ and outreach programmes were developed for each site, working with the local partners and involving over two thousand participants.
Life Cycles and Landscapes and Wayfaring have been a journey of exploration, inspired by the present landscape and ancient routes of the Icknield Way, which runs from North Norfolk (and possibly the Frisian Islands of the Netherlands) to the Dorset Coast and has existed since pre–Roman times. Journeying along these routes, artists And Now: created a series of artworks inviting audiences to think about movement and migration – how we arrive at, understand, inhabit and leave a space.
The initial phases of the project included a range of residencies, creative labs and professional development including a creative lab with Arts University Bournemouth students, and another lab with artists and producers in the Chilterns. A final seminar brought together key people from the landscape and heritage sectors, cultural producers and artists to share the experience of the project and plan for the future.
Wayfaring took place at a series of locations: those in the UK were all within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the sites speak of the opportunities and tensions present in the countryside today. The route surfed the leading edge of the chalk geology along the interwoven trackways and paths that connect the many archaeological and historic sites.
As well as the lead partners, Activate, And Now: and the National Association for AONBs, the project also involved Norfolk Coast AONB, the North Wessex Downs AONB, the Chilterns AONB and Dorset AONB. Key commissioning partners were Oerol festival in the Netherlands; the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, and Corn Exchange Newbury with 101 Outdoor Arts.
All the partners provided considerable support both financially and in–kind. The whole project would not have been possible however, without the contribution of Arts Council England as part of their Ambition for Excellence funding programme. Thanks also to the LAND project funded by Creative Europe, the Ernest Cook Trust, Dorset Council and Sura Medura for their contributions, to Arts University Bournemouth, and to site partners Holkham Estate (Wells, Norfolk), English Heritage (Maiden Castle, Dorset) and the National Trust (Basildon Park, Thames Valley).
FOR MORE INFORMATION You can find out more about the project on the Activate website: www.activateperformingarts.org.uk/ project/life-cycles-landscapes And Now: contact: email@example.com
ESSAYS DEPICTING A JOURNEY OF EXPLORATION INSPIRED BY THE PRESENT LANDSCAPE & ANCIENT ROUTES O F T H E I C K N I E L D WAY
BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS…
Kate Wood, Executive and Artistic Director, Activate Bill Gee, Co–Artistic Director, Inside Out Dorset
Activate’s relationship with the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) family started over 14 years ago when we first embarked on producing a festival of extraordinary events in extraordinary places: Inside Out Dorset. In 2005 we began to think about the county towns and landscapes as inspiration for a festival of outdoor performance work and it was then that we approached the Dorset AONB to support us in commissioning a work to be made on Hambledon Hill – an iron–age hillfort in North Dorset. The AONB granted us some funding for our first festival in 2007 and a new chapter in Activate’s story began.
This led to a growing partnership between Activate and the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which became the site for more of our work, presenting extraordinary events on the Jurassic Coast in 2008, 2010 and 2012. By this time, the Dorset AONB team had set their sights on developing a ‘landscape partnership scheme’ focusing on the South Dorset Ridgeway and partly, on a plan to help raise its profile. They invited us into the partnership and we discussed an opportunity to commission new art works in the landscape to help them ‘celebrate the Ridgeway’. A successful bid was made to the Heritage Lottery Fund and it was at this stage we began the journey that led us to working with And Now: who made one of the nine commissioned art works that created the Ridgeway Responses trail in the 2014 festival. And Now: working with natural materials created Barrow, inviting visitors to contemplate death, set on the ‘ceremonial landscape’ around Little Bredy. It was clear Barrow was rooted in place and our relationship to place and that And Now: understood how to create evocative art that resonated and ‘worked with’ the landscape.
We invited the artistic directors of Oerol festival in the Netherlands and Le Citron Jaune’s festival Les Envies Rhonement in France to come and see the work and this led to two things happening: we convened a trip for Mandy from And Now: to visit Oerol and we then contacted Mandy and Ben to talk to them about ‘what next’: what ambitions did the two organisations have and might there be a collective interest in creating a larger scale project together? ‘Yes’, was the answer and our next step was to call Tom at Dorset AONB and talk through some ideas. By late 2015 we had developed a proposal that exceeded a Dorset based project and became more ambitious. Might other AONBs and other arts commissioners be interested in working with artists that wanted to explore our relationship with landscape and create work that was both a provocation to the audience, and to landscape guardians? We also wanted to embed a developmental aspect into the project to encourage more AONBs to collaborate with artists and to share knowledge about this practice amongst the artistic community.
In 2016, we had the support of the National Association for AONBs and the somewhat nervous assent of some of their members that sat along the ‘Icknield Way’ – the ancient super–highway, a trade route following the chalk ridgeway from Dorset to the Norfolk Coast. The Icknield Way had become our narrative line that connected the landscapes and on into the Frisian Islands, home of the Oerol festival. Activate had spent many years working in partnerships, but this particular model, with an ambitious, large commission and working across the country in this way, was new to us. It was unsurprisingly a challenge and with some of the funding not coming to fruition, there were areas of our ambition we were not able to realise. However, when reflecting back on what we originally conceived, we achieved a remarkable amount and met most of the objectives we set out in our funding application to our principal funder: Arts Council England. In fact, we exceeded some of our expectations in certain areas.
ESSAYS We had not expected the scale of the commission at Oerol to increase significantly, we had not expected to be writing a Creative Europe application and start a new European partnership that brought in Le Citron Jaune and the PLACCC festival in Budapest together with Oerol. We had not expected that Arts University Bournemouth would take the residency model we created with them in 2017 and embed it into a residency they run in–house, annually. We hoped that the AONB family would be inspired to add arts into their management plans – we had not expected the warmth of reception that there is now after initial nerves subsided – and the ambitions we now have together. Now 14 years after our introduction to this unique family, we can see this is not an ending, but a new beginning and a set of new relationships with AONBs, who are guardians of some of our most precious landscapes.
