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From Sea to Street

"From Sea to Street" is a citizen science initiative investigating whether and how murals in public spaces can evoke viewers’ emotions and how this affects their connection to seas and oceans.

From Sea to Street is a captivating citizen science venture aiming to better understand and strengthen people’s relationship with oceans and seas. It addresses critical ocean challenges such as pollution, overfishing, and climate change with street art. In collaboration with artists, tour guides, marine institutions and sea lovers, an interdisciplinary team of young scientists will curate a cross-national collection of ocean/sea-themed murals across three European countries, namely Spain (University of Santiago de Compostela), Latvia (Latvian Academy of Culture) and the Netherlands (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).

Murals are impactful artworks painted directly onto walls and serve as a resonant art form across European cities. The From Sea to Street project will collaborate to depict the intricate relationship between humanity and the environment in murals. The objective is to evoke emotions, educate, inspire, and illuminate critical issues in order to bridge the divide between urban populations and the coastal and marine environment.

For the sake of the project ‘From Sea to Street’, we define ocean/sea-themed mural as: mostly a large-sized painting on a publicly available wall of a building or other surfaces containing ocean/sea-related themes such as marine life or the marine environment, people’s interaction with the ocean/sea, or cultural, mythological and traditional elements related to the ocean/sea, created by following legal permits.

Athena’s role
The Athena team, in cooperation with the local collaborators from SAMA Street Art Museum Amsterdam, will organise a workshop session on street art as well as make a call for citizen contributions regarding ocean/sea themed murals. The main activities in the Netherlands are scheduled for November, 2023.

Participate by uploading a photo of the mural here

Don't have photos of murals but want to participate? Take the survey and contribute.

In cooperation with the Interdisciplinary Community Service Learning course and Street Art Museum Amsterdam team, we will bring students closer to the street art as a form of science communication.

In September 2023, our Spanish partner, the University of Santiago de Compostela, kicked off our activities in Rianxo, a small coastal town in the Northwest of Spain where the cultural association Ondiñas Mainas is organizing the annual mural festival “Viladomar” since 2017. The Northwest of Spain has a strong cultural link to the sea, and our colleagues are estimating that there could be up to 300 marine themed murals in their region. At the festival, they interviewed mural artists Nove Noel, Lidia Cao y Xoana Almar, and piloted our survey about street art and marine ecosystems that is now available online in all project languages. Go to their website to read more about the activities (written in Spanish) and here (written in English).

In October 2023, our Latvian partner, the Latvian Academy of Culture, organised several street art tours involving students from Liepāja and local residents in Rīga. In cooperation with street art and graffiti enthusiast Rihards Bražinskis and aquatic biologist Marta Dieviņa the participants joined a street art tour "In search for spaces of interconnection between urban environment and living nature" which took place in Rīga (Latvia). In close-up the participants explored an example of such a space - river Daugava and its coastline! More photos from the tour in Rīga here.  As part of the initiative a street art tour took place at the coastal city Liepāja (Latvia)! Together with highschool students the team searched for marine themed street art. More photos from the tour in Liepāja here. Go to their website to read more about the activities (written in Latvian). 

Meanwhile, the Athena Institute team has been preparing for activities starting November 7th, and have had an exploratory tour with Anna Stolyarova from SAMA Street Art Museum Amsterdam. See photos below.

From Sea to Street Project Activities

Project details

  • Websites

    For more information please visit the project website.

  • Team

    The VU Athena project team consists of:

    And local collaborators: Anna Stolyarova from SAMA Street Art Museum Amsterdam.

  • Funding

    IMPETUS supports this project and is funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 101058677. Views and opinions expressed are, however, those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency (REA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.