East and West unite in Sussex Together celebration of the arts, unity and resilience
A unique festival celebrating the spirit of togetherness of people across West and East Sussex throughout the pandemic is set to open in Chichester Cathedral.
The festival will feature the successful entries to the #SussexTogether Festival of the Arts which was launched in the summer by Chichester Cathedral and by Sussex Newspapers. The festival invited people across the county to showcase their creative efforts, in visual arts, creative writing or poetry, with the aim of capturing the spirit of togetherness which has seen us through the coronavirus pandemic.
The festival will open following All Souls on Monday, November 2 when we remember those we have lost. The cathedral bells will chime in remembrance and ring in the festival on November 3. It will be an opportunity for both reflection, and a celebration of how the people of Sussex responded to the pandemic.
Bestselling novelist and playwright Kate Mosse, who lives in Chichester, is one of the festival’s patrons, along with The Bishop of Chichester, The Right Rev Dr Martin Warner.
Bishop Martin said: “The arts offer ways for us to be together and ways to find things that unite us. Through the arts we can find areas where we can come together safely to find common experience and to find things with a common language… to find things which sometimes words cannot express.
“For us as Christians the use of the arts has been integral to our practice, to our Christian form of worship. Music and drama and the visual arts impact in terms of our buildings and stained glass windows and textiles.
“It all comes into worship where it speaks to us about a sense of dimension which cannot be quantified, which defines what gives life meaning, the journey, the questions of grief and death and the life-giving virtue of hope.”
The Chancellor of Chichester Cathedral, The Rev Canon Dan Inman, was instrumental in setting up the festival along with Sussex Newspapers group arts editor Phil Hewitt.
Dan said: “We were really thrilled to see the range of submissions. Each in their own way expressed the mixture of emotions that people have been feeling over the past year – grief, dislocation, but also joy in reunions, a delight in our surroundings in Sussex, as well as images and poems of real personal intimacy.
“The imagination of our contributors has been absolutely fantastic and we can’t wait to exhibit the fruit of it all in November. We look forward to welcoming many people to the cathedral to see the exhibition and we will also make the winning entries for poetry and short stories, being judged by an expert panel, available online in due course. The visual art collection will be on display in the south transept of the cathedral (open 10am-4pm) as well as part of an online exhibition. There is no need to book ahead but we are running Track and Trace for all visitors. We’re also delighted that the Sussex Together exhibition is being heralded by bell-ringing here in Chichester in the early evening of November 2 at the cathedral and also in Lewes, the county seat of East Sussex – honouring those who have died but also those who have helped us to get through this challenging year.”
Phil Hewitt said: “It has been a huge pleasure to work with the cathedral on this festival. Newspapers bring people together and so too do our churches and cathedrals, and a sense of togetherness has been crucially comforting throughout this pandemic.”
The works featured will also be presented as a virtual festival on the cathedral’s website. The festival will be open to the public from Tues, Nov 3-Tues, Nov 17, 10am-4pm (excl Sundays), located in the south transept.
Entry to the Cathedral is free. Donations are welcome.
• Talk is increasing of further lockdowns in the UK. What do you think of the situation? Join the Big Conversation and have your say on everything from healthcare to how the pandemic has affected you personally and how we make our communities stronger: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/bc-worthing