I n this experience I saw things differently, I learned, I connected, I grew as a person and developed a feeling of belonging to my community.” Comment from a volunteer
WAYFARING: A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY FOR THE DORSET AONB Tom Munro, Manager Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership
A damp, misty, cold and windy prospect was in store for the people gathered at the foot of Dorset’s Maiden Castle as the autumn solstice dusk descended. These people – old and young – had come to view, experience and participate in an extraordinary event, an occasion which took us to the top of this windswept hill fort for an unusual communal happening.
While this final iteration of Wayfaring was the culmination of the live works of Life Cycles and Landscapes, it had its roots back in 2014 when And Now: built Barrow as part of Activate’s Inside Out Dorset outdoor arts festival. In this year the focus was celebrating the archaeology–rich South Dorset Ridgeway linked to a large funded programme of conservation, celebration, interpretation and education led by Dorset AONB Partnership. The foundations for this went back further still, to the AONB Partnership’s first tentative support for an Inside Out Dorset performance work on another hill fort in North Dorset in 2007. The experiences of 2007 and 2014 fed into a growing sense that we need alternative means to encourage people’s connection with this landscape (protected in the national interest for its natural beauty). The AONB Partnership has had success and influence while communicating in terms of policy, strategy and facts, but we were speaking to a narrow audience in dry terms. Our partnerships with Inside Out Dorset led to an expression of, and interaction with, the landscape’s beauty which spoke to people on a visceral, emotional level.
The South Dorset Ridgeway programme enabled And Now: to return to the site of Barrow around the autumn equinox of 2016 with a work exploring farming, food and our relationship to land. Their temporary settlement of this brow amid the ancient round barrows and strip lynchets reached thousands of people; the finale held together an audience of culture buffs, farm contractors fresh from silage cropping, conservationists and villagers with wonder, awe, intrigue and humour. By the following spring, Activate had landed the funding commitment from Arts Council England through the Ambition for Excellence programme and Life Cycles and Landscapes was born. Aside from some input to planning and plotting, I took on the role of ‘land steward’ in the spring 2017 residency with Arts University Bournemouth to give environmental advice to the participating students. Their closing works reflected their interest in the woodland that was their site and a desire to act sensitively within it, while using And Now:’s tools of pyrotechnics, light, performance and sound.
Soon after we were scouting for locations for the big Wayfaring installation–happening, a full 18 months ahead of its date. We explored open sites which needed to be accessible to a large number of people, would hold And Now:’s work and for which the landowner and other stakeholders would have been supportive. As is the nature of Dorset’s landscape, the more iconic sites tended to have protections for their historic (archaeological) and wildlife interest. We settled on Maiden Castle to the south of Dorchester, for its proximity to the town and its accessibility. It’s an immense Iron Age hillfort developed over centuries from 2,800 years ago, with marks of much older Neolithic use (6,000 years old): it’s known as the largest and most complex hillfort in Britain. Its chalky ramparts are recognised for the quality of the herb–rich grassland but the fort’s interior had been cultivated for several years from the 1940s. This meant the grassland wasn’t of ‘wildlife quality’ and potential near–surface archaeology had been turned by the plough. Continued overleaf
ESSAYS The deeper we looked into the site, however, the more complex the ownership and stewardship turned out to be. It is part of the Duchy of Cornwall’s estate, leased to English Heritage who in turn sub–let the grazing rights to a neighbouring farmer. English Heritage had also recently been split to create Historic England alongside it as the agency who would permit or deny our plans depending on how they affected the site’s historic importance. What followed was a long series of negotiations: landowner permission, leaseholder permission and Scheduled Monument consent. I saw my role as one of broker and occasionally referee, setting up contact between the artists and producers, landowners and leaseholders and permit–providers. Most complex – and a potential deal–breaker – was the Scheduled Monument consent. Historic England were keen to ensure the installation and de–rig left no metal, ash, charcoal, nor should any fires have any heating effect on the soils, which took a lot of compromise, assurance and promise from the artists and producers. While it was nail–bitingly close to the final date that permission was granted, it was worth it: it was an extraordinary place to host an extraordinary artwork.
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This isn’t the last time we’ll work with artists to celebrate, interpret and engage about this spectacular landscape, how people use it and the issues it faces. Each occasion has been wholly rewarding for us as a team both as part of the audience and seeing its effect on others. As an audience member each has been an opportunity to step away from team plans, budget spreadsheets and comments on planning applications to see the landscape through different eyes, to be inspired and uplifted. As a supporter and part of the team which helped bring these to fruition, it’s been an opportunity to influence and emotionally engage a wide variety of people in the things that make this place special.
I ended the evening with a sense of inner calm and a feeling of my insignificant place in the landscape; real food for thought. The feeling of journey and what it means to so many of the world’s oppressed people was profound.” Comment from an audience member
Exactly what comes next depends on opportunity: we’re celebrating the Dorset AONB’s 60th year in 2019 and will engage artists in this, we’ve funding bids developing for large–scale programmes which will have arts embedded through them and the presence of Inside Out Dorset and our relationship with Activate Performing Arts provide great scope for future collaboration.
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Mandy Dike, Lead Artist, And Now:
The routeway, a braid of paths creating connection across a landscape built of once living now dead bodies, minute corpses laid down in warm tropical seas ... so many thousands of years ago. Coccoliths like snow, living and dying, settling down in layers, drifting onto the older surfaces below, these bleached chalk white reclining beds eventually becoming exposed to the atmosphere ... soft, sensuous and forgiving, yielding to wind and rain and then humans and their agriculture, rolling out, curving smooth, and when very much later opened by quarrymen still smelling of the ancient sea.
