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Uffington White Horse - Press Statement
Like all charities, we are faced with a challenging funding environment in which we need to remain open to innovative means of raising funds for our core conservation work.
We must also be open to opportunities that enable us to connect with audiences for whom the landscapes and properties we look after are not necessarily familiar. The use of our properties as locations for films and TV dramas is long-established. We have taken the view that the TV exposure the White Horse will receive can achieve the same ends, promoting this landscape to a wider audience. A number of conservation organisations have taken the same approach - indeed Historic Houses of Scotland will shortly be working with the same art group that prepared the Big Brother "Eye".
In considering opportunities of this type, however, we have to weigh up the benefits against the impact on the property/landscape involved. We gave the Channel 4 proposal very careful consideration and only accepted it after we were completely satisfied that there would be no impact on the landscape of the White Horse beyond the two day period in which the image appeared.
We conducted extensive tests with the chalk paste used for the Eye to make sure that it would completely disappear when washed away, with no impact on the soil and chalk substrate. We organised to wash the image away as soon as filming had finished, ensuring that the image appeared on the landscape for only two days.
Arguments that our actions jeopardised the archaeological integrity of the site are wide of the mark since it has left no physical traces.
In making our decision, we were also aware that Channel 4 would have been able to produce computer generated images juxtaposing their Eye with the White Horse, so the images would have appeared on national TV anyway, with or without our involvement. In these circumstances, we felt it better to take the route that enabled us to generate some funds for conservation work. All the funds raised are being channelled into conservation projects on the White Horse site itself.
Some have expressed concern that our association with Channel 4 is an inappropriate use for a much-loved landscape. These decisions are finely balanced. Perhaps we made the wrong decision in this instance. But we need constantly to find the funds to support our conservation work - and find ways to spread knowledge of our wonderful properties to new audiences. And to those who have taken offence, we wish to reassure them that, throughout, scrupulous care has been taken to ensure that conservation of this fantastic site has been given the utmost priority.
Reply | with quote
|Posted by Rhiannon|
7th May 2003ce
The official blurb from the NT (Rhiannon, May 07, 2003, 09:31)
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