February 9, 2012, by Lucy

Location 3: Woodbridge, Deben Estuary

Location 3: Deben Estuary, Suffolk

Our final interview stop was the town of Woodbridge on the Deben estuary, Suffolk coast, where we visited Simon Read, a visual artist whose work helps local communities to imagine what the future holds for Suffolk’s changing coast. Since 1980, Simon has lived on a sea going Dutch barge which means he is much more attuned to coastal change than most. He told us about his involvement in the Deben Estuary Partnership which includes direct input into a community authored management plan for the river.


Filming the barge

Simon welcomed us aboard ‘Jacoba’ to film in his studio space. He’d displayed a number of finished and in progress works around the studio which, along with an array of tools for both artistic works and barge maintenance, provided the perfect backdrop for his interview with Steve. Simon’s recent works are large scale maps of the Suffolk coast which display data and predictions concerning shoreline management plans and future coastal change which Simon gathers from organisations like the Environment Agency. He reflected on his cartographic skills and the role of the imagination in map-making.

In the studio

After the interview, Ben, Tom and Matt filmed lots of different walking and portrait shots on the boat and around the boatyard, as well as Steve’s intro and outro sections for the interview and Simon at work painting, before Simon took Steve and Ben out on his workboat for some shots on the water! Ben had also set up a time lapse of the tide coming in which I’m looking forward to seeing.

On the workboat

Simon’s work brings to life the consequences of the potential radical changes suggested by shoreline management plans, helping to take community interests and cultural memories forward into future flood risk management policy. In Simon’s words, the maps act as a catalyst for creative conversation about issues of environmental change.

After filming we very much enjoyed the lunch provided by Simon and Ros and seeing more of their home. You can see more of Simon’s fantastic work on his website http://www.simonread.info/

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