A land made up of myriad cells, circular structures with centres ... nuclei ... these shapes scaled up and seemingly translated into circular meeting places, places to bury the dead or play at the hunt, places to communicate, nodes for exchange, places to make practices that reason our existence ... places to ‘be’ other than just in our bodies, places to focus our part in a connected whole, us being part of the sky, the land, outer places, the cosmos, the underworld, the other–worlds, the ground below, the earth energy together ... We made temporary ephemeral spaces along this route that welcomed anybody and created the possibility of conversation, open dialogues consonant with the landscape they were manifesting from. The works were fleetingly bold, circular, lifting up from the surface, like a splash, or a cell, a series of vibrations moving out from one point. The making of the installations was in full view and very much part of the whole ... we consciously found and created our own rituals, we doused
and divined meaning where we could, we travelled with trust and our gut instincts, creating moments to be experienced not consumed, we moved on and left little behind. In North Norfolk along from where sea henge had exposed itself and then been removed in the name of ‘heritage’ and ‘preservation’ we created our first series of circles temporarily imprinted on a restless landscape of low dunes that were being moved on by the wind and water ... a place where the sea came up and all around us twice daily almost leaving us on an island only just connected, how salient this felt at this particular time ... We were in a place where people would have once walked from southern Europe across to Dogger Land and onwards to now Scandinavia, then no boundaries or political barriers, all sorts would have flowed along this open routeway, traversing the edge of the chalklands, drinking the miraculous clear water filtered by so many dead bodies, making and passing through henges, circles, flint mines, burial mounds, holy wells and cursus.
We marked out great circles in the sand, we moved materials using handcarts onto the beach, we walked the space clockwise and anti–clockwise each day, opening and closing it, feeling its particular energy, making rituals as we went ... we dragged and arranged wood from the surrounding estate, and materials gleaned and carried from home, we sorted and arranged, drawing out circles of meaning. People watched, gathered, questioned and sometimes joined in. The outer circle had a diameter of 200 metres, created of many sandcastles, each with a banknote flag flying from its top ... bricks and mortar cost money ... there are those that have and those that have not ... there are those that have two. There are many second homes on the North Norfolk coast and there are many people with no homes moving around this world at the moment, tides come and wash homes away, nothing is permanent.
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ESSAYS The next realm was created by 180 children, they formed circular islands in the sand, imagined inhabitable worlds depicted with chalk, charcoal, cones, shells, feathers and twigs, looking like so many havens, homes or moot points … they started to disappear into the sand and looked like tiny partially excavated henges or microscope slides of marine organisms. The next circle was a red dashed line, formed of painted wooden tiles laid on the sand ... a boundary to be questioned. We were hearing in the news most days how this line was being crossed. These sometimes invisible borders, created by who for what ... peace ... segregation ... ownership, designated areas … a line that creates natives and aliens. Chalk was available so that people could write on this line, they could identify it, name it, or say how it made them feel. Next a ring of 240 paired shoes, each placed as though somebody had just stepped out of them, all facing towards the centre, all the shoes had been worn and walked in, all flecked with gold, precious ... they were like souls ...
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they were anonymous but full of individual character. In this same circle were flexible tripods of hazel with cloth forms suspended, created from beige clothing, they were often running, dancing and flailing in the wind, they were like ghosts, manifestations of peopled energy, people who may have passed through, people who we see moving from one place to another to find safety and a home ... they were looking out, restless, sometimes motionless and resigned. We invited all visitors to write a canvas label, we asked them, “Where have you come from?” not looking for a literal answer, maybe where they felt their roots were ... not necessarily geographic. They then tied the label to one of the suspended cloth people forms, building what became like a diary of a fictional journey … patterns emerged, similar started to accumulate with similar, some sort of sense could be made between what was written and where it was tied ... Inside this circle was a ring we called the Anthropocene, formed of rubbish treasure from the beach, plastics, nets, dog poo bags,
toothbrushes, rope, baler twine, single shoes, gloves, rusty cans, broken glass, beach toys and fibreglass shapes. This ring of rubbish was interspersed with precious shiny shrine boxes set on posts anchored into sand filled whelk pots, looking like small golden beach huts or bird boxes. The reliquaries could be opened, inside each a conversation, what is alien? what is native? what is natural? what will remain? what will fossilise? what we consume and how we are disconnected from its production, the idea of wilderness ... the sacred and profane ... what we hold dear ... these were pictured with humour and labelled with letters cut from magazines making words that steered the dialogues, composed from found objects, and very much playing with the surreal. The next ring formed of tall pine poles planted into the sand all at the same precise angle, all leaning out, opening up to the sky ... held together with a finely tensioned web of rope, like a crown, a spaceship cathedral, a nest, a woodhenge a focus point ... the gaps filled with bunched
Norfolk reeds, tied by busy hands into small bundles, obscuring the inner space ... one entrance to go through into the enclosed centre, sheltered out of the wind, under a framed sky. In the centre a raised slender slab of pale chalk known as Tottenhoe Clunch, wrestled from a quarry in the Chilterns, a hundred million years now exposed, at the centre of this a golden hollow holding a single hazelnut.
We worked to evolve our practice to make it more sustainable, not just the 40 minute spectacle part that we were used to making but creating durational installations, weaving making and performance together. We lived, moved about and dressed as a group, we behaved as a people, the building and forming of the installations was as much a part of the event as the animated Resolution at the culmination of each residency.
Suspended directly above, a ring of a hundred grey squirrel tails, a dream catcher of alien bodyparts ... legally culled not by us ... these clever animals considered an ‘invasive species’ that are being battled with daily up and down the country, just a breath away from the hazelnut, food, nourishment, survival, a home, all that any of us want … a case holding a kernel of life, a new beginning ... a world in itself.
Our work was an incantation for all those who at this moment are seeking safe landfall and also dedicated to the many who have been indefinitely detained while seeking asylum.
This was one installation of four, each a different place in a very connected landscape, each created from local materials and lightweight kit moved from place to place, all made by hand by a team with energetic intention.
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WHERE ARE YOU? YOU ARE HERE!
Ben Rigby, Lead artist, And Now:
So pronounce so many littering signs that go on to tell us the facts and the history of many otherwise inspiring places. Wayfaring took us to Dragon Hill, overlooked by the ancient Uffington white horse in Oxfordshire; according to legend St George slew the Dragon here. On a misty day in October two dozen people unfurl a twenty metre wide piece of fabric and shared their experience of the place: a big red spot, the usual outdoor accompaniment to the statement “You are here!”; a way to provide geographic orientation relative to the landscape, with myths possibly providing cultural orientation relative to a meaningful past. So we know just where we are.
