Site Line day 1

Circular mirrors, escape hatches and forensic tilts…

The  DLWP has become  Site Lines new co creative lab space for July,  and the reason why will travel further today as a group, as four parts of a moving body, seeking  to navigate and disturb the building as a body…

‘Invertebrate’ and ‘Indifferent Deep’ offers us ‘an exploration of edges, borders, what can pass through, and between, and what happens underneath’ and this is our starting point…


We trace Invertebrate over three levels and from the roof space someone says ‘it reminds me of the stove pipes, seen in Syrian houses that are heated by oil’.

Slow walking around the gallery space, we are four parts, weaving through the sculptures, noting the spaces in between, through and below.  A private sensing in a  public space…we are a body within a body.

We explore through the eye of the camera (mobile phone) and our sensing eye. We move from exterior  to interior spaces, leaning, arching, looking up, down and glancing sideways. We become archaeologists, peering through the layers, and physicians, as we stand in front of illuminated intestines.

Moving  to the roof, casting aside our masks, we take deep breaths, look at the sea, taste long distance. We return to the gallery space, with three round mirrors, our instruments for the day.


With these mirrors, we start to move and create circular escape hatches, new openings. We fracture, create and disturb the space…so much can be done without touching…Its challenging, and the beginning of our creative lab…


Keep up with Nicole’s blog here, for updates from behind the artist’s eyes.


Site Line by Nicole Zaaroura

Artist Nicole Zaaroura will be launching her Site Line residency at the DLWP, commissioned as part of the England’s Creative Coast programme at the DLWP on 3rd July These artist led sessions will respond to Holly Hendry’s ‘Invertebrate’ and ‘Indifferent Deep’, and echoing themes, as they physically weave throughout the DLWP building.

Over 4 consecutive Saturdays, Nicole will be working with her project participants from the refugee, asylum seeker and migrant communities, exploring internal and external spaces, through an embodied approach to photography, using mobile phones, movement, somatic walks, and texts, forming a lab space for experimentation. Nicole will also be keeping a weekly blog that will follow the journey of the residency.

Site Line is a photo project that began in 2019 and is supported by the Syrian Resettlement Project, East Sussex.

Nicole Zaaroura creates site responsive ‘choreographies’ using movement, performance, texts and encounter to explore the physical, emotional and peripheral spaces that we inhabit and resist.  Through an embodied practice, she works within a sensorial approach to body, space and time, investigating, and creating ephemeral, temporal and documented works through performance, video, photography and installation. Using space as a catalyst she explores concepts and questions concerned with the dichotomy of loss, memorial, intimate distances and ephemeral borders.

She has designed and delivered creative lens based projects with the refugee community for the past 15 years. Her site responsive works are created in public, private, architectural and peripheral spaces across Europe, and she has been presented in festivals, residencies, and exhibitions internationally.

To read more and to follow along with the residency as it progresses, check out the artist’s blog here, where she will be posting weekly about the sessions with her own input and imagery.

Travelling by Train on the Coastal Culture Trail

There is something beautifully old fashioned about taking the train.  Even amongst the electric barriers, the whirl of the electric engine, the crackle of the tannoy, you are standing on a platform looking into the past.  The warm Victorian timber canopy politely sheltering you from the elements, the painted intricate detail in colours from a time gone by, you could be forgiven for picturing sweethearts alighting, embracing each other, throwing their worn leather suitcases to one side.

Today’s train travel tends to be less romantic, associated with the commute, shuffled along, packed in, trying to grab enough space to open the newspaper, giving up and just hoping you make it to your stop without falling over awkwardly into a stranger.

The Coastal Culture Trail, however, puts the romance back into train travel.  With ease, efficiency, and affordability, it truly is a wonderful way to travel the journey from Victorian Eastbourne to historic Hastings, via 1930’s Bexhill.

The coastal train line takes you within reaching distance of the sea. Racing past the pebbled beaches, windsurfers and beach huts, it is a chance to take in the landscape from a different viewpoint.  Having someone else effortlessly whisk you toward your destination allows you the time to pause, take in the stunning coastal landscape, and take out the Coastal Culture Trail map to plan your day.

Orientation by train station is a perfect place to start, often dropping you in the heart of the town you are visiting.  This is the case in Eastbourne, giving you the opportunity to explore the streets, cafes, galleries, and open spaces as you meander your way to the award winning Towner Art Gallery.

Arriving at a train station allows you to drink in the atmosphere and vibe of a town before you exit the doors, and start discovering it for yourself.  Taking a moment to pause and observe, you will soon pick up on the pace – are people dashing around in suits and trainers trying to make their next meeting – or are they slowly organising their bag and contemplating a coffee, and let’s face it, a pastry from the kiosk – which is exactly what I found myself doing at Bexhill station before heading out and turning right towards the sea.

