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Appledore Arts is rooted in the village community of Appledore, we were founded on the belief that the arts can enhance and regenerate communities through exposure to creative activity. Our aim was to nurture visual arts practice through the development of a responsive and innovative programme of work which facilitated high quality professional arts events alongside locally distinctive educational and year-round projects.

Alongside our annual Festival we developed a varied and innovative programme of locally distinctive educational and year round community based projects. We worked with local communities, primary and secondary schools based in North Devon as well as art colleges and universities across the South West. We created opportunities for participation in arts activities that develop skills, expanded access to, and increased understanding of, creative practice. 

Each of our projects was distinct and varied in content and artistic approach. We worked closely with individual artists, local communities as well as other arts and non-arts based organisations.


Listed below are some of our past projects:

Appledore’s Maritime Heritage – Film based oral history project
Bucks Mills Cabin – First artists residency in the famous Bucks Mills Cabin
Digital Art – Young people’s film and digital art project
Facing North – Major new site specific dance performance at Clovelly Court
Flotsam, Jetsam and Dig-In-The Mud – Festival Finale with Appledore School
Give A Dog A Bone – Combe Martin and Hartland community project
Pots and Pioneers – Collaboration with Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon
Seascapes and Landscape – Schools project
Young Torridge Ceramics – Project exploring North Devon’s ceramic heritage

Tales On Tiles
with the

Over a period of six months in 2009 and 2010, Appledore Arts worked in partnership with the Burton Art Gallery & Museum to run ‘Tales on Tiles’. This community arts project gave participants the opportunity to explore and celebrate their local ceramic heritage, each group created a series of tiles which told tales of the River Torridge and our local coastline.

Five North Devon based artists worked with five different community groups:

• Bideford 2nd Scouts - Philip Leach
• Bideford W.I - Merlynn Chesterman
• Devon Youth Services - Rupert Johnstone
• Lampard Community School - Julie Bosworth
• Torridgeside Resource Centre - Tom Hyde


Participants learnt about the importance of North Devon’s ceramic heritage including the RJ Lloyd Collection, a nationally important collection of slipware held by the Burton. They also created their own ceramic tiles and the culmination of their creativity and hard work was the firing on December 18th 2010 of the Kiln-In-the-Park beside the Museum. The Kiln represents an important part of North Devon’s history, in days gone by, kilns produced slipware and sgraffitto pottery which was shipped all over the world. Archaeological digs have found North Devon slipware pottery in Jamestown, the first settlement in the USA from over 400 years ago!

Tiles from each group were mounted and displayed during the 13th Appledore Arts Festival (June 3rd – June 6th, 2010). After the Festival the mounted work was returned to each community group for display at their own facilities. An important aspect of the project was to foster links within the wider community as well as increasing knowledge of their shared heritage and traditions.

To run this project The Friends of The Burton were awarded funding from Awards For All.

Sea 4 Life



In partnership with the North Devon Biosphere Reserve, Appledore Arts ran ‘Sea 4 Life’ a highly successful joint initiative with 120 pupils from four local schools. Through a cross curricula approach, they learnt about their coastal habitats using biology, geography, art and outdoors learning.

Over a period of six months, Appledore Arts worked with a team of pupils and teachers from Abbotsham, Appledore and St Margaret’s (Northam) primary schools and secondary school Bideford College. With an outdoor learning expert, Year 6 and Year 8 pupils from the four schools (all part of Bideford Learning Community) learnt about three distinct coastal habitats; rocky shore, sandy beach and dune systems. The Marine Biology Association from Plymouth, then ran a series of marine science workshops where the pupils worked with high-powered microscopes to learn about the life we can’t see, the plankton which lives in our coastal waters. The pupils were amazed to see tiny microscopic creatures some of which grow into crabs and barnacles, seashore life that we all know. Three artists (Dixie Appleton-Wahl , Karen Hawkins and Tony Minnion) were involved throughout the project encouraging the pupils to collect found items, images and ideas. The last stage of the project gave each class time to work with their artist. In response to their learning they created some amazing work.

An unusual aspect of the project was the role the Bideford College Year 8 pupils played. They became peer educators to their Year 6 counterparts. This was a unique and challenging experience for the group of 30 Year 8 pupils. In turn this form of pupils working together supported Bideford Learning Communities desire to support the transition process between primary to secondary school.

Sea 4 Life, is an ambitious programme, which supports a network of South West coastal schools to explore their local marine and coastal environments. The Real Ideas Organisation initiated the network and schools were funded by the national education agency Creative Partnerships. Recognised nationally within Creative Partnerships this project has now become an exemplar, which will be used by the Biosphere to develop a model for future education based initiatives.

A second Sea 4 Life project is currently under development. Pupils and staff from three coastal schools; Georgeham, Instow and Woolacombe primary schools will develop a cross-curricula project to explore how to develop ‘Sea School’. This project will run from January – July 2010.