Wayfaring taught me that boundaried conceptions of location in space and time are of only limited use. Modern quantum physics suggests this; so too does watching the tide for a day: art and literature from other times and places communicate thought and feeling between people over great distances. The breadth and variety of our potential connection with other people, life and place seem limitless.
So my knowledge of St George seems to be an ideological by–product of a cynical act of cultural intervention by a heartless adventurist at a time of societal crisis harnessing the imagery of fear and domination in order that the powerful could stay in power. St George has served as the kernel around which English militaristic nationalist culture has condensed ever since.
Anyway, why am I familiar with this scene of this man killing this animal on this hill?
The order of the garter still exists today; the Prince of Wales is a member; he owns Maiden Castle where the last Wayfaring took place; that is where we are.
Edward III was a 14th century king of England. He was a man of great violence and minimal compassion. He had enacted a massacre at the battle of Crecy in 1346 as part of his attempts to rule France in the hundred years war. 1348 saw one third of the population of England die from the black death, Edward’s response was to introduce the Ordinance of Labourers (1349) to control ordinary people’s movement and wages. In the same year he created the order of the garter, an elitist club boasting chivalry and honour and justifying privilege with reference to myth: Edward III dug up the Arthurian legend and decided that George was to be the patron saint of England.
However, I have happy early memories of village mummers plays (and George was there committing his sadistic knife crime); familiar people getting together oddly entertaining each other with stories that seemed meaningless. I can experience now the whiff of the tatty costumes and props that survived from one year to the next; ah nostalgia, a seductive drug to be taken with care. But how does this English land appear to a traveller passing through today?
Our chalk–land wayfaring took us through some glorious land forms; but also along mile after shocking mile of countryside ravaged by chemical agriculture: the valid focus of historical or ecological interest in this otherwise commercial order being indicated by brown signs, many bearing a square symbol announcing “English Heritage”. Formed in the 1983, this quango, (that now as a charity openly celebrates its freedom from the democratic control of the people via government) took over from what had been through most of its history the Office or Ministry of Works: today it has control over many once public spaces. What do the words tell us? Heritage is bound to ideas of property inheritance; Office and Ministry speaks of service, and Work of strenuous effort. The ethos change seems evident: from public action, use and duty to definition of ownership, of the land and seemingly our history too. English Heritage started as it has gone on: in 1985 it stopped people from gathering on the summer solstice as they had done for time immemorial at Stonehenge, and since then has continued to close off free access to the old places if not by the early crude methods of police brutality then by financial barriers and the dull bureaucracy of permitted administered use. Continued overleaf
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ESSAYS English Heritage manage Maiden Castle in conjunction with Historic England, its associated public licensing body.
lightly, to welcome all freely, to make, to celebrate being in these old and edge places was met with suspicious scrutiny and obstruction.
Amongst the cache of governmental and non–governmental bodies that describe themselves as the landscape guardians, whether from a history or natural history perspective, there seems to be an institutional culture characterised by a fear of the present; a fear of change; a fear of current movements in culture, society and the living world; a retreat into enclosure; an insistence that there is a certain valid version of what has been and that it is to be preserved by sanctioned methods and displayed as a consumable item or experience. In natural history only certain environment types and species are valid and to be tolerated, usually the native ones; it is disturbing.
Is this contemporary outdoor arts heresy, to speak ill of the geese that lay the golden eggs of permission?
Some archaeological or ecological disruptions are countenanced as concessions to the imperatives of the presentation and interpretation of the past or nature. The necessity for visitor centres, toll booths or car–parks seems to be unarguable, but, we found that our proposals to congregate
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Maybe so: art commissioners seem not to want to ruffle the feathers of the big birds. Whether by active courtship or force of fund seeking, this accommodation of art institutions to the mandarin processes of these post ideological land managers that dictate so much of who can do what where, looks like an unsettling dangerous dance. The process does have an impact on what art gets made and seen. Money and permission for poled rectangles emblazoned with wordage and arms, there seems to be aplenty; more marketable art–type “products” seem to find a place; but for makers that do not so readily accept the standard operating procedures and question this other landscape of meaning, they seem to face a more compromising time.
Whilst wayfaring we met people of great sincerity working in the realms of landscape and art, impassioned about the possibilities of individual art project production; but the thorny questions of the emerging meta–patterns matter as they are the matter of hegemony, the underlying relationships shaping our physical and cultural landscape; and maybe it is a responsibility of artists employed by public bodies to say what they see, irrespective of orthodoxy. In wayfaring I think we were continuing a sound folk tradition of disparate people meeting to talk, sing, dance, make, entertain and be entertained, have a laugh, inhabit the space, the day and the night. We perceived an appetite for serious fun where room is made for people’s present considered responses and shared feelings in a mutually created place; an appetite for wholehearted exchange and observance, for moments of profound connection between people and place. We were not preserving, we were making presently with the old stuff.
Preserve us from St George, Yes! and any other chauvinistic depiction of people’s relation to the world; preserve us from that brand of contemporary managerial obsession with defined “outcomes” that functionally attempt to reduce artists to infantilised hand maidens slave to the “delivery” of some otherwise defined objective, chosen by the more serious people; and preserve us from the pretty pictures too! For people to live happily and healthily together problems need to be collaboratively solved. The root meaning of art is to “put together, join, fit”; there is a social role for the arts to responsively reuse or reject, fashion and play with elements of the present and the past, but the process needs elbow room. An environment conducive to the exploration of radical new cultural combinations and re–imagined relationships has to be one where people can freely move and experience their old spaces in the present and re–invigorate their changing responses to the near and distant past.
