Author: Nathan Akrill

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Creative Coast 2012 aims to connect people’s imaginations with the stories of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site by building the creative sector into its management.  The first step along this path has been to form the Creative Coast Forum, a network of scientists, artists, educators, local businesses, public bodies and arts organisations who will encourage, support and deliver creative projects which connect people to the Site.  This group will provide continuing cultural activity for the Jurassic Coast beyond activities planned around the Olympic and Paralympic sailing and windsurfing events in 2012, for which the Jurassic Coast provides the spectacular setting.

We held our first Forum event on 29th November 2011 at the lovely Monkton Wyld Court.  42 people attended and 183 new relationships were forged!  80% of people learnt something new, and 52% discussed a new partnership or project.  This is hugely encouraging and sets a precedent for our future events.  The next Forum will be held in March and focusses on tourism.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Mix, the Cultural Olympiad for Weymouth, Portland and the Jurassic Coast, website has been launched. Have a look here

This features three of our major projects:

Coastal Voices has registered over 1500 people from across Dorset, Bournemouth, Poole and East Devon and rehearsals are underway.  I went to the rehearsals in Poole, Exeter and Weymouth and have been struck by how beautiful the new compositions are and how different from one another.  These are pieces of music inspired by Australia, the Olympics and/ or the Jurassic Coast that will be sung at the opening ceremonies in Weymouth, at Lighthouse Poole, and on the Oceania stage in London as part of the River of Music Project.

The five Exploratory Laboratory artists are now in place and have begun their research.  We had a really exciting day up at Durlston Country Park on January 18th where the whole team of artists, scientists and arts managers came together to tell each other about their progress.  I finished the day really inspired and curious to see what happens next.

As part of the Earth Festival in 2012, a giant sea lizard will tour the Jurassic Coast, bringing to towns a travelling cinema experience. Hosted by performing professors, audiences will explore and operate outer parts of the Pliosaur before entering the belly on a cinematic journey, confronting creatures such as plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs that made up the Pliosaur’s diet. The mechanised installation, developed with earth scientist Dr Leslie Noe, and inspired by the recent discovery of a fossilised Pliosaur skull in Weymouth Bay, will be a unique blend of film, engineering and puppetry, designed to inspire wonder in the Jurassic Coast. The Pliosaur is an Earth Festival commission, devised by artist Sarah Butterworth with theatrical engineer Mike Pattison, with film by Forkbeard Fantasy.  We  had the good news earlier this week, that they received a grant to work with a director to develop the piece.

Our PhD students are developing their ideas and have now set up a blog so that we can all follow their activities and thoughts.  You can have a look at this here

Daisy Sutcliffe, Creative Coast 2012 Coordinator.

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