Beacons installation in place at Ramsgate’s East Cliff Bandstand

Beacons at the East Cliff Bandstand Photo Frank Leppard

An installation at the East Cliff bandstand created by Ramsgate schoolchildren and artist Conrad Shawcross  will be officially opened this morning (September 30).

Beacons is an installation of four galvanised steel tripods with spinning discs at the top  and was created in a Turner Contemporary scheme as part of its Pioneering Places project with some 70 Ramsgate schoolchildren from St Laurence’s Junior Academy and Ramsgate Arts Primary working with Conrad Shawcross.

Photo Brian Whitehead

The temporary installation will be in place for up to one year. The four structures have a perforated steel disc on top of a steel pole and will be weighted by a tripod base. They can be manually made to spin via a dial in the pole. The handle can be removed (by Turner Contemporary) when access to the artwork might be required to be restricted.

Photo Frank Leppard

The children involved in the project have researched Ramsgate, with a focus on the historic character of its Royal Harbour, and this was used for their ideas for the artwork.

Photo Brian Whitehead

The themes are drawn from nautical signalling and ideas about Ramsgate and its Royal Harbour as a place of refuge as well as Play and Playfulness- noting Ramsgate’s legacy as a tourist destination; Caring – noting how to deal with environmental issues, pollution of the harbour, sea, air and litter in the town and Modern Machines – in a nod to Georgian civil engineering, such as Ramsgate’s sluices, bollards, basin gates and John Smeaton’s dry dock.

Photo Brian Whitehead

The creation has a concealed word hidden within the design, based on a coded alphabet devised by the children. The word HOME was chosen by the children to  be the message that the beacons send out to sea.

Photo Frank Leppard

Conrad Shawcross, children from St Laurence Junior Academy and Ramsgate Arts Primary will be at this morning’s opening from 10am to 11am. There will also be live music.

42 Comments

  1. They are a tempary structure so won’t need Planning Permission! I think they are splendid, has anyone thought of moving them around Thanet to various locations? They should make people think, which they obviously failed in your case No Name above, Duurh!

  2. How exciting for the children, I wish when I was a kid I could have been involved in something like this. Great memories made for the children with their involvement in something so significant. Well done.

  3. Yes the kids have designed these, so thats good for them, they do look terrible and an eyesore, is this the best we can expect in Ramsgate, assuming all funding is being spent in Margate still

  4. Wandered past them last night, they look very striking and quite joyful – I really like the positioning and the obvious link to the toy spinning windmills on sticks we all associate with childhood beach holidays. Great to have something fresh and cheery on the rather ignored unloved Eastcliff – and hopefully the increased interest (and visitors) will make it easier to get proper funding for improvements to the lift, bandstand, theatre and so on. Well done all to the kids involved and the local organisers who got this funded by the Arts Council and the Turner.

  5. I like them too, just as I like the colourful displays of buckets, spades, beachballs, windmills etc inside and outside some of our shops. The giant lollipops are very much in keeping with some aspects of Ramsgate’s seafront.

  6. well words fail me ! this is the latest heap of rubbish being planted in this area – it achieves or provides what ? i just hope this arty farty nonsense fizzles out in time and they take this rubbish and the barge with them.

  7. The themes are drawn from nautical signalling and ideas about Ramsgate and its Royal Harbour as a place of refuge as well as Play and Playfulness- noting Ramsgate’s legacy as a tourist destination; Caring – noting how to deal with environmental issues, pollution of the harbour, sea, air and litter in the town and Modern Machines – in a nod to Georgian civil engineering, such as Ramsgate’s sluices, bollards, basin gates and John Smeaton’s dry

    I don’t for one moment believe that school kids came up with this pretentious drivel,

    “ the kids wanted bright spinny things “ would have been a bit more honest . They look totally out of context in their surroundings from my point of view . Pretty much art for arts sake. But no doubt there are many others who feel differently.

    • I don’t see how the themes are “pretentious drivel”. Both primary and secondary school education have a wide range of subjects in the curriculum. I would expect children involved in this to learn about several aspects of Ramsgate’s history before participating in a group decision as to what form the installation would take..

      • There’s a ramsgate secondary school where a practical lesson in chemistry had deteriorated to cutting and gluing in a scrap book due to behaviour issues, but even this had to be stopped as a result of inappropriate use of scisssors and glue.
        No doubt the kids in this instance were pretty much indoctrinated with the “pretentious drivel” before regurgitating it in the group decision, force feeding the correct “view of the day” is not education.

          • No but i have friends who do, including someone who’s a behaviour mentor in a thanet primary school., for whom being hit, kicked,scratched or bitten is a weekly occurence. The story of glue and scissors comes from a thanet science teacher who didn’t believe the school in which the post was offered could be as bad as its reputation , they soon found out it was and returned to their previous school.

  8. Margate has benefited massively from the initially despised Turner. Ramsgate could have turned the Victoria Palace into something similar, instead it’s a pub. Of course Ramsgate’s very short on pubs, so that’s understandable. But whilst this aint great art, at least it’s an attempt to cheer the place up. Lighten up people.

    • LC- if your friend is a behaviour mentor then the children they work with will be the ones with behaviour problems-a minority in most schools.

      I don’t see how that’s related to your theory that children are indoctrinated into what you call “the correct view of the day”.

      • My partner’s grandchildren are constantly telling us about what they’ve been told at school , being 7 and 9 they are impressionable and have no life experience to question/argue what they are being fed as a result they accept it all without question , this is what i call indoctrination.

        • All children at school are told things. And they’re told things at home as well.Isn’t the latter indoctrination, if the former is? Or is it only indoctrination if children are told things you don’t agree with?

          • I very much doubt that any parents discuss the points I highlighted in my first post as a quote from the article and that not many would even think of those points.
            It seems implausible that anyone looking into the harbours history wouldn’t include references to the “little ships” and the harbours role during the worlld wars, no reference to the fishing fleet over the harbours history or its importance in shipbuilding and trade or the harbours more recent use as a base for windfarm work, which given the design of the artwork must surely have been an influence.

            It’s not a matter of whether i agree with whats being taught to young children rather the lack of any balance or alternative view. Without a balance how do they form their own opinions?

  9. i am glad the rest of the places turner visited did not latch on to him how thanet has , we would have to called turner world
    ps – same applies to mr dickens !

  10. Like the “Rainbow” steps and Kent Steps, here we have a public art installation, inspired by children, brightening up the place.
    It will be a very sad day if things are judged solely on their utilitarian value.

  11. It’s a new installation that will attract interest in Thanet. However, look at the bigger picture in the surroundings. The grassed area and borders are a complete eyesore. It needs weeding and for goodness sake plant the whole area with interesting structural plants that will enhance the installation. There has obviously been no thought about this whatsoever. Why aren’t there any lollipops on the adjacent side of the Bandstand. Give it some symmetry. Even the sign that explains the installation is a piece of plastic (more fish food), that is tied to the railings with tie wraps. Get a grip Thanet Council and look at it properly. Have pride in your work. Show it off, not turn us off.

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