Arriving at Bexhill train station is a calming step back into a by-gone era. Bexhill-on-Sea gives a relaxing pace, suited to the 30’s architecture, rows of vintage shops, and busy independent high streets. Nothing awakes your inner child more than spotting the sea, and strolling down from the train station is no exception. The stunning, and much awarded, De La Warr Pavilion is situated right on the beach, fronted by gorgeous lawns, and tempting colonnades. An ideal spot for a cup of tea and slice of cake overlooking the English Channel.

One of the many advantages of taking the train is time.  Knowing exactly when you will be arriving at your destination means more time for exploring each wonderful town.  At Hastings, I took advantage of this by soaking up the twisting streets of the Old Town and getting lost amongst the iconic, jet black weatherboarded net huts. Buying freshly caught fish directly from the local fishing boats on the doorstep of the cutting edge Hastings Contemporary really reminds you of where you are.

Travelling the Coastal Culture Trail by train means you can visit all three galleries, and absorb the best of these great towns, all in one day.  Taking the train is a greener, hassle free way to travel, leaving you with time to take in the vibrancy and grandeur of Eastbourne, the calm and pace of Bexhill, and the history of Hastings.

I have fallen back in love with train travel, perhaps today’s train travel does have an air of romance about it after all.


You can find out more, and book your train tickets on the Coastal Culture Trail website here


By Katie Lineker


UCL and partners: supporting people with aphasia to have better conversations

Thanks to a new course developed by UCL, a charity and arts organisation, people with a communication difficulty are finding ways to make conversation easier.

Aphasia is a serious communication difficulty that affects how people speak, understand, read and write words. It’s something that can develop after a brain injury (most typically after a stroke) and 350,000 people are currently living with it in the UK. Yet only 5% of the population have even heard of it, making what can be a very challenging condition also a very lonely place to be.

“Imagine not being able to speak like you can now. Not being able to order a coffee in a café, share your day with your partner, chat to your kids. That’s what it’s like for people living with aphasia. They’ve lost their language. It robs them of their ability to connect, to be heard and to listen,” explains Firle Beckley, a speech and language therapist and PhD student based at UCL.

Firle has been instrumental in setting up the Art of Conversation with Aphasia, a new eight-week creative wellbeing course that helps people with aphasia to have more successful and enjoyable conversations.


Conversation through art

Drawing on research from UCL’s Better Conversation Research Lab, led by Dr Suzanne BeekeAssociate Professor, UCL Department of Language and Cognition, the course embeds the latest conversation training in arts and culture. It’s facilitated by Firle, and artist facilitator Nikki Hafter,

“We use art to inspire conversation between the group, while also weaving in what we know about conversations from our research, to give people with aphasia and their family and friends new conversation techniques and tools.

“We create an environment in which the group look at, talk about and do art, combined with individually exploring with each couple a video of their everyday conversation to spark ideas about how they can keep their conversations flowing.

“It’s about designing and delivering a course that incorporates the knowledge of people with lived experience, together with art, to create something outside of people’s everyday experience, something that takes their minds off their aphasia for just a minute or two,” says Firle.


Pooling collective expertise

The Art of Conversation with Aphasia has been co-designed by a team from UCL, the De La Warr Pavilion and the charity SayAphasia. Open to people with aphasia and their chosen family member or friend, the course brings together collective expertise about aphasia and new ideas on how to live well with it, from across the arts, health and academia.

The first series of sessions, which ran at the beginning of 2021, took place on Zoom due to the pandemic, but the team hopes to run future courses at the De La Warr Pavilion, a cultural centre on the south coast.

“It worked brilliantly online. In some ways it was more intimate as we got to see each other’s lives inside our homes. But doing it face to face will mean people can fully engage with the exhibitions at the De La Warr.

“We want to give people with aphasia the confidence to engage with the cultural activities happening on their doorstep, to know that art is for them too.”


Innovation and partnership in action

Commenting on the initiative, Kathryn Walsh, Executive Director, UCL Innovation & Enterprise, said: “This project is a fantastic example of knowledge exchange in action, where we’ve been able to take UCL research and use it to create something that’s really making a difference to people’s lives. Bringing together ideas from across the arts, academia and the charity sector, this project is opening the door to an exciting new kind of training and therapy for people living with this debilitating condition.”

Colin Lyall, founder of SayAphasia, who has aphasia himself after experiencing a stroke, and helped develop the programme, said: “Why I did this project was to be better, nice people to work with. Been doing guinea pig research trying things out, but this project, very good yeah, listened to and making things better for people with aphasia.”

