CSA lecturer shortlisted for public art project in Dover

Gabor Stark, senior lecturer and Master of Architecture convener at UCA Canterbury School of Architecture, has been shortlisted to work on a proposal for a new public artwork for the West Wing Battery at Fort Burgoyne in Dover.

The Scheduled Ancient Monument, originally built in the 1860s and in permanent military use until 2006, is now under the management of The Land Trust. Stabilisation and conservation works are currently carried out by Lee Evans Partnership, the heritage architects leading the redevelopment of Fort Burgoyne. From January to April 2019, Dover Arts Development and Charles Holland Architects conducted a series of guided walks to support the conservation and opening up of the West Wing Battery through art led community engagement. Entitled The Explorers, the format drew on the skills, knowledge and ideas of local experts and residents to reimagine the site and build community ownership.

Building on the insights from the community engagement programme, the Land Trust is now commissioning a new artwork to help to deliver interpretation for the site and to facilitate long-term community activity. Part of the national Great Place Scheme ‘Pioneering Places: East Kent’, the project is supported through Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with Historic England and Artswork, the South East Bridge.

From 36 expressions of interest, five artists were selected to work on a proposal to be presented to the final jury in November. Gabor borrowed the motto for his approach from the last sentence of Voltaire’s novel 'Candide' (1759), in which the hero – after travelling ‘the best of all possible worlds’, only to encounter an endless array of disasters, wars and other human follies – famously recommends horticultural care as a prescription for a contended and fulfilled life: “Cela est bien dit, répondit Candide, mais il faut cultiver notre jardin.” Keep your fingers crossed!