A colour photo of the isle of Portland taken from the air

Common Lands


‘Common Lands’ is b-side’s new three-year programme.

Common Lands is the over-arching theme for our programme of work over the coming years - regarding Portland as a microcosm to explore our relationship to and with land.
This includes the physical and environmental context, together with the human and social context. Incorporating biodiversity, climate change, migration, displacement, land use, ownership, and rights.  

Common Lands will work with artists and communities to explore these interwoven themes in relation and response to the site and context of Portland. The programme incorporates community-led research, workshops, talks and discussion events, publications and artist bursaries, residencies and commissions.

Underpinning our approach is the recognition of a form of sustainable tourism known as ‘geotourism’ as a way forward that recognises Portland unique natural and built heritage and balances the economic benefits of tourism with the well-being of residents, whilst protecting and enhancing Portland’s environment.

Join us in discussions, workshops exhibitions and events exploring our relationship to and with land – here and elsewhere.

What’s Coming Up

Here To Stay is an exploration of plant colonisation centred around a sculptural installation by artist Leni Dothan.

In 2018 Leni Dothan transported 200 Portland stones to London where they were exposed to the city’s pollution and then returned to Portland to be rehabilitated in Portland’s clean air, having been previously coated with a pollution reactive solution that revealed the ‘healing’ process.  Read more about the project here. 

In this next stage of the project these stones, having returned to their homeland, will form a live demonstration of how nature re-establishes itself, as the stones are gradually colonised by organisms and become once again a part of the landscape.

A community-led research and discovery programme will look at the biodiversity of the island, how the islands limestone geology and geographic location determine the plants and wildlife that can be found here and how best to sustain that. We will explore the process of colonisation, methods of research, collecting data, classifications and hierarchy’s of protection. Who decides what’s special, how do we enhance and protect our landscapes? 

With thanks to Pauline de Souza and Diversity Arts Forum, Kestrelman Trust and Valentine Trust.
Photo credit: Jennifer Moyes @ MTArt


Using the isle of Portland as a microcosm 'Common Lands' will explore our relationship to and with land – both here and elsewhere. 

A woman dressed in black lies on Portland stones looking up at the sky

Project events

A stone with a child face painted onto it leaning against a rock in the landscape

Here To Stay

Sat 11 Sept 11 - 6pm

Join the conversation 1- 2pm

The Old Higher Lighthouse

In 2018 Leni Dothan transported 200 Portland stones to London where they were exposed to the city’s pollution and then

Project artists