This island is the beating heart that inspires b-side’s work, but our projects and opportunities extend all over Dorset and beyond.
We work with and commission artists who are as excited by the bigger picture as the smallest detail. Our current ‘Common Lands’ programme regards Portland as a microcosm to explore relationships to and with land. We invite artists, residents, and researchers to create unique and inventive projects inspired by the themes of ‘people’ and ‘place’. We host big discussions on topics that affect us both locally and globally and create art that exists in unusual and unexpected places.
Underpinning our approach is the recognition of the need for sustainable tourism. We want everyone to be able to experience everything we love about Portland in a way that respects and benefits the island and those who live and work there.
“Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the distinctive geographical character of a place—its environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture, and the well-being of its residents.”
We produce the b-side festival bringing unique art to local audiences and visitors alike, sharing incredible stories about and with the Isle of Portland, as well as the rest of the world.
b-side is run by a collaborative team of artists, producers and curators with experience in visual arts, live art, performance, social practice, heritage, environment and arts education. In 2012, we were awarded funding from Arts Council England to become a National Portfolio Organisation.
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In it’s every breath it has everything to do with the place and people
Using the Isle of Portland as a microcosm ‘Common Lands’ will explore our relationship to and with land – both here and elsewhere. Common Lands will explore the physical and environmental context: climate change, biodiversity and erosion together with the human context: migration, displacement, land ownership, and rights through community-led research, workshops, seminars and discussion events, artist bursaries, residencies and commissions.
Download our reports and find out how we are achieving our three intended outcomes:
1. There is greater local recognition of the importance of culture and creativity and its role in the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities.
2. More people on Portland are participating in arts and heritage activities, working with each other, acquiring new interests and skills and contributing to the decisions that promote and protect the island’s culture, environment and heritage.
3. b-side is a socially, environmentally and financially sustainable organisation, attracting supporters, collaborators and commentators from well beyond its physical borders.
We invite professional artists to make artworks in response to place, drawing upon the history, architecture and geography of a particular site or working with communities as a source of inspiration and research. We also work with local young people to create tailor-made programmes and experiences that support talent and skills.
b-side works and collaborates with a diverse range of people and organisations. We offer artists, researchers, residents and visitors the opportunity to get involved in our work by responding and contributing to our programme. We do this through bursaries, commissions, residencies, artists’ CPD and work with young people, as well as local events, projects and collaboration.
b-side has a year-round programme of projects and events. Every year we produce the b-side festival, showcasing the very best in contemporary art, made in response to this beautiful, intriguing and extraordinary island. Simultaneously playful and challenging, our artistic programme results from conversations between artists and producers with the residents and communities of Portland.
Since 2008, artists have been coming to Portland to embark on projects which bring a fresh perspective of the island to both tourists and the community. Their work enables us to see the island in new and intriguing ways. Places which we may have overlooked and buildings which have lain dormant, enjoy a new lease of life. A number of artists have produced artworks that can still be seen around Portland or resources that can help you explore the island in a unique and fascinating way.