“This is a time of emergencies and crises and humans always think more clearly when walking. ”

– Kevin Rushby

Beach of Dreams 2021


Beach of Dreams 2021 was an epic 500-mile walk across 35 days along the East coast of England, exploring explore how we take care of the environment, the coast, the community and ourselves.

Beach of Dreams 2021 was initiated by leading arts organisation Kinetika, led by artistic director, Ali Pretty in partnership with Rosa Produtions.

The 2021 project saw the creation of 500 unique naturally dyed batik silk pennants, based on images submitted by the general public prior to the start of the journey. Everyone from around Suffolk, Essex, Southend, and Thurrock was invited to choose a mile to walk, submit an image of the landscape and 300 words about their connection with it, and their dream for its future.

They were guided by this downloadable activity pack.

The Beach of Dreams 2021 500 miles of Suffolk & Essex coastline film was produced by Rosa Productions, supported by Arts Council England.


Beach of Dreams 2021 was built on the success of Kinetika’s Silk River – link to portfolio page for silk river, which worked with ten communities along the Thames and linked them and their artistic response through a continuous ten-day 142mile journey on foot.

Guardian travel writer Kevin Rushby joined the team and wrote a daily blog. On the day that we walked from Tilbury to East Tilbury, he encountered the glittering foreshore on the Thames Estuary and named it The Beach of Broken Dreams.

“Three years ago, near Tilbury, I experienced something profound. In the bleakest setting, on a grey flat day, with a muddy tide sucking on a scraggy shoreline, I came across a beach filled with marvels and treasure. It was the place where London had dumped its Blitz debris on top of a Victorian tip which was itself on top of a Georgian dump, and so on back to the Romans. I was totally unprepared for. No one had warned me. I’d strayed from the path and was watching my feet when I began to zigzag between the strange objects that were sticking out from the shingle and sand.

“Gently extracting a complete 19th century glass bottle from under a broken WWII wireless set and a vicious thistle, I reflected that you just never know where joy and salvation are coming from. Beauty and hope can crop up in the unlikeliest of places.

“Now in this time of restriction and stasis, at a time when the countryside has offered itself up for rediscovery, I feel like I want to walk, and walk far, finding more beaches like that one near Tilbury. It feels like an opportunity that needs to be grasped.

“Children and dogs have fun, but sometimes, tragically, drown. On beaches we find sublime panoramas, but also all the rubbish that we had thrown away and hoped never to see again. With a brutal disregard for human sensitivities, the sands bear witness to our mistakes: the dead dolphin in a broken fishing net, the empty container with the skull and crossbones sticker, and the stricken seabirds marinated in crude oil – all things I have encountered on the British coast.

And somewhere high up in the dunes among the rare orchids and butterflies, there is often a wavy line of dried seaweed, like a hastily scribbled message from the sea, warning us of even higher tides to come.”

From Kevin Rushby’s Silk River blog

Read Kevin’s Daily Beach of Dreams 2021 Blog.


This film by digital filmmaker, researcher and educator Fotis Begklis was commissioned by Kinetika and Essex Cultural Diversity Project for Beach of Dreams 2021.

Fotis created a cinematic poem, created of asides and digressions that form a portrait of the physicality and human effort of the long coastal path journey where multiple voices, geography and imagination met. The film collects images and offers up memories of the journey for those who weren’t there; the camera, an outsider to the journey and the places it witnessed evokes a sense of purpose and belonging.


HIRE OUR Pennants

Beach of Dreams 2021’s 500 naturally-dyed silk pennants are now available for hire from Kinetika.

The collection of Beach of Dreams pennants are all completely unique and depict individual stories about the coast of England – they are great for an eye-catching celebration in various landscapes. See more about hiring the Beach of Dreams pennants on the Kinetika website.


Beach of Dreams will continue in May 2025 with a UK-wide mass participatory coastal journey.

Join us in 2025.


Learn more about Beach of Dreams 2021 by clicking the buttons below, they will take you to the various sections on our site that explore the previous project.

Images on page (c) Mike Johnston & Mark Massey