Jeremy Deller proposes a new seawatching station for Marine Drive, Scarborough

Posted on 30.04.2024

Wild Eye, the art and nature programme celebrating Scarborough’s incredible wildlife and coastal environment, has announced a proposal by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller for a marine wildlife watching station on Marine Drive.  

Art is a way of staying in love with the world. It is also a form of magic or a cover version of reality. Here in Scarborough, we propose a new ancient work to be created about the sea and the creatures within it which also hints at the possibility of the past being still present, just beneath our feet and perhaps inclines us to think about what traces we will leave behind on the world.

Jeremy Deller

Wild Eye is a collaboration between Invisible Dust and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. The two organisations are working with North Yorkshire Council to develop plans for the new seawatching station on Marine Drive—adjacent to the Yorkshire Water plant complex—which will give local people and visitors insight into the amazing marine wildlife, including porpoises and dolphins which are regularly viewable from the area. The location is one of the best places on the English coast to see dolphins and porpoises with more than 350 sightings in the last year.

As part of the proposals, Jeremy Deller will create a new durable mosaic artwork inspired by both Scarborough’s sea life and its Roman past. Deller plans to work with a professional mosaic artist—Yorkshire-based Coralie Turpin—to create a fragmentary Roman-style floor mosaic which references Scarborough’s Roman past (evidenced in the Roman signal station on the headland just above the site) and the amazing wealth of wildlife in its seas.

It will be accompanied by information panels (with links to digital media) along the wall at the back of the shelter to help people identify the wildlife they see and to learn more about the amazing wildlife both above and below the sea. The shelter and information boards will be visible from the sea wall walkway, drawing people over to see the artwork under their feet and encouraging people to look out to sea for the creatures depicted using the free telescopes.

The existing damaged shelter will be repaired and renewed. Free seawatching telescopes (including a wheelchair-accessible telescope) will be installed at the elevated edge of the shelter forecourt.

Jeremy Deller on BBC Radio 4 Front Row

Listen to Jeremy Deller speak about his new Wild Eye commission on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row (interview from 15 mins).

Providing inspiring ways for people to experience and have a deeper connection with nature is a surefire way to build better protection and care – this beautiful sea watching hub will be a wonderful way for people to enjoy a coastal view and look out for Yorkshire’s marine wildlife.

Rachael Bice, Chief Executive Officer at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Community Involvement:

Jeremy Deller was selected in consultation with Wild Eye’s local advisory group. During May 2024 there will be free workshops with local primary school classes, in conjunction with Big Ideas by the Sea Festival and The Big Dig, to visit the Roman remains at the castle, look out for dolphins and porpoises from the headland and to work with mosaic artist Coralie Turpin to create their own sea-themed Roman mosaic to take back to their school. Further free mosaic workshops are planned as part of a seawatching day in August as part of National Marine Week and charity organisation, Wetwheels Yorkshire, will also be using their accessible boat to take young disabled people from a local school on several marine wildlife viewing trips.

Community events linked to the project:

  • Collaboration with Big Ideas by the Sea Festival in May – Free mosaic workshops for school groups alongside The Big Dig
  • Public talk by Jeremy Deller in Scarborough on 22 May as part of Big Ideas by the Sea Festival.
  • Scarborough Castle Wild Eye free residents open days: 26 May, 16 June, 22 September 2024: Seawatching activities with SeaWatch Foundation. The May open day will also feature creative workshops linked to the mosaic and Roman Signal Station.
  • Seawatching event at the site during Sea Watch’s National Dolphin and Whale Watch week (27 July to 11th August)
  • Charity organisation, Wetwheels Yorkshire, will also be using their accessible boat to take young disabled people from a local school on several marine wildlife viewing trips.

The seawatching station and artwork will form part of a wider art and nature trail created as part of the region’s ongoing Wild Eye project. It will connect with existing Wild Eye sites at Whitby Harbour and Scarborough Castle, which feature sculptural works by artists Juneau Projects and Ryan Gander respectively, in addition to linking with two other new sites – Paul Morrison’s sculpture now installed at Scarborough Harbour and Emma Smith’s community co-produced sculptural works on the Cinder Track in Scarborough, due later in 2024. Along with a digital artwork by Shezad Dawood, Marine Drive will complete the series of exciting, thought provoking artworks that connect people to the natural world. 

Wild Eye is a collaboration between Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Invisible Dust. It is funded by the Towns Fund drawn from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities administered through North Yorkshire Council.

Download the full press release here

Download the FAQs about this project

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