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.
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:
- Cuckmere Haven
- Godrevy Island
- Cemaes Bay Anglesey
- White Park Bay on the north Antrim coast, Northern Ireland
- Mussenden Temple and Down Beach, Co Derry, Northern Ireland
- Cliff Beach, Valtos, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
- Fort Fiddes, Cullykhan Bay, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
- Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland
Be inspired to bring peace to all around you ...
Peace Camps - about, with photos, details of locations etc
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
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories