Week 5 – reflection (1/2)

The main tasks this week have been to develop networking opportunities. At present, due to day job commitments, I don’t often have the opportunity to attend events during week-day working hours so I have concentrated on other means of networking.

Although I have a list as long as my arm, I stated that for this week my networking would include (in addition to usual social media networking, and building on recent contact with individuals relevant to my project):

1. Contact design studio Atelier NL who will be showcasing its design project to raise awareness of the sand crisis at Dutch Design Week.

2. To apply for grant funding from an environmental art body to support a research trip to meet people affected by sand crisis/working in industry.

3. Join art.earth and The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World to build further connections with environmental art community.

I managed one of the three – contacting Atelier NL. This is simply due to waiting until pay day to complete number three, and because I have a little more research to complete before sending off my grant application for number two.

What I have done however is contact glassmaker Jo Downs to ask for advice on turning my images into large-scale glass installations. Her work is well-known throughout Cornwall and further afield. She not only creates decorative glass art pieces but also responds to commissions for cruise liners, churches, hotels and corporate headquarters.

Image of Jo’s Launceston gallery © jodowns.com

I’m hoping to discuss the possibilities of how to turn my artwork into glass, which can in turn be turned back into a sand substitute.

To add to this, I have contacted CAST, which “aims to promote participation, appreciation and learning in the visual arts and to encourage interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration across the arts and sciences“.

I have asked them about how I can become involved with the organisation, and about potential opportunities. I plan to attend a talk on November 18 to be given by Helen Sear.

© Still from ‘Moments of Capture’, Helen Sear. 2017

Helen led a residency I attended at Hestercombe Gardens earlier this year so it will be a chance to catch up and hopefully meet the CAST team.

I have also sent out a call on CoaST. This is a social enterprise based in Cornwall but working nationally that is working towards ‘one planet tourism’ – or tourism that supports the community, economy and environment.

I wrote via its Livewire service:

I’m currently studying for my MA in Photography via Fal Uni. My work, Harena Now, is focusing on the global sand crisis and I want to ask if anyone here is aware of this issue, and, if yes, would be willing to share their thoughts on it.

I create my images with sand, seawater and sunlight and use historic/alternative photographic processes with minimal chemical toxicity to keep my own photographic footprint on the environment as small as possible.

My website is josiepurcellphotography.com – if you can spare some time and have any thoughts on this issue, which has affected local shores as well as locations around the world, you can email me at josie@shutterpod.co.uk or via my website.

Within a few minutes I had received a reply from Cornwall Council’s Flood Resilience department. This related to schemes due to take place in Cornwall that relate to beach replenishment by depositing sand at sea and allowing natural cycles to take this to shore, and dune protection. The officer responding also shared a link to a Norfolk project due to take place to provide inspiration for my work.

They also suggested an idea as another avenue to explore.  This relates to how historically coastal towns and villages are defended by concrete structures or “armouring”, both expensive and unnatural in appearance.

The officer responding said: “Sand is obviously used to make the concrete in these defences and we are looking at more sustainable solutions to flood risk management.

“I am wondering whether part of your thoughts might look at how much it costs to defend a beach (in terms of weight of sand in concrete) and how much sand is used in beach replenishment and then whether you can present this through photography; if nothing else it seems a paradox to use sand in concrete to defend properties previously protected by sand on beaches.

“Anyway just thought you should have a response from the Council’s Flood Resilience Team and we all wish you luck for your studies.”

This has been a great help, particularly as a point of contact on a local level. I plan to ask if I can spend some time with the team to research local initiatives for the future.

I feel as though there is much potential to garner interest and support for the Harena Now project and will continue to put out feelers and make connections with those that may be interested.



CoaST One Planet Tourism Network. Available at: http://www.coastproject.co.uk/ [accessed October 30, 2017]

Cornubian Arts and Science Trust (CAST). Available at: http://c-a-s-t.org.uk/ [accessed October 30, 2017]

Jo Downs. Available at: https://jodowns.com/ [accessed October 30, 2017]