Alex Hartley's 'Nowhereisland' captures the imagination of young people across the South West

Issue date: 09 February 2012

Artist Alex Hartley's 'Nowhereisland' comes to the South West this summer as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Primary schools, surfers, a group of young mums and a team of refugee footballers have been busy preparing for the arrival of the island, along with its accompanying programme of welcome events, activities and land-based mobile Embassy, to ports and harbours across the region.

Developed by Situations, the art commissioning programme at the University of the West of England, Nowhereisland will involve 20 community organisations in seven towns and cities across south west England and is set to reach 250,000 people in all. Schools, such as Ilfracombe Arts College and Budmouth College, are using Nowhereisland across the curriculum for teaching citizenship, geography and politics.

Pupils from High View Primary School in Efford, Plymouth have worked with filmmaker Hana Backland to make a short film about Nowhereisland's epic journey. The animated film, which was produced by Efford-based arts project Take A Part, will premiere at Plymouth Arts Centre today at 11.00 introduced by Devon-based Alex Hartley and the team behind Nowhereisland's education programme.

Kim Dorian-Kemp, Headteacher at High View Primary School has said:

"It has been an absolute pleasure to be involved in Nowhereisland. The children have learned so much and making the film with Take A Part consolidated their learning of the environment and their responsibilities. They have considered huge issues relating to what makes a 'nation', including law, choosing a national flag and lyrics for an anthem. We are very excited to be ambassadors of this thought-provoking project”

Nowhereisland has already attracted an international following by pioneering a dynamic online programme using social media to connect to the citizens of Nowhereisland across the world. Over 4,704 people from 82 countries including individuals from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Indonesia, South Korea, Svalbard and Puerto Rico have already signed up. To register as a citizen go to

Nowhereisland's online constitution is the world's first on-going, citizen-generated national constitution. Citizens have been contributing their propositions since 31 January. Current top ten propositions include:

“Every Nowherian has the right to imagine a different future.” Tania Kovats “Every child will have the opportunity to look, learn, listen and make.” John Tusa “Every construction has to respect the Earth and the natural environment.” Patriza

Every week a Resident Thinker sends an open letter to Nowhereisland's citizens. These have included artist, peace activist and musician Yoko Ono, Eden Project founder Sir Tim Smit and hairdresser Vidal Sassoon. A 'Speak to the Nation' competition has just been launched with five Resident Thinker slots open for the public to have their say. The competition is open for submissions from groups and individuals until 30 March 2012.

For more information about Nowhereisland or to become a citizen visit: Nowhereisland

Notes to Editors

About Nowhereisland

Nowhereisland is an Artists Taking the Lead project, part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. One of Arts Council England's Artists Taking the Lead commissions, Nowhereisland will form part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme. The island will embark on a 500 nautical mile sea voyage around the spectacular south west coast of the UK this summer, accompanied by The Embassy a land-based, mobile museum. It will visit seven ports and harbours mooring in Weymouth (25 July – 2 August) during the sailing events for the London 2012 Olympic Games, the island will then travel to a further six port towns and cities: Exmouth (4 – 7 August); Plymouth (9 – 12 August); Mevagissey (13 – 17 August); South Cornwall Coast (19 – 22 August); Newquay (23 – 27 August); North Cornwall Coast (28 -31 August); Ilfracombe (1 – 4 September); finishing in Bristol (7 – 9 September) for the final weekend of the Paralympic Games on 8 September 2012. Please note: dates are weather dependent.

It is produced by Situations at the University of the West of England, Bristol and funded by Arts Council England. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of Bloomberg, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Royal Norwegian Embassy and Nicky Wilson Jupiter Artland.

About The Artist

Working primarily with photography, often incorporating it into sculpture and installation, Alex Hartley's work addresses complicated and sometimes contradictory attitudes toward the built and natural environments. Born in 1963, Hartley lives and works in Devon, UK. A graduate of the Royal College of Art in 1990, Hartley has exhibited extensively in both national and international exhibitions at venues including The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2007) and The Natural History Museum, London (2006). His most recent exhibition was at Victoria Miro Gallery, London (18 November 2011 - 21 January 2012).

About Artists Taking the Lead

Nowhereisland is part of Artists Taking the Lead, a series of 12 public art commissions across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Arts Council England is delivering the project in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Creative Scotland and the Arts Council of Wales. For more information

About Situations (producers of Nowhereisland) Situations is a visual arts commissioning and research programme, based at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Established in 2003, Situations produces both permanently-sited and temporary public artworks in the UK and internationally, as well as curatorial research, public events, talks and seminars and publications. Situations is committed to supporting the production of exceptional new work and projects, often in response to a specific context, location or situation. For more information visit:

About Take A Part (producers of Nowhereisland animated film) Take A Part is an arts in the public realm project for the Efford area of Plymouth. Artists and the community to co-commission and co-create projects that support the communities ongoing regeneration process. Developed in 2005, Take A Part has worked 'in-residency' in the Efford community to deliver projects that matter. Take A Part is a partnership between the Heart of Efford Community Partnership, Plymouth City Council and Plymouth Arts Centre. For more information visit

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