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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Blue Futures

Suzy, O'Hara (2023) Blue Futures. 20 Jul 2023 - 03 Dec 2023, National Centre for the Written Word.

Item Type: Show/Exhibition


Curated and commissioned by Dr. Suzy O’Hara, Blue Futures brings together three participatory projects, Be the Sea, Renewable Blue, and Sound Dig, that explore our evolving relationship with water and the North East coast.

Artists have worked with engineers, environmental teams, former miners, residents, and young people to explore our past, present, and future relationship with our marine environment and waterways. The artists used these workshops to develop their ideas and content to create this exhibition, helping us to understand and care for our blue heritage.

Be the Sea
Louise Mackenzie and Hayley Jenkins

Be the Sea is a collaboration between artist Louise Mackenzie, composer Hayley Jenkins, Durham Wildlife Trust, and Women’s Health in South Tyneside. Local residents were invited to listen to and record unheard sounds of life in rockpools and the surrounding marine environment, and to make their own sounds in response.

The immersive installation invites us to connect to the wildlife and the ocean through sound and listening and encourages us to imagine what it might be like to call the space where the oceans meet the land ‘home.’

Renewable Blue
Paul Dolan

Created by artist Paul Dolan, Renewable Blue makes connections between South Tyneside’s history of coal mining and pioneering engineers who are leading the renewable energy revolution by using our waterways and historic environment to power our local buildings.

The project takes inspiration from a series of cutting-edge renewable energy projects, including Viking Energy Network Jarrow. The energy network schemes use the latest innovative technology to harness heat from the river Tyne to generate electricity and heat to residential and public buildings.

Renewable Blue uses infrared camera equipment that captures heat rather than visible light to go beyond the limits of human senses to better understand the climate crisis.

Sound Dig
Shelly Knotts and Caroline Mitchell

Can we hear through time? Sound Dig is a collaboration between sound artist, Shelly Knotts, Professor of Radio and Participation at University of Sunderland, Caroline Mitchell, and archaeologist Robin Daniels, from Tees Archaeology. Artworks have been created working with residents in Whitburn, a medieval fishing village on the coast of North East England.

Throughout 2021-2023, Whitburn residents have been gathering the sounds and stories of Whitburn through time. They have explored ideas of sound, making various kinds of sound maps, researching local history and the community’s sound-based memories of the village.

Blue Futures was curated by Suzy O'Hara as part of SeaScapes CoLab, in collaboration with SeaScapes: Tyne to Tees Shores and Seas South Tyneside Council. Hosted at the National Centre for the Written Word, South Shields, UK. Funded by National Heritage Lottery Fund and South Tyneside Council.

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Depositing User: Suzy O'Hara


Item ID: 17353
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for O'Hara Suzy: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2024 09:29
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 09:29


Author: O'Hara Suzy ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries


Fine Art > Curating
Fine Art > Art History
Fine Art > Art in Context
Fine Art > Digital Media
Fine Art > New Media

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