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Frequently asked questions

What is Nowhereisland?

Nowhereisland is an art project by artist Alex Hartley which began with a simple idea – “What if an Arctic island travelled south as a visiting island during the London 2012 Olympic Games?” The island from the Arctic will arrive in Weymouth for the sailing events on 25th July, before continuing on its journey around the South West coast over summer 2012, stopping at seven other ports and harbours as a visiting ‘island nation’.

On its journey from the Arctic the island passed through international waters, whereupon it was declared a new nation - Nowhereisland - with citizenship open to all.

What is the Nowhereisland Embassy?

The Embassy is a remarkable mobile museum packed full of intriguing objects and information on the story of the island and hosted by the Nowhereisland Ambassadors. The Embassy will accompany the island on its journey and is one of the best places from which to view the island in each of the ports and harbours. Here you can find out more about the project, ask questions and get involved in activities. It is also the site for events such as welcome ceremonies and workshops.

Where and when can I see Nowhereisland?

You can see Nowhereisland at many points along its journey from 25th July to 9th September 2012. To be sure of a good view, head for one of the agreed mooring points at ports and harbours around the south west coast. Yellowbrick tracking are helping us with tracking the journey of the island website as the journey is underway you will also be able to find our secret, unannounced places including coves and beaches along the way.

Will people be able to visit the island?

Nowhereisland will be moored some distance from the land. You will always see Nowhereisland off-shore from a distance, perhaps on the horizon or in relation to other forms of coastal landscape. There will not be any activities or structures on the island, but celebratory events and activities will be held on the land in the vicinity of the Embassy.

Are you working with schools and community groups?

We are working with 20 community organisations in seven towns and cities across the South West to shape the host programme of events and activities. Schools have been using Nowhereisland as a catalyst for teaching on citizenship, geography and politics over the past year. Two students from Ilfracombe College, Charlie Logan and Lydia Kate Maloney, came on the Arctic expedition to contribute to the ideas in forming the new nation. Educational resources for schools can be found here.

Where does Nowhereisland come from?

In 2004, artist Alex Hartley discovered an island in the High Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, whilst on the Cape Farewell expedition. The island revealed itself from within the melting ice of a retreating glacier and Alex was the first human to ever stand on it. In September 2011 and with the permission of the Governor of Svalbard, the island territory was sailed into international waters north of Svalbard. Once in international waters, Nowhereisland was declared a new nation on 20th September 2011, before its journey to the South West.

Are you allowed to take away a portion of land from the High Arctic?

Permission to extract the island territory was granted by the Governor of Svalbard in 2010.

What will happen to the island after the journey?

Nowhereisland is a year-long nation. After the South West journey the island territory will be dispersed amongst its citizens. Registration for citizenship will close at midnight on 9th September and voting and contributions for the online constitution will also close. Information on how citizens can receive a piece of the island can be found here.

The Nowhereisland Embassy will be the lasting legacy of the project, holding the story of its journey and its citizens. Along with the online resource of ideas, responses and the constitution, the Embassy will be presented in a touring exhibition along with a film about the story of Nowhereisland.

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Nowhereisland is a Situations project led by artist Alex Hartley, one of 12 Artist Taking the Lead projects for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad funded by Arts Council England. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of the University of the West of England, Bristol; Bloomberg; Nicky Wilson Jupiter Artland; the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Royal Norwegian Embassy and Yellowbrick Tracking.

Identity designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio and Wolfram Wiedner, website by Wolfram Wiedner.