DAD hosted discourse: Beacons and Borders – The Sources and Resources of Exchange

War & Peace

To coincide with La Compagnie PAR LE MOT’s production Between Beacon & Shaft in Dover, we hosted a conversation on 28 September 2013 exploring the theme “Beacons and Borders – The Sources and Resources of Exchange” with an invited group of key cultural actors from both sides of the Channel.

The National Trust kindly made their Visitors’ Centre overlooking the Channel available for the evening. The conversation took place around a table, with delicious food prepared by Edda Jones, and was introduced by artist Nanne Meyer. As she said, to draw a line is to separate, to create a distinction, to delimit. Boundaries, borders, lines of separation are necessary – through them we can get to know the other and thereby the self. What would happen if the self were to dissolve in the other?

What people said afterwards:

  • when we first met Clare, Joanna and I, we wondered what we could do together about the subject that I was bringing over the Channel with me : beacons and borders. Immediate idea : the Grand Shaft (and so, the Western heights) as a venue for the performance and in the text of the performance : inverted echo to the lighthouse of Dunkirk.
    And then… what else could last more than a performance ?
    Joanna and Clare had the idea of this Conversation with guests all able to lead or stimulate projects, a limited number of guests of the two areas, around what became a reffined meal. I had never heard of such a thing (except perhaps for the G20). …
    … It was great to have met you all, even if we could not hear every body. I hope that this crossing of roads will lead to other and longer crossings. For my part it will ! (Nicolette Picheral, Compagnie Par le mot !)
  • I had a very rich, interesting and inspiring time. (Nanne Meyer, Artist)
  •  I spent a wonderful day and met wonderful people on this occasionI really want to thank you warmly for this. You did – as always – a real great job ! (Jean-Luc du Val, Réseau des bibliothèques de la ville de Dunkerque)
  • Thank you so much for a really enjoyable day on Saturday.  I thought the evening was absolutely lovely, fuelled by delicious food (including the best couscous dish I can remember tasting) with just the right amount of discipline to ensure that a truly inclusive conversation could be had. What does one learn from something like this? Well I have made some useful connections which I will follow up, some very directly related to everyday work, some to be stored for potential future conversations and I have seen Dover in a different light. But most of all I think the conversation, and the truly cross-border gathering will sit with me for a long time and will inform much of my future thinking about borders, and about that fundamental dichotomy that we need borders and we also need to break them down. And earlier in the day I heard some captivating stories accompanied by a beautifully played and beautifully judged soundscape. (John Linstrum, Combined arts relationship Manager Arts Council England (ACE))
  • Tout le rêve debout comme une armée attend…
    Devant l’appel fiévreux et fou des horizons
    Et les portes du monde en plein soleil ouvertes.
    (Emile Verhaeren)
    Thank you so, so much for the absolutely wonderful evening yesterday. Merci pour tout le travail effectué (je sais les heures passées), les intenses recherches, les préparations si scrupuleuses, votre infinie bienveillance… We came back in a state of levitation, having lent some of the shoes we found on the boat. La conversation se poursuit donc… (Bruno Cooren, irection de la Culture, Ville de Dunkerque)
    great evening yesterday (Uwe Derksen, Assistant Director Research and Enterprise University for the Creative Arts (UCA))
  • The evening event was … out of my usual comfort zone yet stimulating and so very DAD and exciting. It was a real privilege to have been there and in such varied, qualified and experienced company. (Cllr Kit Smith)
  • It was great to meet such a diverse group of people and to be part of such an interesting conversation. The food was amazing. (Brigitte Orianski, Artistic Director, Strange Cargo, Folkestone)

Photos by Miles Umney