War to witches – artist gathers Portland’s stories

Artist Paul Soulellis is gathering stories, photographs, artwork, poetry and other interesting material from Portland residents to produce a new free publication which will be distributed during the b-side multimedia arts festival in September.


Paul is in residence at Portland Tophill Library until the end of June where he is talking to local people to gather their stories and invite them to contribute to his newspaper style publication, ‘Portland Bill’.


As well as meeting people in the library, Paul has been riding with the Mobile Library and travelling around Portland meeting interesting people.


Paul said:

"I love to find encounters wherever I go. People have been very happy to share stories and show me Portland's beauty. I've heard war-time memories at the hair salon, was invited to dinner to meet a stone mason, visited moms and children at Outlooks and toured the Culverwell mesolithic site. I've been on a walk to find Portland's goats, toured an herbal garden and heard about Portland's witches. This publication will be an impressionistic portrait of Portland's unique character and culture."


Paul sees his publication as a way of sharing the stories of Portland further, re-telling them to local people and visitors during the b-side festival.


Paul welcomes visitors to Portland Tophill Library between 2pm and 5pm, Tuesday to Friday until the end of June. He will be out and about with the Mobile Library at Fortuneswell on Mondays between 2.30pm and 4.30pm. Creative writing, essays, folklore, photography, drawings, maps, digital art, found material, poetry and recipes are all welcomed, and anything may be contributed to ‘Portland Bill’.


Any resident of Portland may contribute, regardless of age, education or artistic experience. Contributions may be submitted in a few different ways:


• by sending digital material directly to theportlandbill@gmail.com

• by attending one of the artist’s meet-ups during the month of June

• by leaving your submission at Tophill Public Library, Portland


‘Portland Bill’ will be a free publication distributed during the b-side festival which takes place on Portland from 5 to 14 September.


‘Portland Bill’ is a partnership project with Dorset Libraries funded by Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts libraries fund.




For all media enquiries contact:

Gillian Taylor 07761 546075

Notes for editors

b-side is a contemporary arts festival which explores the flipside of familiar and unusual locations. This year, the festival takes place on Portland.


b-side works with artists and with local people to investigate, research and collect stories, ideas, information and artefacts resulting in unusual art which reveals places on Portland, helps people to rediscover familiar places and to see familiar things in a new light.


The Festival includes live music, performance, sculpture, film and all sorts of unusual events. It creates temporary experiences and accidental encounters, big events to celebrate and quiet moments to reflect.