About Us

Arts by the Sea was launched by BCP Council in 2011 and has grown from strength to strength, becoming an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation in 2015. The festival is Bournemouth’s annual celebration of art, culture, people and place, through which we strive to enhance a sense of community and raise Bournemouth’s profile on a national scale as a leader in culture.

Our festival is an intriguing, exciting and unique carnivalesque celebration of art across many forms. Participatory experience, diverse music, art and dance, site-specific installations and large-scale spectaculars in Bournemouth’s beautiful locations are key to our programme of events.

We aim to increase opportunities for people to participate in the arts, incorporating experiences that offer depth, insight and excitement for our audience. We value work that can make a strong impact on our audience and our town, supporting artistic work that is relevant, connects with and is meaningful to our audience. Inclusivity, accessibility and diversity are at the heart of Arts by the Sea and we value talent and high quality work supporting emerging and established artists.

As a festival that takes place in a coastal location of outstanding natural beauty, we recognise in the importance of safeguarding our natural environment and are working hard to reduce our impact on the environment.

The festival is funded by BCP Council and Arts Council England and produced by the Cultural Development and Tourism Events teams at BCP Council, under Festival Director Andrea Francis. Curation of artistic content is provided by From The Fields and Marketing from HotShot Creative Agency.

From the Fields
From the Fields Ltd provides bespoke curation services to festival clients, programming Arts by the Sea since 2016 under the artistic leadership of Creative Director Dr Roxy Robinson.

From the Fields Ltd is a passionate collection of producers, bookers and marketers with a strong record of delivering award-winning and critically acclaimed programmes. The company name references its roots in the green-field festival scene, where it has established an exemplary reputation from organising flagship events Kendal Calling (capacity 25,000) and the science, music and culture mashup Bluedot (capacity 15,000).

FTF has worked on an extensive range of creative projects, from town centre parades through to projection mapping the Lovell Telescope at the Jodrell Bank Observatory, not to mention its musical curation – which has included Manic Street Preachers, the Stereophonics, the Chemical Brothers, Sigur Ros, Snoop Dogg, Mumford and Sons, The Pixies, Orbital, Blondie and Dizzee Rascal.


Is modern life conducive to a positive state of mind?

Today’s modern society which brings great social and technological advances, also brings with it even greater social pressures. Despite the UK’s status as one of the richest and most secure countries in the World, and a steadily increasing level of awareness about the importance of mental health, 1 in 4 of people in the UK will be affected by depression, anxiety and other mental health problems at some point in their life.

While life is arguably far easier than it was 50 years ago, mental illness is on the rise. Excessive workloads and pressures in the workplace have also led to the claim that the UK is experiencing a stress “epidemic”. The emergence of social media, which is particularly popular with young people and brings the desire to keep up with this ‘perfect’ unattainable image displayed on social platforms is at the forefront of mental health issues among the younger generation. Despite this, talking about mental health issues is still heavily stigmatised, and in many societies around the world, remains a taboo subject.

An increasing body of research has, however, found that there are practical ways in which all of us can engage with the issue of mental health for the wellbeing of ourselves and others. There have been five key ways identified, which are: 1. Connect, 2. Be Active, 3. Take Notice, 4. Keep Learning, and 5. Give.

In 2019 Arts by the Sea aims to utilise these five key wellbeing points as anchors to help produce an event that highlights some of these stigmas and taboos around mental health, with a wide range of community projects and creative commissions that aim to leave a lasting legacy for Bournemouth and the surrounding areas, promoting wellbeing in all its forms.

Through the 2019 programming strand, Mind Matter, we aim to explore and challenge current attitudes towards mental health and spark conversations through artwork and installations inspired or influenced by mental health issues and experiences.

Arts by the Sea works with a wide range of partners and sponsors who help us produce such a wonderful event. For investment into the 2018 festival we would particularly like to thank our Sponsors Bournemouth University and the Town Centre BID. If you would like to work with us in 2019 and beyond, please get in touch through the link on our Opportunities page.

Bournemouth University

Bournemouth University

Arts by the Sea is delighted to have partnered with its Gold Sponsor for 2018, Bournemouth University. With a range of intriguing artwork and film created by award winning researchers and content-creators, Arts by the Sea festival hosted ‘Depth of Field: Research through Film’ – a new collaboration which is hoped to continue into the future.