Firle and her collaborators are now working on plans to expand the Art of Conversation with Aphasia programme, with the aim of opening up the training to many more people living with the condition.

If you are an arts organisation or funder of art and health initiatives, and would like to support this vital work, please email


June 2021 is Aphasia Awareness Month, a national campaign to increase public education around aphasia, and to recognise the people living with, or caring for people with, this challenging condition.

For more information, we encourage you to use the resources below:

The Art of Conversation with Aphasia

Video: The Art of Conversation with Aphasia

Say Aphasia

De La Warr Pavilion

UCL Better Conversations Lab

UCL knowledge exchange and innovation funding

Support for external organisations to partner with UCL

Sun shines on De La Warr for Tourism Minister’s visit to Bexhill

Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman, welcomed Heritage and Tourism Minister, Nigel Huddleston, to the De La Warr Pavilion in sunny Bexhill-on-Sea last Thursday (24 June) as part of the Minister’s whistle-stop tour of the coastal towns of East Sussex.

Mr Huddleston, was keen to visit Bexhill and, in particular, the De La Warr Pavilion, which benefitted from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) grants aimed at supporting cultural organisations which have been hard hit by the Covid pandemic.

Stewart Drew, CEO of the De La Warr Pavilion and Chair of local tourism board, 1066 Country, showed the Minister around the building and exhibitions accompanied by Huw, Rother Council Leader, Councillor Doug Oliver, and Tourism Portfolio lead for Rother Council, Hazel Timpe. 

As they toured the building and enjoyed the views from the roof terrace, Stewart explained to the Minister just how vital the Culture Recovery Fund government grants and Rother Council’s grants had been. The emergency funds had ensured that the De La Warr Pavilion was able to keep going with a core staff during the national lockdowns and helped them to be ready to re-open to visitors when it was safe to do so.   The De La Warr Pavilion was one of the few live venues in the East Sussex which ran socially-distanced shows and events over the past year. They did so to ensure that they were able to provide much-needed live entertainment as well as offer work to artists and freelancers who depend on live gigs for their income.

 Stewart Drew said “It was great to welcome Minister Huddleston on his first visit to the De La Warr Pavilion and to explain how the Culture Recovery Fund grants have made a massive difference to our ability to maintain and extend what we were able to offer local residents and visitors over the past year. I am really proud of my team and what we have managed to achieve in getting new exhibitions ready as well as running live entertainment every time we were able to re-open. We’ve also been running community projects and outreach throughout this time. It has been a challenging year but it was really important to all of us all at the Pavilion that we were ready to re-open, bring our staff back and support all those whose livelihoods have been hard hit by the pandemic. “

Mr Huddleston said “I was delighted to visit the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. Huw Merriman has often made a point of telling me what a fantastic asset the Pavilion is, not just to Bexhill but also East Sussex. I wholeheartedly agree. It is clearly not just a stunning modernist building but a cultural hub for the area rooted in the arts, community and culture.  It’s a great example of how government investment in our cultural and arts sector is just as much an investment in the wider economy and community.  I shall definitely be returning to spend more time at this great venue and discover more of Bexhill.”


Huw said “We couldn’t have hoped for a more perfect day to welcome the Culture and Tourism Minister to Bexhill. He really saw the town and The De La Warr Pavilion at its best in the glorious June sunshine.  Nigel was really interested in the wide range of experiences that the Pavilion offers to visitors and local residents alike and was impressed with how committed and involved it is with the local community and businesses. I look forward to welcoming him back soon to discover more of what my beautiful constituency of Bexhill and Battle has to offer.”


Cllr Doug Oliver added “The De La Warr Pavilion really is the jewel in the crown of Rother and I was so pleased to have had the chance to show it off to the Tourism and Heritage Minister. Rother Council and the government supported the Pavilion during the Covid pandemic through grant schemes. This was absolutely the right thing to do as the cultural, arts and heritage sector is hugely important to our local economy in Rother which is so reliant on visitors throughout the year.”

RESOLVE Collective to undertake ‘Re/wilding: Coast, Countryside, City’ commission

The De La Warr Pavilion, Wellcome Collection and West Dean College are delighted to announce interdisciplinary designers RESOLVE Collective as the recipients of a major new commission, ‘Re-wilding: Coast, Countryside, City’.

Over the coming year, RESOLVE Collective will make use of the rich resources and histories at each partner site to investigate humanity’s entangled relationship with the vegetal world, inviting new perspectives on environmentalism and re/wilding, long-term thinking, and practical solutions to living equitably with others and with nature. They will research new and ancient approaches to land use while on residency at West Dean College. Using this knowledge, they will collaborate with young people in Bexhill and London to create a new commission for inclusion in Wellcome Collection’s Rooted Beings exhibition in March 2022, and a solo exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion in May 2022.


