Leading international design figures to headline at Scarborough's Big Ideas By The Sea Festival in May

The fourth annual incarnation of the Big Ideas By The Sea Festival will take place next month headlined by illustrated talks with three eminent international figures from the world of art and design.
Christopher FraylingChristopher Frayling
Christopher Frayling

Writer and broadcaster Sir Christopher Frayling, a former Rector of the Royal College of Art will be joined by Scarborough-born Richard Seymour, one of the world’s leading industrial designers and exhibition and museum consultant John Sunderland, creator of the original and highly influential Jorvik Viking Centre alongside Dr. Peter Addyman, the former director of York Archaeological Trust.

Egyptologist and television broadcaster Professor Joann Fletcher, artist Jeremy Deller and photographer Derek Santini are also amongst the notable speakers appearing this year.

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Amidst a range of 40 diverse events for all ages spanning across two weeks, the ambitious programme also includes live music, archaeology, installations, photography exhibitions, wildlife talks, theatre, poetry, drawing workshops and guided walks.

Richard Seymour (left) and John SunderlandRichard Seymour (left) and John Sunderland
Richard Seymour (left) and John Sunderland

This year the Pre-Raphaelite church St. Martin’s will be offering both talks on Victorian designer, artist and writer William Morris combined with guided tours of the interior artwork.

Ann Brontë’s life is celebrated with a series of events at St. Mary’s Church on the 175th anniversary of her death including a service followed by bellringing and a guided visit to her grave nearby.

One of the outstanding successes of last year’s festival is to be repeated with another Big Day Out At The Castle, free admission to which is offered to residents within the YO11, YO12 and YO13 postcodes.

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With over 2,100 people visitors on the day last year, the event set a new attendance record for the English Heritage site.

With dance troupes, workshops, educational activities, children’s storytelling, visitors can also expect the presence of the Roman VI Legion re-enactment group from York this year.

Uniquely for an arts festival, the practical archaeology project The Big Dig will once again be undertaking a further two-week excavation of the medieval site at Paradise.

A first in the UK, the initiative offers primary school groups the opportunity to excavate a real archaeological site supervised by professionals.

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Co-director of the festival, John Oxley MBE stated: “This year our theme is Paradise with a number of related events.

“The Ancient Egyptian view, the premiere of Cayley’s Flight, a play written about the father of aeronautics Sir George Cayley, born in Paradise in addition to the on-site excavations are amongst the many highlights in this 2024 programme”.

In a parallel initiative for this year, Rowena Sommerville of the Big Ideas team has also organised a new arts-based community venture.

Titled BigReach and funded by Arts Council England, the project involves numerous outreach projects in music, poetry and visual art with local community groups and schools.

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As a prelude to this year’s main festival, Scarborough Symphony Orchestra will be performing a concert at Queen Street Methodist Hall on Saturday May 11.

Big Ideas By The Sea is funded by Yorkshire Coast BID.

Big Ideas By The Sea Festival, funded by Yorkshire Coast BID, runs from Friday May 17 - Friday May 31.

Tickets and details of events can be found on the festival website: bigideasbythesea.com.