Welcome to Beach of Dreams

About the project

Beach of Dreams was an epic journey to walk 500 miles over 35 days along the east coast of England.

The purpose – to explore how we could take care of the environment, take care of the coast, take care of the community and ourselves.

The Artistic Director of Kinetika, Ali Pretty, walked the full 500 miles with Guardian travel writer Kevin Rushby and radio producer John Offord. They were joined by local people, environmentalists and artists along the coast of Suffolk, Essex, and the Thames Estuary.

The credit list of project contributors is here.

Beach of Dreams 2024

To enable the ambition that this impactful project is adopted further afield, Kinetika is partnering with Creative Lives to widen its reach across the UK and Ireland in 2024.

For enquiries please contact Ali Pretty ali@kinetika.co.uk

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The Story Map

You can read Kevin’s daily blog and online Guardian articles alongside films, audiograms and photos from the journey on the Beach of Dreams Story Map

The orange dots on the map represent each mile of the route. Click the dots on the map to explore photos and text from hundreds of participants which were used as inspiration for the design of 500 silk pennants.

 

Beach of Dreams storymap

Hire the Beach of Dreams flags

Beach of Dreams created 500 naturally-dyed silk pennants which are now available for hire.

Beach of Dreams flag installation Lowestoft beach

Find out more

Request flag hire info

Contact Us

Beach of Dreams film by Fotis Begklis

 About the film

This film by digital filmmaker Fotis Begklis was commissioned by Kinetika and Essex Cultural Diversity Project for Beach of Dreams.

Fotis created a cinematic poem, created of asides and digressions that form a portrait of the physicality and human effort of the long coastal path journey where multiple voices, geography and imagination met.

The film collects images and offers up memories of the journey for those who weren’t there; the camera, an outsider to the journey and the places it witnessed, evokes a sense of purpose and belonging.

About the Artist

Fotis Begklis is a filmmaker, researcher and educator, who has worked across commercial and independent film projects for many years and teaches at the University of the Arts London.

His last poetic documentary, Grand Tour, was premiered at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in June 2021 and was selected to be part of the Acropolis Remix | Embraces: Utopian Proximities 2021 exhibition.

Learn more about Fotis Beglis here.

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Fotis Begklis filming at Tilbury Fort for Beach of Dreams

Fotis Begklis filming at Tilbury Fort for Beach of Dreams. Credit Mike Johnston


Slideshow images are from Lowestoft beach on the first walk day by Mike Johnston.  More photos can be found on the daily blog pages.

Why ‘Beach of Dreams’?

Beach of Dreams builds on the success of Kinetika’s Silk River which worked with ten communities along the Thames and linked them and their artistic response through a continuous ten-day 142mile journey on foot. Kevin Rushby joined us and wrote a daily blog. On the day that we walked from Tilbury to East Tilbury, he encountered the glittering foreshore on the Thames Estuary and named it The Beach of Broken Dreams.

“Three years ago, near Tilbury, I experienced something profound. In the bleakest setting, on a grey flat day, with a muddy tide sucking on a scraggy shoreline, I came across a beach filled with marvels and treasure. It was the place where London had dumped its Blitz debris on top of a Victorian tip which was itself on top

of a Georgian dump, and so on back to the Romans. I was totally unprepared for. No one had warned me. I’d strayed from the path and was watching my feet when I began to zigzag between the strange objects that were sticking out from the shingle and sand.

 

Gently extracting a complete 19th century glass bottle from under a broken WWII wireless set and a vicious thistle, I reflected that you just never know where joy and salvation are coming from. Beauty and hope can crop up in the unlikeliest of places.

Now in this time of restriction and stasis, at a time when the countryside has offered itself up for rediscovery, I feel like I want to walk, and walk far, finding more beaches like that one near Tilbury. It feels like an opportunity that needs to be grasped.

The beach is always the place where human life is exposed, with all its frailties, ambitions and dreams. Voyages begin and end here. Clothes are removed to expose the hard-won six-pack, or the beer belly. Novels are started and finally finished.

Children and dogs have fun, but sometimes, tragically, drown. On beaches we find sublime panoramas, but also all the rubbish that we had thrown away and hoped never to see again. With a brutal disregard for human sensitivities, the sands bear witness to our mistakes:  the dead dolphin in a broken fishing net, the empty container with the skull and crossbones sticker, and the stricken seabirds marinated in crude oil – all things I have encountered on the British coast.

And somewhere high up in the dunes among the rare orchids and butterflies, there is often a wavy line of dried seaweed, like a hastily scribbled message from the sea, warning us of even higher tides to come.”

From Kevin Rushby’s Silk River blog

“This is a time of emergencies and crises and humans always think more clearly when walking.

It is when walking that lost treasures are spotted, and their value and meaning understood. Walking brings contact with people and time to talk.

The range and scope of people that will be drawn into Beach of Dreams is immense: scientists and artists, old and young, expert and amateur, all manner of people will make contact, fostering new ideas, opinions and partnerships.

In this context, and in these times, Beach of Dreams feels like the right thing to do. It is a walk that will bring vitality and colour to thousands of people, forging new connections and relationships that will develop hope and inspiration when most needed.”

Kevin Rushby

 

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Read Kevin’s Blog The Story Map The Sea People Project Credits