- Date: 20 September 2011
- Region: National, South West
Nowhereisland expediction to the Arctic. Credit: Max McClure
In the High Arctic, the new island that will journey round the coast of south west England has been officially declared a new nation on behalf of its more than 2,000 citizens.
In summer 2012, Nowhereisland, will travel around 500 nautical miles along the spectacular coastline of south west England as part of Artists Taking the Lead - the Arts Council's flagship project for the Cultural Olympiad.
The new nation was declared in the international waters of the High Arctic by a team of leading thinkers, including experts in climate change, human migration, global governance, international law and environmentalism, led by artist Alex Hartley.
The story of Nowhereisland began in 2004 when Alex Hartley searched for and discovered an island which had been revealed by the melting ice of a retreating glacier in the High Arctic region of Svalbard. Material collected by the expedition team in the Arctic will be transported to England where it will form the basis of a floating island nation. This new nation will visit the south west coast of the UK during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The island will visit seven ports and harbours, accompanied by a land-based, mobile Embassy. Moored initially in Weymouth during the sailing events for the London 2012 Olympic Games, the island will then travel round the south west coast, making stops along the way and arriving in Bristol for the final weekend of the Paralympic Games on 8 September 2012.
Nowhereisland provides a test-site for the formation of a new nation, inviting us to consider and debate some of the key issues of our time - including migration, nationhood, global responsibility, human rights and climate change - by becoming Citizens of Nowhereisland. Citizenship of Nowhereisland is open to all and to date over 2,000 people from 32 countries have registered via the Nowhereisland website. The future of this new nation will be shaped by these citizens.
Artist Alex Hartley said:
"This moment marks seven years of work inspired by a simple question: "What if an Arctic island went south in search of its people?" The story of Nowhereisland has begun to capture the imagination of people around the world."
Phil Gibby, Arts Council Director for the South West said:
"This is an exciting moment for our flagship arts project for the Cultural Olympiad in the south west. Nowehereisland has already engaged people of all ages, with almost 2000 citizens, and several school projects inspired by Nowhereisland starting to take shape. The declaration of the Nowhereisland nation is a thought provoking moment that I hope will capture the imagination of many more people."