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A Tide of Creativity

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Published on 21 March 2023

Blue Wave, performed on Roker beach, emerged from the Sea AIR programme
Blue Wave, performed on Roker beach, emerged from the Sea AIR programme

A community project designed to connect local people to the sights, sounds and smells of the region’s seascape will wash onto our shores once again.

Following the success of last year’s pilot, the Blue Wave project is a collaboration between artist-in-residence Constance Humphries, who will lead creative, exploratory activities connected to Sunderland that includes National Trust coastal land, alongside local artists, community groups, the University of Sunderland and National Trust staff.

The team are delighted to be renewing the project once again, supported by Arts Council England, with various activities building up to a Blue Wave dance and movement performance in Summer 2023.

Activities include participants taking part in coastal walks, making a visual diary, constructing, and dyeing sustainable costumes – all leading up to the creation of the dance and movement performance as they develop a personal response to the coastal environment.

The participants are community members of all ages and abilities, living close to the coastline, from South of Tyne down to Hartlepool, including refugee and asylum seekers’ women’s groups with partnership from Sangini, Friends of the Drop-In (FODI) and North East Migration Project (NEMP).

Eric Wilton, General Manager, National Trust South of Tyne Property Group, says: "The National Trust is really excited to be supporting the delivery of Blue Wave. It provides a fantastic opportunity to work with diverse groups, connecting them with the nature-rich coastline of the north-east to inspire the creation of a cultural showcase that will connect communities."

Artist Constance Humphries added: “Blue Wave reflects my passion for utilising improvisational dance techniques whilst working with space/place to facilitate cultural and multi-species exchange.” The Blue Wave project is part of the SeaScapes Co/Lab initiative to inspire agency, advocacy and responsibility for maintaining the health and sustainability of our coastline. Through the process of movement and dance, a number of field trips and collaboration; Blue Wave aims to encourage and expand community

participation, appreciation of our surrounding coastline, and stewardship in line with the Seascapes vision. 

Dr Suzy O’Hara, Research Lead and Curator: SeaScapes Co/Lab Creative Engagement Project, Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, University of Sunderland, said: “Blue Wave is a wonderful example of how cross sector collaborations between the arts, in this case dance and movement, research and environmental projects can open up new ways to directly connect local communities with why they should care about and protect their marine environment and heritage.”

Artists across the region who have also been involved in the Blue Wave project include: Tracey West, Lijie Zhang, Maggie Hsaio, Betty Hope, Parvin Abdur, and the Hartlepool Sewing Group.