The stories of Mr Stabby are not harmless quaint idiosyncrasies of an English past, they are current ugly cultural obstacles that foster xenophobia: “Honi soit qui mal y pense” is the motto of the order of the garter, “Shame on him who thinks ill of it” – “it” being domination of other peoples or patronising women depending on which history you read. The whole lot is distasteful and superannuated. Productive colourful gardens thrive on blurred borders; diversity and an acceptance that life will best thrive where it chooses to. Natural patterns are beautifully complex, and ever changing; society and culture is wholer and healthier when it does likewise. The present tendency of landscape custodianship to pen, preserve, present or prescribe relative to a fixed idea of a finished history is not fit for purpose; it obstructs the flow and creative growth of our ongoing active relationship with our history and our land.
John Burningham’s character Mr Gumpy might make a better patron saint for today; he was adventurous, tolerant and friendly, fell in rivers, adaptable and liked tea. We could choose to choose all kinds of kind patrons or have none; leave behind the fear that history might get worn away, or the anxiety that we do not know exactly where all the plants and animals or we are; we could walk more openly and confidently trusting our nature, as creative beings making history here and now.
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OUTSIDE: WORKING ACROSS BOUNDARIES – ART AND LANDSCAPE Lucy Galvin, Strategy and Communications Officer, Norfolk Coast Partnership Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The distance between sitting behind a screen sending out ‘key messages’ about ‘natural beauty’ and spending a week on a beautiful but windy and exposed beach, building a structure – albeit impermanent – in a place you’ve fought to keep empty is immense. And it’s a huge step from the professional care of an area, built on diplomacy and heightened sensitivity to the wants and needs of conservationists, local authorities and landowners, to walking towards mystified strangers on a misty night, swathed in white linen and speaking the story of your own life.
Working with And Now: was this journey. Having – thanks to the project – visited the Oerol festival on the Dutch island of Terschelling and participated in a creative lab at Dunstable Downs in the Chilterns and seen what was possible – how art could with commitment be used to convene, challenge and even change an area – I decided to throw myself in. Art – being about making something – seems to demand physical commitment. So, come May, I moved to the coast – to Wells Beach – and every day for a week or so joined the artists and their team as they built in the sand. This was the first time I had spent such a long stretch of time outside in the area; observing, being, working outside. Out from behind the barriers of phone and computer, and engaged through the art, I began to experience the place in a new way. I noticed how special Wells and its beach are to all sorts of people. How deeply they are aware of this. Since the Enclosures land has been systematically taken; our protected areas are vestiges of a sense
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of connectedness and shared ownership – and places of secular pilgrimage, where people travel to refresh their body and spirit, to connect with themselves and each other. They are also places where it is most important to be outside – in the air – to be part of nature and to appreciate the elements that control it. And reflecting on the whole project, I notice it allowed us to see that, as much as we pretend not, nature is in charge. At Dunstable Downs the view we were there to see was totally obscured by a wall of white mist and we walked all day in a downpour. In Norfolk, the wind blew hard and the sun blazed; mist shrouded the first night’s performance and evening conditions on the beach were almost dangerously cold – in May. At North Wessex the scorching abnormal summer put paid to even striking a match on site and everything about the piece was altered, stripped back and changed. In Dorset at the end heavy rain and wind again made the evening – frankly – only for the intrepid.
Wayfaring’s journey and engagement with the weather – often freak – added a whole new dimension. It went beyond the artists being up for dealing with the elements. The honesty and openness of their work allowed us to think about how at the mercy of climate chaos we are. As a landscape practitioner it was interesting to think about improving people’s preparedness to cope in those situations: not to expect a visitor centre at every turn – and that this might then mean having wet feet …. On a wider level the piece was resonant with the idea of a brave, warm polity, emboldening my own organisation to build new relationships, and me to speak my life to strangers that night on the beach. One of the most challenging and ambitious projects I have been involved in over 25 years of protected area management across Europe, it was deeply rewarding.
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ESSAYS David Herd’s Prologue to Refugee Tales, read almost as an incantation at the end of one animation of the site, summed up how the piece captured, through modesty, strength and ambition, how we can start to live together:
It’s where we start out That people might Simply circulate Not stigmatised For seeking asylum In this straunge stronde But listened to As they tell their tales That hearing we might shape A polity – Tender Real Comprehending welcome.
I ’m used to that view being quite open and so to have such a statement and so far out really changed how you looked at the whole of the beach.” I t was really nice that there were people out there … who, if you ask, will explain it a bit to you but will also ask what it means to you and give you the confidence to think about it yourself.” Comments from audience members
I see it as a sunken pirate ship – there’s people that’s been hung… Never seen anything like it in 40 years I’ve been here – a circle of life and barriers you have to cross.” Comment from an audience member
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TAKING TIME – THE LONG RELATIONSHIP WITH AND NOW:
Kees Lesuis, Artistic Director of Oerol festival
On a warm and sunny day at the end of September 2014, driving around the Dorset countryside, Bill Gee guided me along a fine selection of temporary artworks and performances in the frame of the Inside Out Dorset festival. Besides our long existing friendship, I was invited to explore the work of some British artists in my role as Artistic Director of Oerol, the site specific and landscape theatre festival on the island of Terschelling in the Netherlands. After parking the car near a remote farm and a long walk we arrived on the top of a steep hill with a magnificent view over the countryside. One could immediately sense the traces of the prehistoric past. A fragile man’s height construction of branches and cloth marked, in a modest way, the centre of the hill. A shelter which refers in its shape both to a tent or to a bird’s skull. I met Mandy and Ben inside of this Barrow artwork which they conceived there and dedicated to this spot. After a warm welcome we had a profound exchange about the concept and the process of this work, in which I discovered the many layers of the installation. Inspired by the prehistoric burial place it transformed the space from a shelter to a place to reflect on the cycle of life and death. I was struck by the beauty and power of this intimate gesture in the vast landscape, and was positively surprised by it, as a contrast to the artists’ reputation to create large scale firework events. From this moment on we got in contact more frequently which led to a visit to the Oerol festival and later a residency by And Now: to explore the possibilities of a major project in the landscape. These visits formed the starting point of our conversations about the development of a Dutch chapter of the Wayfaring project in the frame of Life Cycles and Landscapes.
