SEA swimming was brought back to Scarborough with the launch of a new creative arts project at the weekend.
Two mass swimming sessions were held to kick off the scheme, which is aimed at linking creativity with sea bathing.
‘Sea Swim’ has been commissioned by imove, the Legacy Trust UK’s cultural programme for Yorkshire in the lead-up to the London 2012 Games, and will bring sea swimming back to the public over the next year, but with a creative twist.
The project is the brainchild of writer John Wedgwood Clarke and curator, Lara Goodband, who both live in Scarborough, and regularly take a dip in the North Sea to get their artistic juices flowing.
They are now inviting the public to dive in and explore the relationship between sea bathing and creativity.
Mr Wedgwood said: “Swimming liberates the imagination and when you swim or enter the sea you see the land from a different perspective and you feel the shape of your body redefined by the water.
“A good swim makes you feel more present in the world, more connected with the things around you. Our work will look to bring mass participation in sea bathing back to Scarborough in a conspicuous and celebratory way and create a rich gallery of artistic work which draws on the experience and the effects that sea swimming has on both the mind and body.”
‘Sea Swim’ was launched on Saturday with two mass swim sessions, where the public took part in two swims
Each session was followed by group creative writing sessions at the ‘club house’ – made from two Grade II listed Edwardian beach huts on the South Bay.
The swimmers enjoyed hot drinks and snacks to warm up and refresh after the swim, and were invited to draw on the experience to create, poems and creative writing.
The beach huts are to become a gallery for the materials produced in workshops, as well as for curated displays of artefacts found and made by lead artists during the project, which will be exhibited around the region in 2012. There will be a series of weekly swims and creative sessions taking place throughout the summer and more mass swim events including a ‘Family Swim Day’ on August 27.
The project, which is being run in partnership with Scarborough Council, involves collaborations with arts and sports organisations across the region including Scarborough Museums Trust, Ferens Art Gallery, The Laurence Sterne Trust and The Philip Larking Centre at the University of Hull, and is also being supported by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, who is Patron of the Sea Swim club.
Throughout the project there will be several creative collaborations including with Scarborough-based textile artist Sally Greaves-Lord who will be designing special flags and banners for the project to hang around the beach huts at the south end of the bay.
Filmmaker David Malone, whose film ‘The Secret Life of Waves’ was shown on the BBC4 earlier this year, will be working with Lara Goodband to document the project on film.
There are also plans to work in primary schools throughout the area and invite classes down for swimming days and for students to create work for the gallery.
The films, images and writings created throughout the project will be then be archived at The Philip Larkin Centre at the University of Hull.
To find out more about the swim and creative sessions throughout the summer, go to: http://www.imoveand.com/event/sea-swim-swim-times