This is the short piece I wrote as a proposal (The title Dreamland, O Dreamland comes from the title of the marvellous film of the funfair at the end of this post:
I grew up with the smells of sea in my nostrils. As a teenager, like my Mother before me, I made candyfloss and endless ninety-nines for sunburnt and rain sodden holiday makers on Margate seafront. The rhythmic chanting of Bingo callers, rattle of coins being dropped into arcade machines and the thumping tunes from the Waltzer all went silent in 2005, when the amusement Park ‘Dreamland’ closed its doors to the public. Some said this was the final nail in Margate’s coffin. No longer the Costa Brava of the U.K; Margate’s glory was faded, with no hope of resurrection.
I returned to Margate after years away in 2008. I had heard that a new art space was planned for the Town, and it was going to be big. I found a town, whose cultural landscape had changed beyond recognition. Suddenly more than 10 art spaces were operating in the town. It seemed to me that Turner Contemporary were very deliberately involved in spurring on the development of an art scene in the Town. Building an audience in readiness for the opening of ‘the largest exhibition space in the South East, outside of London.’ I felt that the grassroots investment witnessed in 2008 could only bode well for the project, and I am keen to return for the opening of Turner Contemporary, to explore the new building, and to talk to the people of Margate to see what impact Turner’s presence may already be having on the town.