Appledore’s Maritime Heritage

Appledore has a unique and important maritime heritage, Appledore Arts wanted to capture some of the memories and experiences from the last days of coastal shipping before it was too late. To ensure that these memories were recorded and archived for posterity Appledore Arts decided to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding. In March 2007, Appledore Arts we were awarded £42,400 to conduct a year-long oral history project on the maritime heritage of Appledore. The project was overseen by a Project Manager (Jill Fade) and a local Film Maker (David Robertson).

It was an oral history project with a difference, all of the interviews were recorded by a documentary Film Maker. The filmed interviews helped to personalize the past and to also create an easily accessible history for future generations. The project focused on interviewing local people who have knowledge and experience of different aspects of Appledore’s maritime heritage. Interviews covered many topics including; shipbuilding, boatbuilding, commercial fishing, seafaring skills and traditions as well as other local maritime activities such as gravel digging and collection of laver seaweed.

During the autumn of 2007 an initial primer film was screened to several community groups including Appledore Resident Association, Appledore W.I and the North Devon Maritime Museum. The primer film was also screened at both Appledore and Northam Primary Schools where the children had an opportunity to learn about their maritime heritage. They also worked with the Lucy Jackson and Andy Coombes two film animation artists to create their own visual images of Appledore’s maritime heritage.

Once completed all of the film recordings were archived and the DVD is now held at several local libraries and museums. The project was completed in March 2008, when the final DVD was screened to the whole community. The film was well received by the local community and continues to be screened at various events including the Appledore Arts Festival (2008) and the Appledore Book Festival (2008).

Copies of the DVD are available, please contact us if you would like a copy. We suggest a donation of £5 to cover our costs.

Digital Art


Appledore Arts was awarded £7,000 from the Local Network Fund to run a Digital Arts project with Young People from local groups including the Appledore Baptist Youth Club, Westward Ho Youth Theatre Group and Wings in Bideford.

The project ran for a period of 6 months and involved approximately 30 Young People.

Seize The Moment a local youth service provider worked in collaboration with Appledore Arts. They were responsible for managing the workshops sessions at each young peoples group. Young People from each group selected their own themes and managed their own Digital Arts project. They worked with a professional photographer and film maker to create a final DVD of still and moving images based on their chosen theme. Each group then created their own short film which they also edited and complied. During the 2007 Festival a 2-day workshop was also held for the Young People to work on creating their still and moving images.

At the end of the project an evening of screenings was held at Wings in Bideford to help celebrate the project. The project provided local Young People with access to a unique and exciting creative project which they enjoyed and also learnt life skills from.

A few copies of the DVD remain, if you would like a copy please contact us. To cover costs and postage we suggest a donation of £5.

Give A Dog A Bone

Our sense of place and identity is partly defined by who we are as individuals as well as the people who live around us. Collectively this creates a culture unique to each geographical environment which is very relevant to North Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

This project was designed to involve different people and groups from within the communities of Hartland and Combe Martin. The aim was to help community members to explore and learn about the diversity and uniqueness of their village communities.

Participants created 3-D images of people who lived within the AONB. These images populated a map of their village which created a 3-D cultural landscape filled with people living and working within their village.

Karen Hawkins a North Devon artist ran the project, she is a highly experienced artist who has many years of experience working with schools and communities on participatory arts projects. During October and November (2008) a series of participatory workshops were run by Karen in Combe Martin and Hartland:

Combe Martin

• Combe Martin Farmers Market
• Combe Martin Museum
• Combe Martin Primary

Exhibition - The figures created from the Combe Martin workshops will be the first exhibit in the newly built Combe Martin Museum during the Spring of 2009.


• Hartland Farmers Market
• Hartland Youth Group
• Hartland Small School
• Friends and Makers
• Hartland Pre-School
• Hartland Cubs

Exhibition - During December an exhibition of the work from the Hartland workshops was installed in the window of Hartland Post Office. The Post Office is in a central location within the village and was seen by a large and wide cross section of the community.

Pots & Pioneers

The Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon was awarded £3,000 from Leader+ and in addition they contributed an additional £2,000 towards the project. The project was designed to celebrate 400 years of the initiation of trade in North Devon slipware pottery between North Devon and Jamestown the first colony established in the USA in 1607.

The first stage of the project involved four local artists working in five local primary schools alongside education outreach officers from the Museum. The children learnt about North Devon’s ceramic history and then created their own slipware pieces.

The project involved the following artists and schools :

Appledore Primary School Philip Leach
East-The-Water Primary School Chris Taylor
Horwood and Newton Tracey Primary School Rupert Johnstone
Instow Primary School Julie Bosworth
St. Mary’s Primary School (Bideford) Rupert Johnstone

The remainder of the project involved the design, building and firing of a boat shaped kiln during the 2007 Appledore Arts Festival. Some of the childrens work was fired inside the kiln. To complete the project a final exhibition of the children’s work was shown during September 2007 at the Burton Art Gallery, Bideford.


Seascapes and Landscapes

This project was funded by the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Sustainable Development Fund (£1,982).

