The feasibility study and initial meetings was supported and funded by the SW Lifelong Learning Network, click on the logo to visit their website and see what they do.
Launch Document : August 2008
The aims of this new network group are:-
To promote the “Heritage Industry” within Ancient Wessex.
To encourage and train “creative” people to produce work and provide services inspired by the rich local resources.
To foster collaborative activities with existing cultural and heritage organisations.
To stage events working in partnership with those organisations and with outside agencies.
To develop a sustainable local economy, based on the abundant natural and human resources, servicing the growing cultural tourism market.
To form mutually beneficial links with tourism operators to promote the group’s activities as a source of increased business.
To seek engagement with educational establishments at all levels, providing opportunities for study and the involvement of students and pupils in events and activities.
To encourage research and understanding by highlighting the services and resources available at museums and interpretation centres.
To provide local people and visitors in the area with meaningful opportunities and experiences which help them understand and appreciate the area.
Inside Out Festival September 2007 :
The group’s first main event will be a festival celebrating prehistoric Ancient Wessex in late summer and early autumn 2009, centred in Dorchester, but spreading into the surrounding prehistoric landscape. The main event will be staged over a weekend or two, with associated activities during the weeks before and after.
A calendar of further events and activities will be built up as the network becomes established.
A website will be set up to manage and promote the activities and those of the partner members.
There will be launch meetings during October 2008, on Tuesday 7th for creative participants and Friday 31st for partnership organisations. These will be an opportunity at an early stage of the group’s development to discuss the various partners’ involvement and to strategically plan how the network will work.
The group has a fairly wide remit to start with, it will grow depending on the enthusiasm and motivation of the people involved.
“Ancient” is used to indicate periods more than a thousand years ago.
The geographical area of Wessex is disputed, indeed it has changed over time according to conflicts, power struggles and literary whims.
The first festival will be “prehistoric”, anything more than twice that long ago and centred on South Dorset.
The above map appears on the website www.destinationwessex.org.uk
There are two broad categories of potential network partners:-
“organisations” these are bodies that already function in the Heritage
industry, they manage sites, funding, promotion etc.
Jane Brayne's Amesbury Archer
The nature of the activities is very wide, within the sphere of influence of the theme. It is hoped to develop activities that are relevant, thought-provoking and “authentic” in terms of being based on evidence – without becoming too strictly nerdish! Artists will always stretch the boundaries and archaeologists enjoy arguing about interpreting the evidence!
Activities are driven by those willing to undertake them. Existing creative people and educationalists will form the core partners, but new talent will also be encouraged. Collaborations will especially be encouraged to cross fertilize information and skills between the partners.
During events the activities will involve demonstrating, selling and informing the public in many ways.
In addition to “taking a pitch” at an event’s central location, partners are encouraged to stage activities in the lead up to and run off from the main event or as completely separate events. For example a village hall or other space could host an exhibition of work by a group of partners, during which a lecture is delivered by an archaeologist and a demonstration of a skill put on for people to watch and take part in. During an event bookings could be taken for a subsequent series of workshops (these can also be promoted through the group’s website).
People will make, design, sell, perform, teach, run workshops etc. working in many different “art forms” and areas of knowledge; from painters and potters; textile and basket makers; jewellers and tailors; stone, metal and wood workers; food producers and cooks; story-tellers and authors; poets and singers; dancers and actors; curators and researchers; teachers and lecturers; guides and re-enactors.
The events will feature activities such as lectures; exhibitions of work; displays of information; workshop sessions; guided mini-bus tours of sites of interest; guided hilltop rambles; performances (music, literature, dance, re-enactment etc); “sporting” events (archery, javelin, running, walking, horse riding, boating, nurdling etc); “countryside skills” (farming, building, food production and cookery, etc).
A bit of blue skies thinking has come up with ideas such as working with local hotels to feature an event in their marketing, or even arrange a tailored set of regular activities specifically for their guests; to stage events to coincide with the visits of cruise liners in Portland, when the passengers are taken to a special location and given the works! The growth of cultural tourism has already started and this group is well placed to serve its needs.
The educational aspect would be aimed at the general public and the staff of existing organisations dealing with heritage. Educational work with schools and community groups will be undertaken, if the desire and funding is found.
Competitions could be run for people to enter their own created work, inspired by the theme, this could be targeted at professionals and/or amateurs of all ages, the selected “winning entries” could then be exhibited during the event and perhaps even toured afterwards.
Bill Crumbleholme's display of Black Burnished Ware
Audience at Bonfire Firing demonstration
Management and Administration
It is expected that applications will be made to seek grants from lottery
funds, development agencies and specialist institutions to enable the
group to be professionally managed and promoted, administration costs
to be met and to stage the first event.
Watch this space!