Saturday, 18 August 2012

Peace Camps ... Olympic Truce ...

A Cultural Olympiad has been going on (perhaps to some of us behind the scenes) around Britain ... one of the events in July was the Peace Camps: coastal installations celebrating love poetry and landscape.

Godrevy Island - c/o Peace Camp

I became aware of them when I was at Seaford (a few miles from Eastbourne) – as the event was happening that weekend at the Cuckmere Haven.

Cuckmere Haven and the white cliffs
within the Seven Sisters National Park.
Photo credit South East photography

The concept has been inspired by the Olympic Truce, whose roots date back to Ancient Greece, and is a commission for the London 2012 Festival that took place simultaneously at eight of the UK’s most beautiful and remote coastal locations.

The goals of the Olympic Truce have been embraced by London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games ... through this global and symbolic concept, the goals are to:

·        Mobilize youth for the promotion of the Olympic ideal
·        Use sport to establish contacts between communities in conflict
·        Offer humanitarian support in countries at war
·        Create a window of opportunities for dialogue and reconciliation

Cemaes Bay, Anglesey, Wales
For four nights in mid July, a glowing artwork transformed the eight coastline camps when visitors were able to wander through their local magical encampment, listening to an ocean sound-scape created from love poetry being whispered in the many accents and voices of the UK.

The virtual aspect of Peace Camp online allowed people to record their favourite love poems and submit their own messages ...

... creating an online anthology that celebrates our languages, dialects and accents as well as our rich poetic tradition.  The project is being archived by the British Library as a snapshot of the UK in 2012 ...

The murmuring, glowing encampment
at Dunstanburgh castle
Eight murmuring, glowing encampments encircled the UK celebrating the extraordinary variety and beauty of our coastline ...

Under the banner Inspire a Generation – London 2012 is having a nationwide festival of the world’s best music, theatre, dance, visual art, literature, film and fashion from Midsummer’s Day until the autumnal equinox ...

The Eden Project tied in with the Peace Camp idea and have dedicated a place at the heart of their Wild Cornwall area to love poems surrounded by art.

Alison Cronin at the Eden Project (see link below)
 ... where you will see a cascade of beautifully
decorated bottles full of messages
complete with a delicious soundscape of poems
read aloud to the sound of the ocean.
The whole has been collaged to reflect the display
as having been washed in with the tide.

Another of locations was a favourite (undeveloped) haunt of our childhood – Godrevy Sands, opposite St Ives Bay – where we would spend the day playing along the shoreline, collecting shells (tinged red from the tin effluent), paddling, jumping from rock to rock across the incoming tide and almost certainly eating home-made pasties.

The Peace Camp was held on Godrevy Island – the site of Virginia Woolf’s lighthouse – still inaccessible to the public I gratefully note ... as those rocks are extraordinarily craggy and sharp, I was very wary jumping amongst them as a kid!

The Stones, a treacherous reef, extends outwards from Godrevy across the bay towards St Ives ... taking on the full force of the Atlantic Ocean ... which was, prior to the lighthouse, a place of terrible shipwrecks.

From the Eden Project I learnt that Hayle School, the town nearest to Godrevy, was chosen as one of only 12 schools to participate in the nationwide in-Tents education project, itself part of the Peace Camp.

Peace Camp tents in Sussex -
the tents are being recycled to Boy Scout groups,
local Councils and the National Trust
The tents will then travel to the Southbank in London on 4 October 2012 where they will be displayed together along the riverside as part of National Poetry Day celebrations.

I didn’t have the energy to visit the Peace Camp, nor will I be able to be in London in early October ... as we’ll be in Cornwall for our mother’s memorial service ... but I’m pleased I’ve been able to catch up here a little and give you the links.

Last year the theme for Poetry Day was, appropriately, Games – this year it is Stars ... they had a sister project going on in the Olympic Village called “Winning Words” ... and there have been plenty of other events around the UK, accessible via the website.

As you can see the Cultural Olympiad has tentacles stretching to many events and places around the UK, as well as being recorded for our future generations – providing a unique picture of Britain in 2012.

Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland

Some of you thought you’d like to take a tour of castles, following my A – Z Challenge in April, which inspired me too – yet here’s another suggestion for seeing the UK ...

... this would be on the scale of a comprehensive Grand 21st century Tour emulating those early ‘tourists’ taking the opportunity to gain exposure to our British cultural legacy.

Sadly! you would need lots of time and lots of that dosh stuff to achieve the maximum from one of these tours – but what a thought ... a leisurely travel around the coastline of our islands taking in the eight Peace Camp locations, while stopping along the route ....

... perhaps at some castles, a few palaces, any number of historic places and gardens ... sampling our British wine, mead or ale, with local delicacies ... what a great idea!

The Kings and Queens of the
Lewis Chess Set in the British Museum
 I’ve listed the eight camps below and if you check out the website you will see a brief description on each of the locations ...