Tony Minnion a well respected and highly experienced artist worked with children from:

• Abbotsham Primary Schools
• Clovelly Primary Schools
• Hartland Primary Schools
• St Margaret’s Primary Schools

Using a combination of techniques including creating their own work and then creating collages using IT programmes, they created a series of Festival Banners.

The banners were created and designed to visualise the Seascapes and Landscapes of their local AONB. The North Devon AONB is a narrow strip of land which follows most of our beautiful and rugged coastline.

The highly colourful and imaginative banners were flown along The Quay during the 2007 Festival.

Young Torridge Ceramics

This young people’s educational ceramics project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (£25,000). The project took place over a year (2005 – 2006), its aim was to actively educate young people about the importance of North Devon’s ceramic history.

A group of local students aged from 12 – 21 took part and were given the opportunity to work with local established potters. They were divided in to two groups. The first group were based at the Bideford Arts Centre and worked under the professional guidance of Philip Leach. Philip lives and works in Hartland and has worked in slipware for over 25 years, regularly exhibiting his work in the UK as well as Japan. The second group based at the North Devon College in Barnstaple, were led by Rupert Johnstone and Alice Hartford. Rupert and Alice work together and create lively slipware pieces and until recently were artists in residence at the Beaford Centre.

Over a period of months the students learnt about the principles of ceramics. Under the guidance of their tutors they explored techniques such as throwing, moulding and coiling as well as using slip. By experiencing these traditional methods the students were then able to adapt these techniques to create their own work. An important aspect of traditional North Devon sgraffito ware as seen in the Harvest Jugs is the way in which storytelling is incorporated into the visual decoration. This provided another important stimulus for the students who were able to express aspects of themselves and their lives using these traditional pottery techniques.

Prior to the Festival all the students and their tutors fired their work together in a wood fired traditional bottle kiln in Victoria Park, Bideford. The resulting work was then curated and exhibited as a ‘Feasting Banquet’ at the Festival. The work of the students was exhibited alongside that of their tutors which gave credibility to the efforts and creativity of the students.

“Lovely work, great to see all the effort and fun that goes in to the work on show”. John Pollex, Ceramicist

“Wonderful lots of talent, I would like to have bought some”.
Sadie Green, Devon Artsculture

Other exhibition visitors wrote:
“Well worth the visit, excellent”
“Pure dead brilliant, magical”
“An awesome achievement, the fun and enthusiasm shines through”

After the Festival the project continued the momentum by running a further series of workshops for the students and the work was also shown at the Burton Art Gallery. This served further to enhance the students confidence and to educated the general public about the importance of the North Devon slipware.

Flotsam, Jetsam and Dig-In-The-Mud

The project involved 64 pupils from Appledore Primary School, pupils and teachers worked with environmental educators, marine scientists and three artists to create a promenade performance for the 2010 Festival Finale. From late April to early June (2010), the pupils worked with this cross-curricula team of experts to create their performance.

Marine Biological Association (MBA): Jack Sewell a marine scientist and educator from the MBA, Plymouth, revealed the world of plankton, he brought a mobile laboratory with high powered microscopes and to identify plankton collected from the sea and estuaries around Appledore. Working with scientists like Jack was a rare opportunity, they learnt about the unseen life from their coastlines.

Hallsannery Education Centre: The pupils then spent two days out in the field with Pete Jollands an experienced environmental educator. He introduced them to their local coastal habitats; rocky shore, sandy shore, sand dunes and estuary mud flats. Through a combination of scientific surveys and interactive games the pupils experienced and learnt about these environments. On the second day, two of the artists involved with the project also attended, they worked with Pete and the pupils to start a process of creative enquiry. This involved collecting found items including natural (flotsam) and man made (jetsam) which gave the pupils the opportunity to consider the issues affecting their coastal environments.

Artistic Workshops: After their time with Jack and Pete, the pupils spent five days working with:
• Claire Anstee – Voice artist, singer and musician with experience working in schools
• Pip Jones – Dance and street performance artist with experience in puppetry
• Ali Roscoe – Visual artist with 30 years of education experience, currently member of the education team at Tate St Ives

With the artists the pupils created a storyline based on ideas inspired from their learning about their local coastal habitats. They created a storyline based around how three opposing groups – the shipwreckers, the collectors and the women of beauty – worked together with the three mythical creatures Flotsam, Jetsam and Dig-In-The-Mud to lift a spell from a haunted ship wrecked on Appledore Beach. The pupils worked with all three artists on different aspects of creating the performance. With Claire they created new songs, learnt how to sing them and also learnt how to use percussive instruments as part of the performance. With Pip they created a series of dance and movement pieces which were the central part of the promenade performance and with Ali they created a series of masks, costumes and puppets. The final performance was held on the Sunday afternoon of the 2010 Festival, over 1,000 people were present.

“It was a wonderful experience for the children to work with three such talented artists and they had opportunities to compose and perform across the arts that would have been more challenging to achieve in school. The finale of the performance on the beach was really good and there was a truly magical moment when the Women of Beauty descended down the steps onto Small Beach which was real theatre.
Sue Freeman, Head Teacher, Appledore Primary School

The project was funded by The Ernest Cook Trust.

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