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Temple – David Best: Derry-Londonderry, 14-21 March 2015

Temple 1

Temple. photo: Jonny Weston

David Best and a team of Californian temple builders, local carpenters and the community of Derry~Londonderry have worked together to construct Temple, a 72ft high wooden structure overlooking the city to be set alight on Saturday 21st March 2015.

Arti_5-465x230About_picTemple is a collaboration between David Best, whose temples are the highpoint of the USA’s Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert, and the people of Derry-Londonderry, where the tradition of conflagration is more extreme and poitical, The aim is to turn the idea of bonfire burning on its head with fire as the centre of a festival that celebrates the spirit of community, art and freedom of expression.

Temple of Grace Burning Man

Temple of Grace, Burning Man 2014, David Best and The Temple Crew. Photo: Luke Szczepanski

David Best and his support crew have built eight ‘temples’ at Burning Man, including the Temple of Grace in 2014. It’s the spiritual heart of the festival, a place for remembrance and letting go.  Over the course of the event the structures inner walls are covered with letters and mementos, and at the end of the week everything is set alight in a special ceremony, releasing its messages of hope into the sky.

Temple has been built by the people of Derry themselves. 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’s open as as a Temple Guardian.

The project was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, raising over £30,000 in 40 days from across the world.

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

To visit Temple, it is free to enter from Saturday 14th – Friday 20th March, open from 12 midday – 8pm every day.  To attend the burn, you need a ticket. Further details can be found below.



About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space


One thought on “Temple – David Best: Derry-Londonderry, 14-21 March 2015

  1. Hi there,

    It would be appreciated if you could accredit the upper photo to myself in your article please, I wasn’t aware it had been used here.

    Many sincere thanks.
    Jonny Weston

    Posted by jonny weston | January 5, 2016, 10:41 pm

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