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CULTURE SHOCK AND THE POWER OF RITUAL IN A NON–TRADITIONAL CULTURE Marin de Boer, Curator and Creative Producer, Expeditie programme at Oerol festival
Imagine two islands on the western side of Europe. Two islands that are different in shape, in language, in culture. They seem similar in ways of communication reflecting on life and death. The Dutch learn English at school and there starts the miscommunication. And Now: landing on a Dutch island, where people can speak English, but with Dutch intentions and with a very different approach to directness! In inviting an audience to the artistic work we experienced so many differences in our culture and ways of communicating. This was not always easy for And Now: and it made us as a festival realise how active and involved our audience is and how the word interactive has different meanings in both our languages. In the Netherlands it means to directly interact (physically) with the installation, while the intention of And Now: was to mutually interact with the audience. We should have used the word participate. Taking part in a gathering or resolution has strong meaning in the English culture, this universal language is part of a tradition that dates back centuries. In the Netherlands, tradition is intertwined with our daily habits. You have dinner at 6, you always get something sweet with your coffee, you shake hands when you encounter a stranger and you give 3 kisses on the cheeks to greet a friend and of course our weddings and funerals are based on rituals. But these rituals do not refer to old rituals anymore. We do have bonfires, but the connotation of reverent rituals has disappeared. So when And Now: introduced Wayfaring we were really happy we could introduce this way of ritual making to our festival and to the island. Throwing a pile of wood and setting it on fire may be a ritual, but it doesn’t make it a story. The reference to a more occult tradition is something that seems to be banned from our culture, even though in medieval times it was surely part of ours. The appearance of Wayfaring and the whole Life Cycles and Landscapes project brought a sense of belonging and reconnection with this tradition and ritualistic experience back into our landscape.
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ENGAGING WITH THE LANDSCAPE: WHY ART IS VITAL Howard Davies, Chief Executive, National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Landscapes for Life)
Our association with place is complex, always personal, and often deeply felt. It can be either a wholly private experience or one that is shared with others. The multiplicity of place, and our response to it, therefore gives it special status. It is both formed by us and formative. If places are important, landscapes are even more so. Whether rural or urban, nationally recognised or just locally important, landscapes are expressions of place within the context of time and space. The complexity of landscape, and the multiplicity of responses it invokes, ensure that it is often the basis of high emotion but usually inadequately described.
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We have a history of expressing the value of designated landscapes through the language of policy, by which the emotions of place are inadequately distilled into the tools of protection. The ambiguity of ‘conserve and enhance’ does little to describe our aspirational relationship with those places that mean so much to us. ‘Landscape character’, ‘environmental impact assessments’, ‘visual impact’ do little to capture the true meaning of landscape, far better articulated in the paintings of haystacks by Monet, Matthew Arnold’s poem, Dover Beach, or Grieg’s Morning. We experience landscape. It triggers emotion. To describe landscape to others without invoking an experience is to fundamentally ignore our relationship with place and miss what it is to be human. Indeed, our response to landscapes we perceive to be under threat can be visceral and demonstrative. Campaigners fighting to save Twyford Down from the evisceration of road development took risks to defend what mattered to them. Landscapes have both inherent value, and extrinsic worth. They can be culturally symbolic and personally resonant; a powerful combination ripe for artistic expression.
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are cultural landscapes of local and national value. They are the product of people and place. They are an important element of our collective and individual identity and always represent much more than can be easily expressed. Their beauty is often intangible and always vulnerable. Whether your spirits are lifted by a lone walk along a grassy hillside or refreshed by the intimacy of a woodland walk with a friend, their special qualities are experienced, felt, and ultimately understood. To recognise the experiential element of landscape and create opportunities for others to access the value this can bring to their lives is part of their effective curation. The arts are important mechanisms for helping this happen. The creative exploration of place, through music, painting, poetry, and dance opens up the experience of landscape beyond the world of science and policy and helps us better understand our place in the world. With better understanding comes better stewardship; the basis of a more sustainable future.
AONB partnerships bring people together from a broad range of interests to create policies which determine how a landscape will be enhanced for future generations. They engage people in this process to ensure that landscape management is a collaborative endeavour. Experience and data suggest that people engaged on an emotional level with nature are far more likely to sustain that engagement and commit to looking after their environment compared to those engaged on a purely intellectual basis. We care more deeply about that with which we connect. It is therefore incumbent on AONB partnerships, temporary stewards of some of our most loved places, to engage people emotionally with landscape. Landscapes are fragile places of deep meaning, that underpin our own identity. They change, and will always change, just like the people that form them and are part of them. We need ways to help us all connect with place, it is a deep and fundamental need – the arts bring with them the skills, experience, creativity and imagination to help make this happen.
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INSIDE THE LANDSCAPE
Adam Stout, writer on landscape and archaeology, Creative Lab participant and volunteer on Wayfaring
England is a land of sweet green lies, of enclosed and emptied fields, erased villages and arcadias created on land cleansed of its commoners. A coverlet, a cover–up, a green mantle, a cricket–lawn on which to play fair and forget the prices paid by others for family fortunes – the great urban ghettoes to which people were consigned to live, the slavery and the global looting that ultimately pushed nature to its limits and humanity over its brink.
