Author: Nathan Akrill

In February the Creative Coast Group ran an event for existing and potential partners and those interested in engaging with our projects and plans at strategic level.

Creative CoastWe wanted to share what has been achieved so far and the exciting initiatives in the pipeline and to hear views on the themes and ambitions which will shape our future programme.

Since the launch of the programme, we have involved 37 artists and 893 participants over 15 projects with audiences totalling 54,811.  We are now looking ahead to the future, in particular the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.  The sailing events at Weymouth and Portland will take place against the backdrop of the Jurassic Coast and will put a spotlight on the programme’s activities and legacy around our key interests in arts and earth science; climate change; international partnership; global values and local engagement.

We looked at six projects that we think will ensure that we deliver against these:

Coastal Voices

Coastal Voices is a unique umbrella project linking the arts and earth sciences through the concept of ‘the voice’.  It aspires to encourage and stimulate coastal communities in the South West to examine and ‘voice’ the unique relationship with the geology and forces that shape our environment, and also to explore the ‘voice’ of the coast. It will actively promote international exchange and dialogue, and connect communities, amateurs and arts professionals, leading to shared outcomes for 2012 and beyond.

Desert Crossings

State of Emergency will commission acclaimed South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma to create a full length national dance theatre touring work entitled ‘Desert Crossings’ inspired by and developed within the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.  Inspired by the similarities between the England’s only natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast and the Skeleton Coast of Namibia and created in direct response to Maqoma’s recent piece ‘Skeleton Dry’, the work is an exploration and reflection on the two very different regions, which are united through the rocks on which they stand.

Earth Festival

The Jurassic Coast Earth Festival 2012 will interpret and celebrate the Jurassic Coast through ground-breaking science and art, provide a portal onto other natural World Heritage Sites around the UK and the world, and act as a catalyst for discussion of environmental issues as a key project in the South West Cultural Olympiad.


Interface is a collaborative visual arts project which will create new site specific work inspired by global issues and processes in evidence on the Jurassic Coast, and by particular locations along it.  It is a two stage project running over three years from 2010 to 2012 led by seven Dorset visual arts organisations, Dorset’s public art development project and the County Council Arts Team.


Quest is rooted in universal stories like the Odyssey and Arthurian myth. It is about the challenges of our individual lives and aspirations, as embodied in the contests and trials of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Bog Standard or Beautiful

Around sites as special as the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, why have bog standard objects when we could have outstanding design?  Artists are primarily creative thinkers, who use this skill to create objects and images.  When artists work within design teams and collaborate with engineers, architects, landscape designers and others – they can bring a unique dimension and viewpoint.  They can help create projects that move from the ordinary to the extraordinary.  Artists, who are able to un-prescriptively respond to the context of a location, can change a space into a place and give it a special sense of identity.
The event ran exactly to time, on budget and was well received.  Despite approximately 20 people being unable to attend on the day, 73 people attended.

Sample of some of the offers and exchanges laid on the table during the event (in “post-it” words only)

  • Bournemouth University Atrium Gallery are looking to host or promote work also interested in conservation science and through the media school
  • MLA say that museums and libraries could fund activities in venues
  • Purbeck School wants to involve its GSCE group and make overseas links.
  • National Trust wants to provide venues and a follow up meeting to get arts and science collaboration.
  • Youth Music thinks their sing up programme is of interest to Coastal Voices
  • South West Coastal Path is soon to be the first official leg of the national route and is interested in artistic ways of interpreting the journey perhaps with a downloadable version of Coastal voices choral project so walkers can walk and listen to the journey through time
  • National Sailing Academy would like help with iconic art
  • Exmouth Town Council are developing their town centre in 18 months and would like help with public art.
  • British Council has 3 interconnected programmes (creative economy/ intercultural dialogue/ climate change) which could be used by the Earth festival perhaps in school partnerships/ School Gateways/ torch relays.
  • West Dorset Partnership – would like to link to local contacts and partnerships
  • Discovering Places – sees opportunity to link Earth Festival to the resource they wish to create for those visiting the Olympics with a youth focus.Daisy Sutcliffe , Jurassic Coast Arts Coordinator


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