Walking distance

Shared Space project – Walking Distance

This project was developed with DBID (Dorchester Business Improvement District) who wished to commission a permanent work of art to encourage use of the town centre in the context of the development of a new Dorchester Transport and Environment Plan by Dorset County Council Highways. As such the project was to look at the potential for integrating artists’ work into the highway and environmental improvement projects in central Dorchester. Thus a brief was developed to:

  • connect residents and visitors with Dorchester town centre using cultural references/interventions
  • enhance the walking experience in Dorchester town centre, improving legibility and creating points of interest
  • encourage people to walk through and between different points in Dorchester town centre
  • support the aims of Dorchester Business Improvement District, which invests collectively in local improvements to enhance the trading environment of their members (local businesses)

Parasite, a specialist in ceramics, were appointed and developed a number of options for work based on their research and an engagement exercise. In December 2012 they created a stall in the market to collect people’s stories about their place and have interwoven these with local poetry in the Dorset dialect by William Barnes to create a Dorset Dialect trail.

The Dorset dialect trail is designed as a temporary project in shops around the town. In keeping with the original brief, the aim is to encourage more people to walk around central Dorchester and to pilot new strategies for legibility. They will be creating a visually cohesive strategy throughout the town centre by installing a series of bone china coupe plate clocks in shop windows and other tourist attractions for visitors to seek out during a visit to the town. Each plate will contain words and phrases taken from A Glossary of the Dorset Dialect, written by William Barnes, as well as visual references to the local history and area and personal memories collected at the start of the project.

Uniquely the project is enhanced by a new technology which allows the user to scan illustrations and gain immediate access to a unique URL. This visual recognition app is similar to the QR Code system, but removes the need to display a pixelated grid. There is the potential to link a customised website with information on the project; the clocks, the words, and the trails and act as a gateway into existing tourist websites and offering a presence for DBID. The combination of design, heritage & technology will mean Dorchester, and the project, can be accessed in many different ways, and by different audiences.

“Hidden Language, Hidden Trails” creates  six trails to look out for; Nature, Food & Drink, Street Language, Art & Literature, Body & Mind and Haunted History.

Parasite trail clock

Parasite trail clock

Find out more on the Parasite website www.parasiteceramics.co.uk

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