Annual Theme blog post: February 2018

Annual theme blog article #2: February 2018

The start of this year’s annual theme has already gotten off to an exciting start! We’ve already had the Journey Through Time installations and launch event, two evening talks and a Family Activity Day - and it’s not even the end of February!

 We launched our Annual Theme: TIME in January.

We launched our Annual Theme: TIME in January.

The Journey Through Time installations featured candlelight, moving water and projections in St Thomas’ chapel and the Nave, which reminded us of the Cathedral’s own 800 year history as well as bringing to mind other elements which either travel through time or shape our environment through time. The addition of the atmospheric voices of the Cathedral choir in the evening added a wonderful layer of awe and wonder to the space.

Our first two talks explored very contrasting themes: ‘Time in the Universe’, presented by Dr David Bacon from the University of Portsmouth and ‘There are worse things than death’ which featured a panel of experienced presenters from QA Hospital and Rowans Hospice. We were reminded both of our mortality and the challenging issues surrounding life-limiting illnesses and also our place in the wider expanse of the universe. What a striking way to start!

 The 'pop-up' planetarium as it appeared in the nave on Shrove Tuesday

The 'pop-up' planetarium as it appeared in the nave on Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday is traditionally a Community Event day for Portsmouth Cathedral and this year it fell during half-term. We took full advantage of this and arranged to have a visit from the Science Dome team at Winchester. Their 7m dome comfortably filled the Nave and visitors of all ages were thrilled by the 360o projections of the solar system and neighbouring galaxies. This 30 minute show was complemented by a range of crafts and activities provided by the Education Team as well as a seemingly never-ending supply of free pancakes cooked to order by the wonderful Waffle Planet who served over 300 pancakes during the day!

The annual theme offers us the opportunity to build bridges and reach out to the wider community with events and activities which they might not expect from a Cathedral. It also provides the Cathedral community itself with the opportunity to explore issues in greater depth and perhaps from a new perspective? To this end we were delighted to receive news of a successful grant application to the Arts Council, which will enable us to have two resident artists during the year as well as additional training for the Cathedral staff team and resources to create a book of the project. Sometimes we are so involved in the busyness of running events that we don’t often have time to reflect on what we’re doing and what we’ve learnt. We hope that this process of creating this book will provide a useful tool for learning and reflection for us, as well as an opportunity to share that learning with other Cathedrals across the country.

Portsmouth Cathedral