Enjoy the tour!  I have attachments to four of these locations ... Sussex, where I am now, Cornwall for childhood memories, Dunstanburgh Castle which I visited with my father many years ago ...

... and then the Isle of Lewis came up in my post about the British Museum’s “A History of the World in 100 objects” from its vast collection – they selected the Bishop chess piece part of the walrus ivory chess set found on the Isle of Lewis – which I’d love to visit one day ...

The eight locations are – all listed, per the map above, with details on the website:

  1. Cuckmere Haven
  2. Godrevy Island
  3. Cemaes Bay Anglesey
  4. White Park Bay on the north Antrim coast, Northern Ireland
  5. Mussenden Temple and Down Beach, Co Derry, Northern Ireland
  6. Cliff Beach, Valtos, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
  7. Fort Fiddes, Cullykhan Bay, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
  8. Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland

Be inspired to bring peace to all around you ...

Peace Camps bring love poems to Eden Project
The UK celebrates London 2012 with a 12 week nationwide festival ... 
Olympic Truce - Wikipedia
National Poetry Day website

Cuckmere Haven - video of Peace Camp

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Wow, this is absolutely fabulous. I've never seen a thing about it in the newspapers or TV, either. (Lucky we have you to educate us, huh?) Thanks so much. The whole concept totally captures my imagination.

Jo said...

What a wonderful concept Hilary. Wish I were in the UK to visit some of the camps. I've not seen anything about it anywhere either.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I would like to camp in a Peace camp tent.


Friko said...

What an absolutely brilliant idea; I've not heard the peace camps mentioned anywhere else. Now that's what a I call a proper legacy!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan .. isn't it such a wonderful idea - glad I'm filling in some of the gaps.. as to what else is happening around this little island of ours.

@ Jo .. the camps were only up for those few days - but the project at the British Museum will be available at some stage - but the coastline will stick around for a while!

@ Teresa .. wouldn't it be fun - then you could tell us your Grim Fairy Stories ...

@ Friko .. good to know I've been able to bring this idea to your attention ...

There's an awful lot going on I'll tell you what I can ... just delighted you all find this concept so fascinating .. Thanks everyone -cheers Hilary

Chase March said...

Hi Hilary,

That sounds like a lovely project. It reminds me a bit about a drama activity where we rub our hands together, slap the ground, snap, and other things of this nature to simulate a thunderstorm. It's pretty amazing what a small group of people can accomplish together with very little equipment needed.

Chuck said...

Hilary, I am afraid I am going to have to bookmark this post and come back for repeated visits! This is such cool stuff and you have gathered so much information one bite simply will not do. Seems like a grand idea touring the Peace Camps, castles and palaces...would be quite a journey. A friend of mine just finished walking a famous trail across Spain and now has embarked on a tour of Ireland. Her reports have been so fascinating I have beome "green" with envy for her.

Thanks for this wonderful post!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Chase - your idea of the thunderstorm is wonderful ... drama does create whatever we want of it - doesn't it .. many will have had beautiful moments just being quietly on the coast line, listening to the sounds at the shore-line, while hearing love poems being read - as the art work is a living creation.

@ Chuck - delighted you'll be back to read more .. the peace camps were temporary art works ... but the concept could so easily be applied.

I hope at some stage I can listen to the soundscape at the British Museum.

The British Museum have been instrumental recently in obtaining recordings of our voices ... all the dialects that now abound with all the melding of local English, Celtic, Welsh, Scots, Irish and all others from around the world .. as we are a huge hot-pot of sounds.

Your friend's trip .. I wonder if she walked part of the Pilgrims' route - Route of Santiago de Compostela - in Spain .. and I'm sure there's similar in Ireland. As you say her reports must be fascinating and so informative to read ...

Many thanks Chase and Chuck -lovely having you here .. cheers Hilary

Gattina said...

I didn't hear of the peace camps neither ! Very interesting. The Seven Sisters I know very well I have been sevral times up there, it's so beautiful !

walk2write said...

Ms. Hilary, you should have your own alternative news network. Thanks for making us aware of things we'd never hear about but for your gathering them together for us. I love the idea of the peace camps. Poetry is powerful when read aloud.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Hilary
Your post are so full of great information. Perhaps I will post about Colorado, which is only one state in the US where I live. Probably not as detailed as you do though. I tend to be too much of a storyteller.

Connie Arnold said...

How wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing all the great information, Hilary! I especially love the Peace Camps and love poems. Anything celebrating, peace, love and poetry is certainly of interest to me! I sure love your blog and the great things you share. Hope you're having a lovely day!

Patsy said...

Very interesting, Hilary. What a shame though that these haven't had more publicity. I'm sure there must be people who'd have liked to be involved who didn't know anything about the camps until afterwards.

Theresa Milstein said...

