Bournemouth’s Arts by the Sea announces ‘Mind Matter’ artistic concept for 2019

The arts and culture festival, which returns in a new long-weekend format for 2019, also reveals details of its Open Call for Commissions, inviting artists to become part of the event


Now entering its 9th year as Bournemouth’s must-visit arts and culture festival, Arts by the Sea is proud to reveal its 2019 ‘Mind Matter’ artistic concept. This will explore key topics surrounding well-being and mental health issues, within the festival’s wider diverse and inspirational programming. The festival, delivered by Bournemouth Borough Council with support from Arts Council England, returns in 2019 in a brand-new format and takes place from Friday 27th September to Sunday 29th September across various spaces in Bournemouth. For the first time, visitors can soak up the whole programme of free events over one 3-day celebratory weekend. Arts by the Sea also invites artists to be part of festival and details of the Open Call for Commissions can be found on the festival’s website at

Over 127,000 people descended on Bournemouth Town Centre for the opening weekend of Arts by the Sea 2018 to enjoy more than 100 unique and thought-provoking performances and installations. Highlights included ‘Silicon Shores’ by The Colour Project; a stunning, first time, 3D projection mapping on Bournemouth Town Hall; Titan the Robot whose futuristic antics drew vast crowds; Bournemouth University’s Screen in the Square with its selection of animation, art films, shorts and documentaries; and Compagnie de Quidams whose ethereal characters and luminous presence enchanted audiences of all ages performing ‘Herbert’s Dream’. The closing event ‘Circus Folly: A Night Carnival’ by Shademakers UK, brought the local community together as rebellious creatures took over the streets in a joyous and colourful parade.

The ‘Mind Matter’ artistic concept announced for Arts by the Sea 2019, underpins a strand within its broader programme, addressing the stigmas and taboos around mental health in an engaging and compelling way. Despite increasing levels of awareness about the importance of mental health, 1 in 4 people in the UK will be affected by depression, anxiety and other mental health problems at some point.  However, research has revealed practical ways in which all of us can engage with the issue of mental health for the wellbeing of ourselves and others. Five key ways identified are: 1. Connect, 2. Be Active, 3. Take Notice, 4. Keep Learning, and 5. Give.

Arts by the Sea 2019 aims to utilise these five key wellbeing points as anchors to help produce an event that highlights these topics, along with a wide range of community projects and creative commissions. This lasting legacy for Bournemouth and the surrounding areas will promote wellbeing in all its forms.

Amy Grundy, Creative Coordinator at Arts by the Sea said, “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. Topping the amazing artwork from last year is going to be a challenge but we’re already working hard on making this year’s programme the best Arts by the Sea yet.”

Inclusion and creativity are at the centre of the Arts by the Sea ethos. As with previous years, the festival is inviting UK-based artists to create a commission that will be showcased at the 2019 event. The opportunity is open to all but is most suited to early to mid-career artists. Whilst there is no set brief, the festival is particularly interested in outdoor light art and installation work. It is looking for something visually attractive during the day and visible at night. The ideal piece of artwork would encourage interaction and exploration, with sufficient scale to sit within Bournemouth Gardens or Bournemouth Beach.

Cultural Development Manager at Bournemouth Borough Council and Festival Director, Andrea Francis, said, “We’re so lucky to be able to host the festival in Bournemouth’s unique and beautiful outdoor locations which inspire some of the artwork on show. Artists still have a chance to apply to our Open Call for Commissions and create something new for 2019. This excellent opportunity closes on the 1st April 2019 so don’t miss out.”

Successful applicants will receive funding, publicity around their commission, and support from the festival’s production team, and Creative Producer, to realise their idea. Artists wishing to apply should visit the Arts by the Sea website before 1st April 2019

Updating the festival format to a 3-day, weekend-long event means the same incredible programme of arts and culture will now be available to audiences over one weekend, with more opportunities every day to have an inspiring, mesmerising and fun-packed experience.

Andrea Francis, added, “I’m delighted that Arts by the Sea is returning with a jam-packed programme of free events. The festival will feature an inspiring mix of music, theatre, street-performance, installations, parade, large-scale spectacular and participation opportunities, giving everyone the chance to join us and experience something amazing.”

Whilst the core programme for Arts by the Sea 2019 is yet to be announced, another exciting year is guaranteed. From 27th – 29th September, Arts by the Sea 2019 presents an intriguing, lively and truly unique exploration of arts and culture. Keep an eye out for more announcements coming soon.