Field Days – Commission Brief

South Dorset Ridgeway  by quisnovus  on Flickr ( CC BY-NC 2.0 )

South Dorset Ridgeway by quisnovus on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership and its partners has received development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund through its Landscape Partnership programme to develop a new project for the South Dorset Ridgeway.

The project will work with landowners, communities and visitors to make it a better place for wildlife, improve access and bring to life the rich history of the area with innovative interpretation and education facilities.
Artsreach, the rural touring arts scheme for Dorset, is working in partnership with the AONB to develop this work.  The South Dorset Ridgeway stretches parallel to the coast from West Bexington and Abbotsbury in the west to the villages of Osmington and Poxwell in the east. The ridge of high land running parallel with the coast, between Weymouth and Dorchester has been an important place for people since the Neolithic (4,000 – 2,000 BC) and has over 1,000 ancient monuments that record the history of the Ridgeway since that time.  A map highlighting the geographical area concerned can be viewed here.

The Commission

Field Days seeks to encourage people living in the South Dorset Ridgeway Area to explore the locality, and to research and increase their knowledge of what is beneath the ground. It aims to increase our understanding of the local heritage, how we might engage with the landscape and environment through the arts. 
Commissioned work will form the basis of a touring exhibition around villages in the South Dorset Ridgeway in Spring 2016 and hopefully further afield. The exhibition will serve as an innovative way of displaying contemporary work alongside found or archived objects/existing archaeological sites/data etc.

The Fee

£2,500 inclusive of VAT for the research, materials, travel and the development of work.  The commissioned work must be developed in a way to ensure it can be part of a touring exhibition. You may be expected to lead a workshop to members of the public during the exhibition period.  There will be an additional fee for this work.
The Detail

Artists and craftspersons will be invited to join a series of exploratory walks and site visits within the area of the South Dorset Ridgeway in the company of members of the public, archaeologists, and other earth scientists to explore what lies beneath our feet.
Information and knowledge gained will serve as inspiration for the artists to develop their commission in an innovative and contemporary way in direct response to the chosen site, artefact/myth, legend or data. 

Organised Walks/talks and Events

We are in the process of organising these events associated with the commission. The aim of these events are to inform and inspire our commissioned artists, and therefore it would be expected that the commissioned artist would attend some of these events as part of the period of research.  Our first event we have scheduled is over the weekend of 9th and 10th May. During this weekend Hayley Roberts archaeologist and researcher will be surveying the site where the Portesham Mirror was found – this is a late Iron Age burial site. A geo-physical survey has already been carried out at this site but it is incomplete and further surveying has been organised by Hayley. Any commissioned artists would be welcome on site to see the survey carried – with the potential of interpretation of results in a creative process.

On Saturday 13 June 10:00am - 01:00pm there will be a walk at the Valley of Stones to find out more about the archaeology and wildlife of this special place. The Valley of Stones National Nature Reserve has one of the finest examples of a Sarsen stone boulder train in Great Britain (used for ceremonial stone circles like that at Kingston Russell).  It is also home to many special butterflies and wildflowers and has some very well preserved medieval field patterns - not to mention the stunning views and peaceful location.

Further events to be arranged.

Application Process

To apply for this commission please send a statement expressing your interest in the project together with what excites you about this opportunity, including 4 examples of your work in digital format, clearly labelled and indicating the value of the piece or the commission.
All applications will be considered by a selection panel must be sent by email to no later than Friday 24th April 2015

For more information on Artsreach visit the website here.