RESOLVE Collective

RESOLVE Collective is an interdisciplinary design collective that combines architecture, engineering, technology and art to address social challenges. They have delivered numerous projects, workshops, publications, and talks in the UK and across Europe, all of which look toward realising just and equitable visions of change in our built environment.

Much of their work aims to provide platforms for the production of new knowledge and ideas, whilst collaborating and organising to help build resilience in our communities. An integral part of this way of working means designing with and for young people and under-represented groups in society.

Here, ‘design’ encompasses both physical and systemic intervention, exploring ways of using a project’s site as a resource and working with different communities as stakeholders in the short and long-term management of projects. For us, design carries more than aesthetic value; it is also a mechanism for political and socio-economic change.

This commission represents the first time that RESOLVE Collective will be working in a rural setting.


Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection is a free museum and library exploring health and human experience. Through exhibitions, collections, live programming, digital, broadcast and publishing, we create opportunities for people to think deeply about the connections between science, medicine, life and art.

Rooted Beings (24 February – 29 August 2022) will examine our symbiotic relationship with plants while presenting them as ancient, complex and sensitive beings that enable all existence. With the current environmental crisis exposing the vital yet fragile entanglements between human and planetary health, the exhibition will reconsider vegetal life beyond its use for human consumption and rethink its significance and agency. It will engage with regenerative approaches to nurture our planet and raise awareness of environmental justice, learning from plant behaviour to ultimately reimagine our shared space as active agents in ecosystems.


West Dean College: The Countryside

Located in the South Downs National Park, West Dean College is renowned for its teaching, its Collection and Archives, research and residency programme. Co-ordinated by the School of Arts, the full-board residencies are designed to support creative practitioners to develop research projects and studio-based practices, providing access to the 6,000-acre West Dean Estate, the Gardens, and the outstanding cultural resources and making facilities within the college.

This commission intersects with two keys research areas for the College: firstly, Whose Heritage? Rethinking the West Dean Collection, which interrogates the legacy of colonialism as evidenced in the College’s Collection, Archive and Gardens. This project questions how broader social and cultural engagement, as well as thinking and working with artists, can make an active contribution towards institutional ambitions and change.

The Critical Landscapes Research Group explores historical, social, political, and environmental approaches to the rural as a place of critical thinking, cultural production, radical education, and countercultural practice. The research is underpinned by a focus on decolonising the countryside, and proposes strategies to improve access for and representation of marginalised groups in a pastoral British landscape.

Arpilleras; a poem by Rachel Marsh


by Rachel Marsh



The arpilleras show the truth of lives,

which suffered through dictatorship and pain.

Each thread they sewed ensures their voice survives.


The women stitched the life they were deprived,

with fabric scraps and cloth from sacks of grain.

The arpilleras show the truth of lives.


The textiles spoke for those who weren’t alive,

with blazing colours calling out for change.

Each thread they sewed ensures their voice survives.


The women there were so much more than wives;

their strength and courage pulsed inside their veins.

The arpilleras show the truth of lives.


Still under this oppression, women thrived.

No threats would ever silence their campaigns.

Each thread they sewed ensures their voice survives.


In different times, new challenges arise,

to fight discrimination once again.

The arpilleras show the truth of lives.

Each thread they sewed ensures their voice survives.



Rachel Marsh is a writer living in Hastings. She studied at London Metropolitan University and her work includes children’s fiction and poetry. She has also worked at DLWP as a gallery assistant for many years and is passionate about the exhibitions and the artists who inspire her. 

The Hunger Stone; a poem by Rachel Marsh

The Hunger Stone

by Rachel Marsh



The hunger stone is raw, exposed

to air it does not need.

A carved inscription now in view

explaining how it bleeds.


The hunger stone communicates

the famine and the drought.

The water leaves an open scar

on time that’s running out.


Each drop of water that is lost,

the hunger stone will mourn.

The river gasps in dying breaths,

its body thin and worn.


We could walk past the hunger stone,

ignore its silent screams.

But future generations need

the rivers and the streams.


Dry, cracked skeletal riverbeds

may be a ghostly truth.

The hunger stone cries out to us,

it’s not too late to lose.



Rachel Marsh is a writer living in Hastings. She studied at London Metropolitan University and her work includes children’s fiction and poetry. She has also worked at DLWP as a gallery assistant for many years and is passionate about the exhibitions and the artists who inspire her.