Welcome to Beach of Dreams
Beach of Dreams is an epic journey to discover the hidden gems of the East Coast of England, inviting collaboration from communities and artists along the way in Suffolk, Essex, Southend, and Thurrock.
Kinetika’s Artistic Director, Ali Pretty, radio producer John Offord and Guardian journalist Kevin Rushby are walking the entire route, joined by artists, writers, scientists, and local residents. Together, guided by strong environmental themes and the challenges of our current time, they will consider the question “How can we creatively reimagine our future?”
Get involved, share a location, and share your dream!
Everyone is invited to choose a mile to walk, submit an image of the landscape, a drawing and a few words about your connection to it and your dream for its future. All words and photos sent in will contribute to a new digital story map of the coastal path, reflecting and recording the narrative of the walk as it unfolds.
Images submitted earlier in the year were used as inspiration for the design of 500 silk pennants illustrating the beautiful coastal landscape and its challenges. These pennants were hand painted using natural dyes by the Kinetika Design Studio and form spectacular installations during the event.
An installation of all 500 pennants marked beginning of the walk on 27 June on the beach at Lowestoft, during First Light Longest Days festival. Further installations and events take place along the way including Harwich Festival on 9 July and the finale at Tilbury Fort on 1 Aug.
See all submitted content on the Storymap!
“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, Writer.
Beach of Dreams Walks
If you submitted content for the Storymap before the end of May 2021, you will have been invited to join the walk. Please confirm your place on the walk with the form emailed to you. If you didn’t receive the form, please check your spam folder or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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 marinaded 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.
On this first iteration of Beach of Dreams, walking 500 miles down the East Coast, as we emerge blinking into sunlight from a winter of COVID restrictions and enter into a post Brexit Britain, we hope to discover the gems that lie along our fragmented foreshore and have time and space to reflect, draw breath and imagine how we go forward from here.
Kevin’s Silk River blog page: http://www.silkriver.co.uk/uk-walk-blog/
Beach of Dreams would like to extend a big thank you to all our funders and partners. See the list of credits and contributors here: