Art installation brings public together over Remembrance weekend

Katherine Moss

An estimated 20,000 people passed through the Harbour Arm Station at Folkestone during the 84 hours that Walking with Ghosts took place over Remembrance Weekend.

Following its 11am launch on Friday 11 November, the multimedia immersive art experience exploring the legacy of war, remained open for 84 hours, eventually coming to a close at 11pm on Monday 14 November.

Inspired by Folkstone’s, and in particular the Harbour Arm’s, important place in the history of war, Walking with Ghosts used original Imperial War Museum film footage from the First World War, as well as photographs, artworks, poetry, letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, and testimony on war and its impact from 1914 to the present.

The event was an opportunity for the public to reflect on the legacy of war and conflict, and share their own personal and family stories about the impact of war.

Professor Helen Brooks, Walking with Ghosts producer and Professor of Cultural and Creative History at the University of Kent, said: ’It was an amazing experience which brought the community of Folkestone together and became a hub for sharing so many stories, memories and photos. It was incredible to see accessible, live art transforming a space and bringing together everyone from babes in arms and school groups to veterans and elderly people who remembered their fathers and grandfathers travelling to war through the station. Whether we return again to the Harbour Arm, or translate the experience to a new site, Walking with Ghosts will live on.’

The event was attended by people from across the county, as well as some traveling from further afield. It was also a great platform for the project’s community partners – Palm Deaf, East Kent Mencap Day Resources Centre, and the Nepalese Community Group – to engage with the public and be part of an exciting, meaningful, and widely accessible project.

Dr Philip Pothen, Director of Engagement at the University of Kent said: ‘This is a wonderful, moving and powerful project, highlighting the importance of place to the history of the First World War and bringing that history to life so vividly. This is research at its very best, bringing together outstanding scholarship, partnership and a deep commitment to engaging local and regional communities and, through extensive media coverage, the wider world.’