Common Ground

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Common Ground was founded in 1983 by Sue Clifford, Angela King and the writer Roger Deakin to seek imaginative ways to engage people with their local environment. The idea of Local Distinctiveness is at the heart of everything we do, and for the last thirty years we have captured the imagination of people all over the country by creating projects like Apple Day, Parish Maps and New Milestones, all of which continue to inspire our new projects and unearth the strong connections that communities have with the landscape that surrounds them.

Common Ground is an arts and environmental charity based in Dorset. For the last thirty years we have worked both locally and nationally to create practical and philosophical ways of helping people build new relationships between culture and nature, collaborating widely across the arts and with academics, teachers, architects, gardeners, farmers, poets, botanists, film-makers, foresters and storytellers, all of whom help us seek new, imaginative ways to engage people with their local environment and celebrate the intimate connections communities have with the landscape that surrounds them.

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People can make a positive difference to their own localities. Our intention today, as it was thirty years ago, is to connect people with their local environment through music, art exhibitions, film-making, publishing, community gatherings and education, creating the inspiration and some of the tools that can help communities make meaningful, long-lasting connections with their home ground. We believe that caring for our everyday surroundings, our animal neighbours, and attaching ourselves to place in this way is essential to our identity and can empower communities to express themselves and take action in resourceful, imaginative and inclusive ways.

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Black Apples. This work is inspired by the BLACK APPLES OF GOWER – a book by Iain Sinclair. The film investigates the ideas of travel, memory, history and place by cutting off a horses head and sticking it over a middle aged man’s face. Made in collaboration with Iain Sinclair and Anonymous Bosch with music by Buster Grey-Jung and support from Common Ground. It is the final part of my HEAD TRILOGY.

Read a short history of Common Ground written by Jos Smith, a post-doctoral research fellow exploring the history of Common Ground at Exeter University.

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