Throughout the festival, a screen in the Town Square showcased this digital exhibition curated by Bournemouth University from short films and digital media created by its own researchers and academics. The festival is grateful to have hosted this work, which brought a unique strand of content to Arts by the Sea to excite and intrigue all.

“We’re delighted to have partnered with Bournemouth University this year, to bring about a unique selection of digital artworks to Arts by the Sea. Showcasing audio-visual pieces that explore research themes through the medium of film, Depth of Field: Research through Film will provide a fresh and contemporary strand to the festival programme while drawing attention to important work undertaken by local academics." - Dr Roxy Robinson, Creative Director

Town Centre Bid

Town Centre Bid

We’re delighted to have worked with the Town Centre BID in 2018 who provided sponsorship towards the Arts by the Sea closing procession, ‘Circus Folly: a Night Carnival’. Both Arts by the Sea and the BID aim to increase the number and diversity of people enjoying the town centre, so this proved an ideal partnership. Investment from the BID allowed us to increase the scale of the event and route the procession through key target BID locations, enabling local businesses to showcase their offer throughout the daytime and evening. Horseshoe Common hosted a number of surprise ‘taster’ performances from parade artists throughout the afternoon, as well as performances from the much-loved local ensemble, the Love Soul Choir. Visitors were treated to mouth-watering samples of street food from local traders. Later in the evening, the 7pm procession passed down Old Christchurch Road, through the Town Square and onto the Triangle. Visitors were encouraged to support local businesses before and / or after the parade by visiting mouth-watering array of restaurants and food traders in the area, in particular along on Old Christchurch Road.

“Our closing procession, Circus Folly: a Night Carnival promises to be a colourful explosion of colour, costume and beautiful puppetry, by the UK’s leading carnival-creators, the Shademakers. We’d like to offer our thanks to Paul Kinvig and the Town Centre BID team for supporting the procession this year. With a range of local schools and organisations involved, this will be a truly exciting and participatory spectacle not to be missed.” - Dr Roxy Robinson, Creative Director



Arts by the Sea is proud to be a member of OutdoorArtsUK – a national membership and strategic organisation that aims to bring together the many diverse parts of the Outdoor Arts sector.

OutdoorArtsUK celebrates the wonderful work, amazing talent and tremendous achievements of the brilliant individuals, companies and organisations working in this most accessible of art forms. It believes that Outdoor Arts are a vital and unique part of our cultural ecology and offer the broadest possible access to public engagement with the arts. The work challenges and entertains; it is our most inclusive and empowering art form; it captivates communities, and inspires innovation and cohesion. The Outdoor Arts sector, joyously liberated from buildings, is key to effecting social change and opening up culture with challenging, engaging and sometimes confrontational work. And they do really great fireworks.

OutdoorArtsUK advocates for Outdoor Arts across cultural, governmental, public funding and private funding arenas, develops the sector by providing practical information, guidance and advice, commission reports and share statistics, encourage connections between members and keep them information of opportunities, keep an eye out for emerging talent, provide professional training and offer comprehensive listings of what’s on where and when.
Find out more

Without Walls

Without Walls

Arts by the Sea festival is proud to be a partner of the Without Walls Touring Network – a network of outdoor arts festivals and arts organisations which tour high-quality outdoor shows to towns and cities across England, free to the public.

Established in 2007 as a partnership between five festivals, Without Walls has grown in size, ambition and reputation to become a network of thirty-six in 2019. This huge expansion has been made possible with National Portfolio investment from Arts Council England to Without Walls; recognising the value of outdoor arts which bring communities together and attract visitors to an area.

Since 2007, Without Walls has commissioned and supported the development of over 140
shows, many of which have toured beyond their network of festivals to 22 countries worldwide. This new partnership will result in more opportunities for the people of Bournemouth to experience fantastic world-class free outdoor art performances and activities as part of the Arts by the Sea festival.

Experience the Without Walls performances in Bournemouth at the Arts by the Sea festival running 27th – 29th September 2019.

For further information about Without Walls, its network of touring festivals, performance
and dates, click below:

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Click here to contact Arts by the Sea

Our address:
Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival
BCP Council
Town Hall Annexe
St Stephen’s Road
Bournemouth BH2 6EA
Arts Award Logo Arts by the Sea is a registered Arts Award Supporter and the festival can help you work towards obtaining all levels of Arts Award.