But though the English landscape may be a by–product of goblin greed, its beauty is real enough. Much of it was laid out in the eighteenth century, which was a time of defining things and finding rules: of science and the universe, of culture and society, and about how the world should look. Forget the growing sacrificial desolation of the industrial zones, the back–stage places where the work was done. The front–of– house audience wanted elegant towns, with wide streets and well–proportioned buildings, and the countryside they coveted was harmonious and orderly, to be viewed from a mud–free distance. The great landscape designers, people such as Capability Brown and Humphry Repton, teased out the ‘spirit of place’ for their wealthy clients and in the process discovered a feng shui of the landscape that it is not helpful to deny. There was a moment when the geomancers’ binoculars came into perfect focus, and their vision still holds good today. Landscapes were made to look like paintings. Landscape gardening, said William Shenstone, the landscape gardener’s champion, was “picturesque–gardening: which ... consists in pleasing the imagination by scenes of grandeur,
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beauty, or variety.” Even wilderness could be sublime, when contained and viewed from the right perspective. Landscapes are views with rules. Portraits are tall, but landscapes are wide, as any printer knows. They are composed. Framed. Bordered. Limited. Caught. Possessed. Heaven on earth, here and now, owned and prized. But can you own a view? It only exists in the distance. Move into the landscape, and it becomes something else. You can’t walk into the rainbow or grab that pot of gold.
On a clear day you can see forever from the top of the Chilterns. On a foggy day, you can’t. On a day earmarked for artists to reflect upon the landscape, we Wayfarers met at a beauty spot and gazed upon nothingness. It was that day’s view, and it was glorious. Often I walk and see nothing even when the skies are clear. I walk to reflect, and when my mind’s in a fog then walking helps to lift it. Even a shapeless landscape helps to shape my thoughts.
T he things I heard and thought, made me see our kind of work as a less ephemeral entertainment activity and more of a mission to honour our landscape, see myself as a custodian of the space.” Artist participant, seminar
I go through the frame and into the picture. Inside the landscape, I work things out. I find perspective, composition, resolution. When you’re lost, look within. Landscape is a state of mind, and it’s free.
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Inside Out Dorset festival conceived and launched by Activate. Relationship developed with Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Two Cultural Olympiad events produced on the Jurassic coast, a World Heritage Site in the Dorset AONB, in 2008 and 2012. Dorset AONB team invite Activate to be a partner on the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership Scheme in 2012.
And Now: and Activate head to Oerol festival, on Terschelling island in the Netherlands.
Activate and And Now: meet to discuss ideas and the project is ‘conceived’.
Activate submit Expression of Interest to Arts Council England Ambition for Excellence project funding.
And Now: start to explore the North Norfolk coastline.
Ambition for Excellence funding successful and Activate meet the NAAONB.
Activate presentation at NAAONB conference in Telford; And Now: meet regional AONBs at conference and discuss ideas for the live elements and possible sites.
And Now: residency at Top Parts in Dorset leading to sharing of Wayfaring installation and resolution at Inside Out Dorset 2016. Includes outreach and education programme with Dorset AONB.
And Now: What Remains exhibition at Bridport Art Centre, a continuation and personal archaeology of associated work and ideas created alongside Barrow.
Activate meet partners at Oerol festival.
Full partner meeting.
SEPT 2005 – SEPT 2012
2014 SEPT 2014
J U LY/A U G 2 0 1 6
And Now: commissioned by Activate to make Barrow on the South Dorset Ridgeway with the Dorset AONB, work visited by Kees Lesuis from Oerol festival and Françoise Léger from Le Citron Jaune.
Oerol Artistic Director visits Dorset and meets with And Now:.
Activate and And Now: meet the AONB to develop the ideas further.
And Now: start to explore sites in Dorset.
Activate and Dorset AONB meet Heritage Lottery Fund.
And Now: continue site visits in Dorset. Meet farmers and work on recording stories and oral histories in old peoples’ homes in Dorchester and harvest wood from the local area.
And Now: make site visits across the Icknield Way – Norfolk, Chilterns, North Wessex Downs, Cranborne Chase and Dorset – and make lead images for Wayfaring residencies.
Activate meet the AONB family and the National Association for AONBs (NAAONB).
And Now: undertake residency with Oerol in Netherlands and run Explore residency with students at Arts University Bournemouth.
And Now: residency at Wells Next the Sea, scoping and observing activity on Holkham beach exactly a year in advance to see how busy the beach is, meet the harbour master and Lucy Galvin from Norfolk Coast AONB.
Site visit to Basildon Park, a National Trust property in the Thames Valley, within the North Wessex Downs AONB, and full partner meeting.
Activate and And Now: present at the Outdoor Arts UK national conference in Milton Keynes.
And Now: 2nd residency at Oerol, Netherlands. They meet with Victor Frederik and Maaike Ebbinge to create collaborative community elements for the Oerol iteration of Wayfaring.
And Now: create and lead residential creative lab for artists and land guardians in Chilterns AONB.
And Now: residency, engagement with the island children, installation and presentation of Wayfaring at Oerol festival, creation of opening and closing events for the festival, and presentation to the ISPA conference taking place on the island.
And Now: residency and presentation of a procession through Dorchester and on to Maumbury Rings, and Wayfaring installation and finale as part of Inside Out Dorset festival on Maiden Castle, in partnership with Dorset AONB, along with education and outreach work.
Activate present at National Trust conference and meet NAAONB members to discuss future strategic plans.
Activate present at Oerol festival and convene LAND partner meeting after success of Creative Europe funding bid.
Seminar with LAND partners attending. Activate host LAND meeting and Le Citron Jaune decide to invite And Now: to the Camargue in France.
And Now: site visit in Camargue with Le Citron Jaune.
2019 MAR 2017
And Now: visit chalk quarry in Tottenhoe.
Activate, And Now: and Norfolk Coast AONB meetings at Oerol, Netherlands.
And Now: site visits to Norfolk, North Wessex Downs and Dorset.
Activate and Oerol festival create new European partnership to support And Now:’s work at Oerol and bring in new partners in France and Hungary – creating LAND for land stewards and artists.
Activate invited on to the Dorset AONB Management Plan review panel running between March and November 2018.
Premiere of Wayfaring as part of Norfolk and Norwich Festival on Holkham beach at Wells Next the Sea, plus outreach and engagement with Norfolk Coast AONB and launch of the digital Wayfaring artwork.
And Now: residency and presentation of Wayfaring at Basildon Park, with Corn Exchange Newbury, 101 Creation Space, and North Wessex Downs AONB, with engagement and outreach work.
