Coastal Currents 2018

Beach Hut 123 – Open Studio

Stories from the sea, collected and told using film, audio, photography and augmented reality. Add your voice to a new archive of coastal stories from the area.

Opening Hours: 1/2 & 8/9 September 11am – 6pm

Location: West of Haven, Cinque Ports Way, St Leonards on Sea, TN38 OFD

It’s hard to believe that it’s four years since I last updated this site. Four years since since Beach Hut 123 was open to the public for Coastal Currents. Not much has changed at the hut. The stripes are still half finished. The front wall still needs rebuilding. A patch of the ceiling has still not quite been lime-washed. Outside the hut, more has changed. Neighbours have come and gone. Other beach huts have been re-painted, renovated and rebuilt. But all these happenings are minor, similar in flow to the rate of change on the beach itself; slow, unending and inevitable.

Beyond the hut, we have a new family member of the four-legged and hairy kind. Much of our beach time is now spent exploring rock pools and cockle shells, both of which make fine entertainment for a salty puppy. And I have slowly started to pick up a camera again, and to think about the stories that lie fathoms deep in the sand.

Which makes this as good a time as any to open once again for open studios. My multi-talented artist and writer friend, Jamie Walsh, and I are collaborating on a couple of pieces that tell sea stories, real and imagined, using film, audio, photography and augmented reality. That’s the idea anyway. Hopefully the tech will hold up.

Jamie’s new (low tech) book will also be available for purchase. As will a joint publication based on the beach huts themselves.

The other focus of opening the hut will be to collect sea stories from visitors both in real life and online. If you have a sea story to share, I’d love to hear it, however you chose to tell it; whether in words, images, aurally, in person, in private, or online. I will have my camera and audio kit ready at the hut for anyone who has a story to tell there and then. Or, if you prefer, you can write or draw your story to share quietly. Or just come and chat.

My long-term dream is for Beach Hut 123 to become a repository for thousands of sea stories, both in the real world and here on the website. I would love to see the hut bursting at its seams with history, humans, tales of sea voyages,  exploration, conservation and ideas, all told using a mix of methods that do not impinge on the fabric of the building itself.

This is why I’m so excited by the possibilities of augmented reality. If it works, the stories will emerge out of the fabric of the building and disappear again without leaving a mark. The open studio is a chance to test out a few of these ideas and see how well they work.

If you can’t make it to beach hut for the open studio, the stories will be uploaded to the website. You can add your own stories using the sea stories project page. I’m investigating ways of allowing you to upload images as well as words, but for now, if you have any visual work you’d like to share, please send it direct to the Beach Hut 123 email address.

Details of Beach Hut 123 and other open studios can be found on the Coastal Currents website.

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