Beaches, 2015

The Topographies Project: Beaches Symposium

Whitstable, Kent: 21/22 September 2015

The first meeting of the sequence of events entitled ‘The Topographies Project’ is on the theme of Beaches and will take place in Whitstable, Kent in September 2015. On Monday 21st September, a symposium will be held at the Hotel Continental, Tankerton Beach, Whitstable from 10am until 5pm. In the morning a session entitled ‘Contested Spaces’ will address and discuss issues of access to beaches – reflecting on local issues of access, as well as the relatively recent Supreme Court decision concerning access to Newhaven (Sussex) beach under the law pertaining to village greens and commons. In the afternoon a series of panels will investigate the ‘Pleasures and Dangers’ of beaches in the imaginary – ranging from the allure of beaches as liminal spaces of potential, to the significance of beaches as thresholds of beginnings and endings, and as places of refuge too often denied. In the evening, there will be readings, performances and projections. On Tuesday 22nd September, a field trip along the North Kent coast will visit sites which track the evolution of this coastal zone from beaches which offered, firstly, a place of privileged retreat and pleasures; traces of which survive but were virtually erased as the coast became a popular setting for mass tourism and affordable retirement from London; through to a then dramatic fall into seemingly terminal economic and social decline. The contemporary question is whether and how this decline is now being challenged as the North Kent Coast havers between UKIP’s protectionist fears (particularly focused on immigration), and the aspirations of people ‘down from London’ crafting potential for one form of regeneration in patterns of cultural (especially foodie) gentrification. The ‘cultural clash’ of old and new Kent on the north coast is nowhere more visible than in Whitstable – where our trip will end at 4pm. If you are interested in attending the symposium, the evening readings, or in joining the trip along the coast, please contact either Anne Bottomley ( or Ben Hickman ( Spaces are limited, so please contact us asap.

Supported by: The Faculty of Social Science (UKC), Kent Law School and School of English



10.00-12.30 Two Beaches, One Case: Questions of Access, Property and Rights.

A discussion investigating the impact (on such cases as Whitstable) and the reasoning of the judgment in R (on the application of Newhaven Port and Properties Ltd) v East Sussex County Council and another [2015] UKSC 7.

Contributions from: Donald McGillivary (Sussex), Elaine Sherrat (KLS Law Clinic Solicitor) and Geoffery Samuel (KLS). (

Chair: Phil Hubbard (UKC).

12.30-13.30 Lunch, with film (by Simon Robinson) projected in seminar room.

13.30-14.30 Contested Thresholds.

David Herd (UKC) ‘The View from Dover (

Mark Vacher (Copenhagen) ‘Broen//Bron – How a Dead Body can form a Region.’

Chair: Harley Ronan (Brussels/4 Cities).

14.30-15.50 Sensual (and other) Pleasures.

Pau Obrador Pons (Sutherland) ‘Placing Touch on the Beach.’

Victoria Brooks (Westminster) ‘Entanglements and Folds.’

Lavinia Brydon (UKC) ‘The People’s Pier Project.’

Chair: Lucy Finchett-Maddock (Sussex)

Break 20 mins.

16.10-17.30 Topographical Features.

Rupert Griffiths and Lai Wei ‘Engaging with topographies and traces’. ( and

Patrizia Muscogiuri (Salford) ‘The Shore of the Wor(l)d. Liminality and Agency in Virginia Woolf’. (

Nathan Moore (BBK) ‘The Limit’.

Chair: Anne Bottomley (KLS).

17.30-18.00 Final discussion (Facilitated by Anne Bottomley and Ben Hickman).

18.15 Walk along Tankerton Beach.

19.00 Dinner. 

20.00 Evening Performances with Rod Edmond, Claudia Molitor and Patricia Debney.