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Temple

14–21 March 2015

Following the success of Lumiere Derry~Londonderry, Artichoke returned to Derry~Londonderry once more with Temple.

Across Northern Ireland, there exists an extreme tradition of bonfire burning.  On the other side of the Atlantic, in the heart of the Nevada desert, fire is the centre of a festival that celebrates the spirit of community, art and freedom of expression.

Temple brought together the artist at the heart of the USA's Burning Man Festival, David Best, and the people of Derry-Londonderry, in a radical arts project that turned the idea of bonfire burning on it's head.

Over a hundred volunteers joined the Californian Temple Crew, to build a 72ft high structure that towered over the city, uniting everyone in a huge collaborative effort, in the creation of a temporary shared space. 

Working with partners including the Nerve Centre and the Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership, there were opportunities for people to learn new skills through apprenticeships, a back-to-work scheme and voluntary training opportunities.

Young people were trained to use Computer Aided Design (CAD) at the Nerve Centre’s Fablab in Derry to cut the temple’s intricate panels. Further training in local schools also took place with students as part of their ICT classes, and a team of unemployed carpenters worked on the construction of the temple.  There were also opportunities for volunteers to get involved with the build, or protect the structure once it opened as a Temple Guardian.

After two years of planning, a successful kickstarter campaign and a six week build, Temple opened to the public for seven days on Saturday 14th March 2015.  Over the course of a week, people were asked to ‘leave a memory behind, let go of the past and look to the future.’  Up to 60,000 visitors wrote personal messages directly onto the interior and exterior walls and pillars, and filling the inside with pictures of loved ones, handwritten messages, and symbols of peace.

For many local visitors, it was the first time they had set foot on this site, an area known as Top of the Hill on the Waterside area of the city. Visible from the city centre, Temple was in the sightline of the two city cathedrals across the River Foyle.

Up to 15,000 people watched as the wooden structure burst into flame and  cheered as the spire collapsed twenty minutes later. The fire was lit by eight individuals whom Best had got to know during the build, including Tony Doherty, Rossa O’Dochartaigh, Michelle McClaren, Paula Higgins and her son, Emma Diven, Bronah Mclaughlin and Kevin Strathern.

Supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council England, British Council, Burning Man, Community Relations Council, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Parkes Hire, Airporter, Ashbrook House, the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland through the Acorn Fund, Enkalon Foundation, Inner City Trust, Maldron Hotel, Rural Area Partnership in Derry (RAPID), Waterside Development Trust, William A. Cadbury Charitable Trust, individual donors, everyone who pledged to the project through Kickstarter and those who wish to remain anonymous

In partnership with Nerve Centre, Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership and Neighbourhood Renewal Areas,Void, PLACE NI and Foyle Search and Rescue

With thanks to Peace Walls Programme, International Fund for Ireland, Top of the Hill Youth & Community Football Club, Top of the Hill 2010, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service and Doire Trasna

Website: templederry-londonderry.com

Temple Stats

TOTAL AUDIENCE

75,000

NUMBER OF YOUTH APPRENTICES

40

NUMBER OF LOCAL VOLUNTEERS

98

NUMBER OF CALIFORNIAN TEMPLE CREW

21

NUMBER OF LOCAL CARPENTERS

4

NUMBER OF TEMPLE GUARDIANS

45

NUMBER OF DECORATIVE PANELS

300

NUMBER OF TEMPLECRAFT USERS

400

NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO RECORDED THEIR OWN 'TEMPLE STORIES'

20

AMOUNT RAISED THROUGH KICKSTARTER

£30,000

Selected Media Coverage