Activate and NAAONB meet Arts Council England in London.
Scoping the digital project.
Activate and And Now: present at NAAONB conference, Winchester.
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Work commences on the digital artwork for Wayfaring.
Activate, Dorset AONB, North Norfolk Coast AONB and North Wessex Downs AONB present at the NAAONB conference in Canterbury.
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WITH THANKS TO OUR CORE TEAM AND THE MANY DEDICATED, HARD-WORKING VOLUNTEER PERFORMERS AND HOSTS ACTIVATE Kate Wood, Executive and Artistic Director Bill Gee, Inside Out Dorset Co–Artistic Director Kim Tilbrook, Project Manager Sammy Gillingham, Project Assistant Dom Kippin, Producer (Maiden Castle and Dorchester Parade) Sam Scott–Wood, Marketing and Audience Development strategy Martha Oakes, PR Belinda Kidd, Evaluation Report and Editor, Reflecting on Life Cycles and Landscapes/ Wayfaring Jen Walke-Myles, Producer (project initiation and final reporting) Supporting the core team on behalf of the National Association for AONBs – Tom Munro, Manager, Dorset AONB
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Wayfaring artists, makers, contributors: Richie Smith Flick Ferdinando Cara Smyth Peter Mountain Milo Craddick Peter Finegan Lucy Wilson Jo Galbraithe Richard Headon Gavin Lewery Paddy Benedict Martha Benedict Anne Preston Meg Preston Martin West Victor Frederik Maaike Ebbinge Kate Munro Nick Read Harley Oliff Stu Barker Adam Stout Jon Bielstein George Roberts
Original artwork by And Now: Photo: Nick Read.
Wayfaring at Wells beach: Resolution event. Artwork And Now: Photo: Nick Read.
4 Barrow installation by And Now: at Inside Out Dorset 2014. Photo: Tony Gill. 5 Left: Resolution of Wayfaring at Inside Out Dorset 2016. Photo: Elliott Franks. Centre: Wayfaring at Basildon Park – trees painted with chalk. Photo: Mandy Dike. Right: Victor Frederik from Oerol festival with school participant at Wayfaring Maiden Castle. Photo: Harley Oliff.
AND NOW: Mandy Dike and Ben Rigby
Tim Hill, Musical Director Robert Jarvis, Musician Tom Francomb, Musician Ben Win, Musician Jo Porter, Musician Hannah Earl, Musician Daniel Pogorzelski, Musician Dave Scrag, Musician Brian Pierson, Musician Hugh Stanners, Musician Stuart Henderson, Musician Steve Noble, Musician Phil Humphries, Musician Mike Hurley, Musician The Chilterns Creative Lab: Mandy Dike and Ben Rigby Sarah Hymas Tom Cousins Hugh Thomas Lucy Galvin George Roberts Jon Bielstein Orit Azaz Louise Anne Wilson Adam Stout Tim Hill Kim Tilbrook Sammy Gillingham Bill Gee
Left: External view of Barrow installation at Inside Out Dorset 2014. Photo: Tony Gill. Centre: Wayfaring volunteer performers at Basildon Park 2018. Photo: Nick Read. Right: Ox heart at the centre of Wayfaring installation Inside Out Dorset 2016. Photo: Mandy Dike.
7 Performers for Wayfaring resolution event at Basildon Park. Photo: Nick Read. 8 Part of the Wayfaring installation at Maiden Castle. Photo: Harley Oliff.
Wayfaring at Inside Out Dorset 2016. Photo: Tony Gill.
12 Centrepiece of Wayfaring installation, Wells Beach. Photo: Mandy Dike. 13
Preparatory sketches and photos by Mandy Dike.
Left: Building the Wayfaring installation, Wells Beach. Photo: Mandy Dike. Centre: The build continues, Wells Beach. Photo: Mandy Dike. Right: Shrine at Wells Beach. Photo: Nick Read.
15 Left: Wayfaring at Wells Beach. Photo: Mandy Dike. Centre: Looking at a shrine, Wells Beach. Photo: Nick Read. Right: Building Wayfaring, Wells Beach. Photo: Mandy Dike Bottom: Mandy Dike and Ben Rigby. Photo: Nick Read. 16 Wrapping the chalk boulder: Procession to Maumbury Rings, Dorchester 2018. Photo: Mike Petitdemange. 17
Signs. Photos: Mandy Dike.
9 All images: Original artwork by And Now: Photo: Nick Read.
All images: Chalk Landscapes. Photos: Mandy Dike.
19 Left: Installation. Photo: Mandy Dike. Centre: Procession to Maumbury Rings, Dorchester 2018. Photo: Mike Petitdemange.
Wayfaring at Maiden Castle. Photo: Harley Oliff.
19 Right: Wayfaring installation at Basildon Park. Photo: Nick Read. Bottom: Mandy Dike and Ben Rigby. Photo: Nick Read. 20
Wayfaring Wells 2018. Photo: Nick Read.
21 Sand Patterns created by school children for the Wayfaring installation at Wells 2018. Photos: Mandy Dike. 22
Wayfaring Wells 2018. Photo: Mandy Dike.
23 The start of the Resolution event for Wayfaring at Wells 2018. Photo: Nick Read. 24 Top: Preparing to build the installation at Oerol festival. Middle: Wayfaring at Oerol in a spring tide. Bottom: Wayfaring at Oerol Photos: Mandy Dike. 25 Wayfaring Resolution event at Oerol festival. Photos (top and bottom): Albert Wester and Jelte Keur (centre). 26
Schools’ project at Wayfaring Maiden Castle. Photo: Harley Oliff.
27 Left: The audience departs to view the Wayfaring resolution event, Basildon Park. Photo: Nick Read. Centre: North Wessex Downs: Cherhill White House. Photo: Mandy Dike. Right: Schools’ project for Wayfaring at Basildon Park. Photo: Nick Read. 28
The Icknield Way. Photo: Mandy Dike.
Chalk landscapes. Photos: Mandy Dike.
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A book of Essays