Jurassic Coast Earth Festival gets set to launch with fusion of science and art events

By Ruth Hazard | 03 April 2012
A picture of a boy carving into a stone tablet on a pebbly beach with the sea behind him
A volunteer helps work on the MEMO stone carving that shows images of extinct species of plant and animals© Masie Hill
Event: Jurassic Coast Earth Festival, various venues, Devon and Dorset, May 4 - September 9 2012

A series of more than 30 events fusing art and performance with science will celebrate the coastline that forms England’s only natural World Heritage site this summer, encouraging recognition of the importance of environmental conservation.

The Jurassic Coast Earth Festival is part of Maritime Mix: London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea. For five months, venues stretching a vast 95 miles (from Exmouth to Studland Bay) will be offering walks, talks, exhibitions and performances exploring the environment of their local area.

Events will run from May until September, spanning the entire Olympic and Paralympic Games period. Weymouth and Portland will be home to the sailing and windsurfing competitions set to take place.

A picture of fossils
A picture of fossils found on the Jurassic coast from the DEEP TIME exhibition
© Ben Osborne
The theme for 2012, Discovering the Earth, aims to enable communities to come together to investigate, share and celebrate the earth sciences, but also to think about the future for the coastline and the need for its preservation.

“We have a thrilling programme of events which have been developed from all sections of the community and will take place in all types of venues, from the beach to museums, theatres, village halls and even the virtual world,” says Candida Blaker, the Director of the Festival.

“The Jurassic Coast World Heritage site will provide the thread that brings together volunteers, scientists, artists and other professionals.”

Jurassic seven: Our top picks for the festival...

  • Travelling Pliosaur Cinema

    A giant, mechanised Jurassic sea lizard will tour the Dorset and East Devon Coast. Performing professors will demonstrate how to operate the beast’s head, mouth eyes and flippers and peer through peep-holes into its belly.

    Visitors will be able to climb inside to meet puppets, see an animated film by Forkbeard Fantasy about Jurassic underwater life and learn about the plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs that made up the Pliosaur’s diet.

    Lyme Regis, May 4-6; Durlston Country Park, May 10-20; Natural Seaton Festival, June 22; Spirit of the Sea, Weymouth, July 7; Portland Illuminated Picnic, July 22; Exmouth Earth Festival, August 5

  • Onboard

    Combining theatre with pioneering technology, this authentic aircraft cabin simulator will allow visitors to experience a flight with Jurassic Airlines.

    The journey takes place along the Dorset and East Devon coastline through 185 million years of earth’s history, revealing beautiful panoramic views of the ancient environment and prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat. Watch a preview here.

    Lyme Regis, May 4-6; Weymouth, July 26 - September 9. Tickets £3

  • Rock Around the Coast

    A series of 14 guided coastal walks taking place each Saturday.

    Starts Exmouth, May 19; ends Studland, August 18

  • MEMO Stone Carving

    In honour of the festival, the Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory is building an ongoing monument to extinct species that will bear the images of all the plants and animals known to have died out modern times. See it at the site in Lyme Regis.

  • DEEP TIME: the Jurassic Journey Exhibition

    Since 2009, the award-winning photographer, Ben Osborne, has been recording a visual and audio diary of his experiences as he travels the Jurassic Coast.

    His journey was not a solitary one - he travelled with poet Matt Harvey, musician Sammy Hurden and sculptor Lal Hitchcock. The show brings together their collaboration of work from their journey.

    The Shelters, Lyme Regis, May 4-7; Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, May 11

  • National Gallery of Lyme Regis

    A lively and curious collection of contemporary work by established artists from around the country, showing the meeting of art and the natural sciences, this pop-up exhibition offers paintings, iPad art, collinos, applied arts and sculpture.

    May 26 - June 10.

  • Red Rocks Jamboree

    During the three-day event, visitors will be able to learn about the formation of the Jurassic Coast, as well as how to identify rocks through expert-led guided walks.

    Special exhibitions of rocks, fossils and minerals will be accompanied by talks by guest geologists. Children will have the chance to dig for fossils in the sand and have their own activity area.

    Sidmouth, August 17-19.
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