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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.

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 project 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. 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. For more, see photos of the Liepāja tour and read about other activities on their website (in Latvian). 

On November 7th, we teamed up with Street Art Museum Amsterdam (SAMA) for a dynamic seminar at OBA Slotermeer. Students from the interdisciplinary community service learning course (iCSL) enjoyed a guided tour of vibrant murals, followed by an insightful lecture from Anna Stolyarova on the impact of Street Art. Thanks to all who joined us for this colorful blend of education and creativity!

On December 12th, we gathered at the new headquarters of Street Art Museum Amsterdam's (SAMA) in New-West for a great second seminar. Students from the VU's iCSL course created their own unique works of art under the expert guidance of a spray paint artist. The results were stunning! A huge thank you to the students for their enthusiasm, passion and dedication, and to SAMA and VU Athena team members for a fantastic collaboration over the past months. We hope you enjoy our updates here.

From Sea to Street Project Activities

From Sea to Street

A short video capturing our project activities across Spain, Latvia and the Netherlands

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.