Bold and Creative – English Cathedrals Launch ‘Wish You Were Here’

31st July 2019

Alongside its daily round of worship, cathedrals are opening up their spaces in bold and creative ways to welcome and engage new and existing audiences and encourage fresh witness and fresh encounter.

This summer English Cathedrals have launched a campaign called #WishYouWereHere – an invitation for visitors to come and see what they might find in a cathedral this summer.

And that includes bats, crazy golf, pottery exhibitions, children’s music workshops, a lunar landscape, Latin and Greek classes, Lego building, a helter-skelter, outdoor and indoor theatre, and Luke Jerram’s Gaia.

Adrian Dorber, the Dean of Lichfield where a moon floor artwork has transformed the cathedral nave for the Moon Landing Anniversary said:

“Creative innovation is part of our mission and it’s deep within our tradition of education and understanding.”

“Our visitor and worshipping numbers are growing year on year, so we know there is a cathedral shaped space out there and we hope we are occupying it in bold, fresh and exciting ways that welcome people, that challenge, that engage with our communities and reach new audiences, that offer opportunities for fresh dialogue and that say something about cathedrals being a place for all, while ensuring our buildings will be there for future generations.”

Durham Cathedral

Summer at Durham Cathedral is all about bats. A colony of Common Pipistrelles live in Durham Cathedral’s Cloister, and if you visit in August you may see bats flying around the cloister during their annual ‘swarm’. They sometimes get grounded when they get too tired from flying, so the cathedral has a special bat squad who regularly patrol the cloister in search of grounded bats that they can help recover using ‘bat ambulances’.

There’s a children’s bat watch in the cloister on 2 August and a bat walk on 30 August walk along Durham’s riverbank paths.

Bradford Cathedral

Summer at Bradford – is all about history and the arts with a ‘Turn of the Wheel’ pottery exhibition during August, part of the Shuttle Shuffle festival over the weekend of the 17th and 18th as well as their regular monthly events.

Chichester Cathedral will host the 2019 Summer Exhibition by the Southern Ceramic Group which showcases over 600 exhibits from 60 ceramicists.
The Exhibition takes place daily from 10am to 5pm in the historic ‘Old Kitchen’ in the Cathedral’s Bishop’s Palace – normally closed to the public. This annual event ranges from traditional functional pottery to figurative sculpture and runs until 11 Aug.

Peterborough Cathedral will install the Earth – Gaia artwork by Luke Jerram from 19 August to 15 September and are looking for volunteers to help.

Rochester Cathedral opened its bridge-themed adventure golf course in the nave this week. Created in partnership with the Rochester Bridge Trust, the course has been designed to encourage young people to learn more about the engineering behind bridges. The golf course is part of a busy summer programme which includes family activities and an outdoor theatre programme. The golf is free and open until 1 September.

Carlisle Cathedral

A new exhibition this August in Carlisle Cathedral by Penrith artist Christine Hurford explores the relationship between human and insect and between life and death.
Her work often incorporates large architectural pieces, such as mirrors with miniscule sculptures of ceramic insects and abstract forms. This year’s exhibition will be no exception – blending her fascination with insect and human life, through fabric printing, sculpture and drawing.

Birmingham Cathedral is a living tradition in the heart of the city. Families are welcome to join the free music clubs in August where young visitors can play games, sing songs. This summer’s programme also includes workshops, an organ festival and music concerts, family events, flower displays and commemorative concerts to mark the Moon Landing anniversary. Outside, Cathedral Square will host a cathedral fayre, a free cricket festival, a community fun day with stalls and entertainment for all the family and craft activities to connect communities and enjoy the city’s only green space.

You can step into the story at Winchester Cathedral this summer and explore their spectacular new exhibition Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation. Just opened, this permanent three-level exhibition takes visitors through 1,000 years of history from the birth of the English nation to the present day and reveals some of the nation’s greatest treasures, including the 12th-century Winchester Bible and highly painted mortuary chests – believed to have housed the bones of Queen Emma of Normandy, an early English queen

Her remains are said to have been found among a jumble of 1,300 bones within six painted wooden caskets at the cathedral, believed to contain the remains of kings and bishops before the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century.

The nave of Lichfield Cathedral has been transformed by Artist Peter Walker into the lunar landscape to mark the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing. Visitors can watch a film on the moon floor during August’s Film Festival, and be immersed in a sound and light experience for The Great Exhibition: Space, God, The Universe and Everything – when the artist in collaboration with Luxmuralis floods the cathedral with digital projections and a soundscape inspired by space, the planets and their courses. The first British astronaut in space, Helen Sharman, will share her experiences and her wonder of the Universe as a special guest on the moon floor on August 26.

Artist, Peter Walker said:

“We want these artworks to encourage people to explore possibilities, to reach for the moon and to reflect on what that means for those that went before, and for all humankind.”

Exeter Cathedral has a summer series of family education events that includes Tudor Time Travel, Tie-Dye Techniques, Fire Skills, Felting, Mini-Models and Castle Walls, World War II and Planes, and Den Building – as well as talks on wedding dresses and lace, a range of specialist tours, a summer series of music, an exhibition by the Royal School of Needlework – and their speciality cream teas.

Bury St Eds Cathedral needs keen builders to grow its LEGO® cathedral. They hope to complete all the stained glass windows over the summer holidays. It’s only £1 per brick and helps raise vital funds for the cathedral’s work. You can climb the Tower – only 202 steps.

Wakefield Cathedral is asking people to share their Favourite Places: Favourite Journeys this summer for a public postcard art show to hang in the nave. It goes up on August 3 and will run through to September and they are asking holidaymakers to send postcards from their summer breaks to add to the gallery throughout the summer. The cathedral is also a venue for the first Yorkshire Sculpture International 2019 and is currently home to Awkward Objects. Artist Tony Wade will be displaying Boundary – a photographic representation of the 60 mile city’s boundary around the cathedral’s labyrinth from August 3 too.

At Gloucester Cathedral you can sign up to a Latin and Greek course, take part in the ‘Good Shepherd Project’ flock of sheep, play Giant Cathedral Green Games or have a go at making a bug hotel, lavender bag or a spacecraft in their Family Learning Sessions or Go Digital with the latest Cathedral App.

They will also be running a number of tours over the summer including Highlights, Library, Crypt, Tower or Scaffolding Tour . There’a a Latin and Greek Course, you can walk the Cathedral Labyrinth or enjoy an evening of theatre with a performance of ‘Pride and Prejudice. Check out our website for all this and more

Truro Cathedral has a busy summer fun programme for families every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with brass rubbing, hanging dragon spirals, sailboat models and streamer fish among the crafts and activities. There is music from visiting choirs too.

The highlight of the summer at Lincoln Cathedral is a production of Oliver! produced and performed by the people of Lincoln.
From Monday 5 to Friday 16 August 2019, the Nave of the Cathedral will echo to the sounds of more than 150 cast members bringing to life this well-loved tale.

The will be performed in the round with the stage in the centre of the Nave, creating an intimate space where the audience is drawn right into the heart of the action.

Ben Poole, Director of Oliver! Said:

“The whole community has come together to create a genuine cultural highlight, and that’s something everybody associated with our wonderful city should be very proud of.”