Process – Arts by the Sea’s response to In Memoriam

Audience Development

Workshops to encourage connection and reflection on experiences of 2020 and the impact of Covid-19

In 2020 Without Walls supported Art by the Sea to deliver an in-depth engagement project called Process and a walk-up participatory offer called Speak to the Sea both in response to our 2020 Commission In Memoriam by artist Luke Jerram.

Arts by the Sea worked with CoCreate Dorset a Community Interest Company (or CIC) who are experienced in creating projects which are about making great art and improving wellbeing for communities across South West England. The projects were delivered by four local artists and arts well-being practitioners.

The project aimed to:

  • Raise awareness of the Arts by the Sea Festival
  • Engage the Local Community in Cultural Activities
  • Increase Digital interaction with the festival

Process engaged a group of 17 participants via 12 targeted and specially tailored workshops that were delivered in person, on the phone and via video call using various creative artforms.

The workshops encouraged connection and reflection on experiences of 2020 and the impact of Covid-19. Each participant created a pillowcase, decorated in various ways, which were then displayed on the beach near In Memoriam for the duration of the festival.

Speak to the Sea was a walk-up live interaction activity in situ near In Memoriam on selected days throughout the festival. A number of signboards encouraged people to engage in their own contemplative ritual and speak to the sea about their feelings. The installation was accompanied by a facilitator and engaged an estimate of 280 people.

“It was very good in helping me to connect with new people, in a safe, positive, creative, environment after a period of not being able to. It really helped my mental wellbeing in giving me the time and guidance to process what has happened in 2020 - particularly within a group and arts setting.”
Participant Response

“This was SO needed in my life. I was going through so much emotional turmoil during the project; having this focus pulled me out of the depths of that and gave me some structure and accountability. I felt like I was contributing to something meaningful.”
Participant Response

“This audience development activity worked well to engage more Poole residents in festival activity, and helped build an increased online audience for participatory activity and delivery of online content. The tailored workshops and directed activities for the smaller participation group worked the best in terms of meeting the aims of the project to engage local people from the Poole are who had not previously engaged with the festival.”

Andrea Francis, Festival Director for Arts By the Sea and BPC Council Cultural Development Manager