On June 10, 2011 the City to Sea symposium was hosted by the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London. The Symposium explored how social perceptions and geographical links between cities, coastal towns and surrounding regions worldwide can be transformed. Artists, photographers and social scientists presented visual projects and sociological research exploring how regeneration and planning processes, tourism, migration, collective memory, visual archives and art interventions can facilitate the transformation. The event was a series of presentations of visual work and film screenings from artists, photographers, sociologists and theorists, followed by audience questions and discussion.
The symposium's case study was Bognor Regis, and included presentations from historian Sylvia Endacott, co-author of newly published Butlins: 75 Years of Fun! David Kendall narrated stories and presented projections of adverts, films, posters and photographs from the Butlins archive. His presentation explored how entertainment, sport and celebrity culture have been utilised to portray coastal towns in Britain, creating communal spaces for recreation, social interconnection and collective memory.
Anna Fox discussed her exhibition Anna Fox & John Hinde: Butlins 75th Anniversary in West Sussex and presented her commissioned project, RESORT and Rebecca Locke screened her artworks, Brooklyn // Bognor and Gold junk inspired by Bognor Regis.
The keynote speech was given by Peter Marlow, from Magnum Photos, who spoke about Liverpool - Looking out to sea.
Urban photographer Paul Halliday and arts consultant John McKiernan discussed their impressions of and approaches to Margate. Paul has visited Margate from London from the age of six and has been photographing around the South Coast for a number of years and John is currently engaged in developing a number of arts projects in the area, including a new pop-up version of the Moonbow Jakes cafe gallery familiar to the Goldsmiths, New Cross and Brockley communities in London.
Lanis Levy's project was originally conceived and shown as a slide projection piece in 1972, brighton beach/coney island is a series documenting the social life of an aging community played out on the pavement and along the boardwalk in Brooklyn, New York. Returning to these images after many years, they read as both singular moments and a cohesive narrative; a joyous memorial to what went before (but equally may still be there).
Ingrid Pollard's presentation considered her practice and projects in coastal towns and the slow process of arrival and integration into mainstream culture by migrant settlers in the UK. Isidro Ramirez's The Coast and the Built Environment is inspired by photographic works he has made in Spain that explore links between migration, tourism and landscapes.
Caroline Knowles, Director of the Centre for Urban and Community Research closed the event and discussed ways in which the 'seaside' now experiences high levels of urban-styled poverty and neglect while the inner cities are being regenerated and gentrified.
The curators would like to thank Beverley Skeggs, Caroline Knowles, Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London, Paul Halliday, Urban Encounters, Fiona Rogers, Magnum Photos, Rachel Twohey, Jack Goffe, Johannes Rigal and Cliff Davidson for their support and assistance with the symposium.
City to Sea
brighton beach/coney island
Lanis Levy 2010 (1972)
City to Sea Symposium
Rachel Twohey 2011