International arts and film-making project for Clady

TOMORROW the small village of Clady is set to be the epicentre of an international arts and film-making project inspired by its 17th century bridge.

Entitled Voicing the Bridge the day will be a  celebration featuring music, poetry and art.

The unlikely recipient of a €10,000 grant from the Finnish Institute in London Clady was chosen due to its unique cross border river location.


One of those behind the project, Robert Powell, explained, “Late last year the Finnish Institute started to look for a project somewhere in the British Isles which would promote the concept of freedom of movement. I’m an Anglo-Canadian writer now living in York but I had spent some time in Finland where we had worked on projects involving the River Aura, so along with my friend Finnish artist Jan-Erik (Andersson) we started to look for a river location which formed a border – that lead us to the River Finn, and subsequently to Clady, and that was when we discovered the striking bridge.

“We put a proposal to the community association that we wanted to do something on or near the bridge. They were very supportive and asked us to come along and be part of the village’s festival so that’s what we are doing. Our day is also being included in the Earagail Arts Festival programme so it’s great to have that cross-border element as well.”

On Saturday (July 20) artists from a range of disciplines will create a day of imaginative performance, conversation, and participation for everyone. They will use the river and bridge as a creative location.

The event aims to imaginatively address the question of borders – both as barriers for people and goods to move freely and as psychological, cultural, even spiritual, lines of division which can hinder people and communities from developing in harmony. And it will celebrate the idea of bridging across all such borders. Indoors and out, there will events throughout the day – ecology and biodiversity workshops, choral and poetry performances, experimental free movement demonstrations, and film-making.

All visitors will be invited to contribute thoughts, words and drawings to decorate ‘Voicing the Bridge’ – a bench and sculptural scale model of Clady Bridge. The grand finale will be The Bridge of Horns – a procession and ‘car horn orchestra’ taking place on Clady Bridge.
Robert himself has created ‘The Lost Horn’, a piece of writing inspired by Irish history, contemporary issues, and the River Finn.

It has been put to music by Ruth McPhillips and will be performed by the Voices of the Foyle Choir. He will also read from previous and new work inspired by rivers and the people who live near them.

Irish-based artist Eileen Hutton will host two open workshops – ‘Pollinator Parcels’ involving solar-powered beekeeping gloves with sculptural bees and seed-parcels that can be scattered to create tiny wildflower meadows, and her ‘Microphotography Workshop’, which invites people to create photographs of local flora and fauna through the use of special stereo microscopes.

Meanwhile Jan-Erik Andersson will be making a film involving local children dressed as bees and insects, events and activities during the day, and the riverside environment of Clady. This will be released in the autumn at special events and on YouTube. Jan-Erik has also designed the Voicing the Bridge bench sculpture which is currently being created by local apprentices and members of the public will be invited to help decorate it on the day.

Schedule – All events are free
11am – ‘A Sounding of The Horns’ from Clady community hall
11-12.30 – ‘Pollinator Parcels & Solar Bees’ workshop with Eileen Hutton
11-11.45 – ‘Insect Costumes’ – filming activity with Jan-Erik and Adrian Andersson
12-12.30 – live music performance with Ruth McPhillips and Raymond O’Kane
13-13.30 – Voices of the Foyle Choir
13.30-14 – Poetry Performance with Robert Powell
14.30-15 – Voices of the Foyle Choir
16-16.30 – ‘The Lost Horn’ with Robert Powell and the Voices of the Foyle Choir
17-17.30 – Finale – ‘The Bridge of Horns’ procession and car horn orchestra
‘Decorating the ‘Voicing The Bridge’ sculpture’ – activity throughout the day, facilitated by Karen Cassidy


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