Those peace camps are gorgeous at night and so bright white during the day. I love the aim of the peace truce. The way the games bring people together is truly inspiring.

Golden Eagle said...

I haven't heard of the Peace Camps before, either. It sounds like they were in some amazing locations!

Thank you for the links.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Peace Camp sounds really cool.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Peace Camp sounds really cool.

Inger said...

I haven't heard of the Peace Camps either or any of this. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention.

Inger said...

What a wonderful post! I have always wanted to visit the Outer Banks, but never made it. Maybe I should be glad since singing off key is the only singing I'm capable of.

Janet Johnson said...

What a neat idea! I'd never heard of these Peace Camps. I always learn so much from you. :)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

There is so much more about the UK that I don't know. Thanks for sharing this, Hilary. I imagine the encampment must have been quite a sight from space. Very kewl.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gattina - it is so beautiful in the 7 Sisters Park isn't it.

@ W2W - I just pick up things that I hope you'll all like to hear about. I hope to get to read some of the poetry at some stage.

@ Nancy - many thanks .. I just mix and match and try and include a little history .. would love to hear about Colorado ... you write wonderful stories - your imagination stands out.

@ Connie - Peace, love and poetry do mix so well don't they .. and we should celebrate them. Many thanks re the blog ..

@ Patsy - there has been so much going on .. I suspect a great many of the events have been overtaken with everything else ..

They were called 'camps' - but weren't as such .. they were art works ... and to see them - would require some effort .. ie park and queue, then walk around listening in the night hours .. no actual camping allowed.

@ Theresa - I enjoyed finding out more about the concept for the art work ... the Olympic Truce brought so much together.

The country was brought together and I certainly hope the Paralympics does the same in 9 days when it starts.

@ Golden Eagle - I think many hadn't heard of the Peace Camps .. and I'm not sure how well attended they were ... but the locations are still there for us to see - quite beautiful places.

@ Alex - I hope they were successful; we did think about going out .. but didn't!

@ Inger - delighted you enjoyed seeing a little about the Peace Camp concept and art work .. singing there would be lovely.

@ Janet - thanks .. just part of the amazing events that are being put together behind the scenes of London 2012

@ Joylene - well I learn things all the time .. and am always amazed at what is going .. though 2012 seems to be excelling itself. I haven't seen any photos of the encampments from space ... but they were distantly located from each other ...

I did see a post the other day of photos of the Olympic locations from Space ..

Thanks everyone .. have good weeks .. Hilary

Marja said...

love poetry and landscape. What a wonderful combination and how wonderful these peacecamps. Would have loved to visit these wonderful locations (and see some castles along the way) Thanks for your information and the links

Sherry Ellis said...

Peace camps are a wonderful concept! Thanks for sharing.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Hi, Hilary! Thanks for all the comments you made on my blog. If you're considering using some of "The Dash" at your mom's memorial service, you might like some of the quotes that are on my post just prior to that one. It's called "Sad News", and even though it's about Mom's death, there are some inspirational quotes on there you might like. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

This is the first I heard of this. Peace camps are a great idea and I can see how they can be used to help communities that are so diverse by bringing a commonality to the table.

Sports is a great way to bridge gaps between people!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marja - I gather it was a wonderful expose ... the castles and locations are still here - just not with tents around them ..

@ Sherry - exactly that - such a brilliant idea ..

@ Susan - pleasure it's taken me a while to get over .. I thought the 'Dash' was rather lovely .. and so I'll be over to look at the previous post .. thanks for letting me know.

@ Stephen - certainly the young seemed to getting into the spirit of the Cultural Olympiad with the myriad diversity of shows available ..

The inclusion of culture and art during the Jubilee and Olympic year - does bring all peoples together ..

I just wish I'd realised how much is going on .. cheers everyone - see you soon .. Hilary

Lynn said...

Peace camp - just the sounds of that is wonderful.

Julie Flanders said...

I never heard of this before, what a wonderful idea. It makes me smile just to read about it.

Absolutely LOVE the photo from Wales, that's gorgeous. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynn - they do look amazing experiences don't they ... and that soundscape gorgeous to be surrounded by it ...

@ Julie - it's been a hugely successful 'art work' ... and the settings have been superb.

Thanks Lynn and Julie - cheers Hilary

Juliet said...

I love the sound of these peace camps. The little tents look like magical mushrooms that have sprouted up overnight. Thanks for taking me there Hilary.

A Lady's Life said...

I love the idea of Olympic peace truce camps.I think I would enjoy being there to see these tents looking like pumpkins strewn all around the grass.Sounds like so much fun.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Juliet - I think you would have loved attending one of these ... your sort of style - peaceful with the ocean swell and whispering words .. just up your tree!

@ A Lady's Life - they do look like enormous orange pumpkins .. and I think many artistic peoples loved the concept and attending the night shows.

Thanks - Hilary