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Dance of the Seaweed

Dance of the Seaweed: Developing Creative Arts Practice for Co-Narrating More-than-Human Relations with a Coastal Landscape

The coastline plays a vital role in the history, culture and economy of the UK. Yet a historic fall in demand for domestic seaside holidays, and a decline in the fishing and shipbuilding industries, have contributed to various socio-economic challenges within these areas. Recent government and policy reports on coastal communities identify a series of common characteristics: physical isolation and inadequate transport connectivity, a decline in employment, high levels of deprivation, aging populations, and disproportionate high levels of poor health and benefit claimants. Coastal community regions have a rich and diverse natural and cultural heritage, with coastal and maritime assets and a wealth of intangible vernacular practices related to society, economy and nature. However, these are at risk of being lost. There is urgent need for government support to promote and support coastal areas and provide targeted investment in communities, strengthening their long-term flourishing, diversification, and appeal as place to live, work and engage in leisure activities. 

The project examines past and future imaginaries of human relationships with the coast through the lens of seaweed. Seaweed has long supported the economic health of coastal communities. It is receiving escalating policy and industry attention for its role in diversifying livelihoods, and as a possible solution to socio-economic and environmental challenges. To date, the dominant view of seaweed is as a product of an increasingly commercialised, human-centric sea space. This project addresses the disconnect between the extractive approach and an expressive, sensory seascape, post-humanistic approach. The embodied, visceral, mobile, textual, imaginaries and expressive cultures, past and present, of seaweed will be examined. It will explore a novel framing of people’s relationships with seaweed based around creative arts practice, utilising movement workshops, choreography, and dance performance to generate knowledge and translate novel insights about lived experiences and memories of the North East coast.  

This project directly links to activities taking place in the themes of Multi-species and Bio-designs and Cultures and Places. 

Funder: Catherine Cookson Foundation

Collaborators: Charlotte Veal (PI), Esther Huss (dance artist and community facilitator Cambois,, Maggie Roe (advisor)

Aim: To examine the cultures and histories of seaweed to inform understanding of a community’s lived experiences of the coast, and to develop novel methods for multi-species landscape research.  

To find out more or to get involved please contact Charlotte at

Image: Charlotte Veal