The Durlston Project: latest news

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Artists have a long history of involvement in Swanage, and the Durlston project built on this legacy from the outset by engaging the artist Lulu Quinn as a part of the design team.

Following the successful arts science collaboration last year between Artist Abigail Reynolds and scientist Dr Samantha Gibbs, which resulted in the Shapeshift exhibition in the castle. Lulu has been working on a project which will form part of the future development of the castle building itself into an interpretation centre and café bar.  As Lulu herself describes:

“In 2007 most of the work has been to concentrate on the Diversity project, a proposal that would allow the visitor to view the enormous variety of species to be found on the site through the use of text, glass and changing light. This work has been made possible through the close collaboration of the project architect, M J Long of Long and Kentish architects and the rangers at Durlston Country Park whose knowledge is diverse and expanding as new species arrive.”

Although the team are currently working hard to secure the final elements of funding to match the Heritage Lottery Grant, news of which should be confirmed in late Summer 2008, exciting plans for 2009 include work to develop a new high profile Artist’s Residency.  Dorset County Council Visual Arts Officer Cleo Evans explains:

“Internationally acclaimed artist Andy Goldsworthy (who recently won the South Bank Prize in the visual art category) had a very good site visit at Durlston in February. He was excited by the exploratory nature, diversity and beauty of the site.  He will return in 2009 to spend a week at Durlston to work up ideas, and at a later date he will return to Durlston to make a piece.  His initial thoughts consisted of creating something which required people to explore before they could see it. For example, the artwork might be camouflaged by foliage during spring and summer, meaning you could only see it easily in the winter.  This is good timing in terms of the castle redevelopment, as it continues the establishment of a programme of high quality projects as things move forward. Andy Goldsworthy’s installation will be a great asset to the park and for cultural tourism in the region, encouraging new audiences to visit Durlston throughout the year.”

Ben Wyer , SWRDA Programme Officer.