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Podcast explores young people of colour's relationship with sea

Connecting Shores podcast is part of Natural England’s Connecting People with Nature programme, which aims to tackle barriers of access to nature.

This month sees the launch of an exciting audio documentary series, Connecting Shores, that explores the relationship young people of colour have with the sea and coastal environments.

Commissioned and funded by Natural England, the series has been created by Exeter-born sound artist Somatic and will be broadcast on BBC Radio Devon and Cornwall next month. This will be followed by public release on streaming platforms in late April.

The innovative project explores, documents and amplifies young (18-30) People of Colour’s (POC) relationships to the sea and coastal environments, providing a platform for a set of voices often overlooked in marine spaces.

The project is part of Natural England’s Connecting People with Nature programme, which aims to tackle barriers of access to nature. It is hoped that the series will encourage more young people to engage with coastal areas, and support and inform the marine sector to be more inclusive in their decision-making processes. 

Recordings from interviews with eight young people of colour in Plymouth have been woven together into eight 15-minute episodes, each centred around a different theme. These have been underscored with an original soundscape built from coastal field recordings and original sound design.

The audio documentary covers a range of themes, including shaping of identity, early coastal memories, cultural, heritage and water stories, using the coast as a space of health and well-being, the perceived future of coastal spaces, barriers to access, migration and how seashores ‘here’ connect us to the rest of the world.

Project lead for Natural England, Mel Smith said:

“There is a well-documented lack of diversity and representation of people of colour within the marine and wider environmental sector.  It is vital that we find new and creative ways to listen to and collaborate with a wider range of voices to tackle barriers of access to nature, address inequalities, and to build partnerships to protect and restore the natural world upon which we all depend.

“Partnering with Somatic on this project has been really informative. It has enabled us to amplify the voices of people, which may not be traditionally heard within the marine environment, and to explore how the arts can be used to engage communities in nature recovery.

“The audio series will now also be made available as an engagement tool for environmental professionals seeking to improve diversity in this sector.”

Somatic, (real name Somin Griffin-Dave)  added:

“It’s been a privilege to be asked to create an innovative series such as this that through the lens of eight participants highlights some commonalities and differences in the way that we all interact with coastal and marine spaces.

“Subtly connecting Britain’s history of sea-based migration with climate change, bringing into focus a variety of cultural and heritage stories that the people who inhabit our coastlines hold and creating a resource to support more young people of colour engaging with coastal spaces that I believe are so valuable to our survival as citizens of Earth.”

27 March, 6.30-8.30pm Somatic will host a preview listening and discussion event at Manor Street Galleries, Plymouth. This will be a free public event where participants, local marine stakeholders and people from Plymouth’s community are invited to listen, discuss and reflect together upon the stories shared in the episodes.  The event will be hosted by Somatic and Sandhya Dave who is a Devon-based anti -racism educator, therapist and consultant.  

Although the event is free, the venue capacity is limited, so please book a free ticket here:


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