Background and History
Created by artist David Buckland in 2001, Cape Farewell has led eight expeditions to the High Arctic; the frontline of climate change including two youth voyages run in collaboration with the British Council. In 2009 the first ever Cape Farewell expedition outside of the Arctic to the Andes in Peru was launched in collaboration with the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University. The ambition is to inspire those who have joined an expedition to respond creatively to the challenge of climate change. Through our expedition programme, we have engaged over 60 artists in the subject of climate change.
From the expeditions has sprung an extraordinary body of artwork, educational projects and collaborations. Since 2005, Cape Farewell artwork is exhibited across the UK, in Europe, Asia and in North America.
We are artists in residence at the Southbank Centre, the UK’s national cultural centre in the heart of London. Cape Farewell have produced two films, Art from a Changing Arctic with the BBC and Burning Ice with Cactus Three, which have now been seen internationally, a major book Burning Ice, an exhibition catalogue Unfold, a CD Arctic, by Max Eastley, educational resources for GCSE Geography and Science, and a UN award-winning website.
Cape Farewell operates a small hub at the center of a large amount of activity. The time line below gives you some idea about our work and achievements since the organisation was founded.
What we did, when and how we did it
- 1999 - David Buckland meets a weather man who tells him all about mapping the ocean currents and how climate change is affecting the oceans.
- 2000/2002- David begins to link, art, climate change and the Arctic in his mind and the mind of our funders.
- 2002 - Cape Farewell are given registered charity status in the UK.
- May 2003 - The first expedition heads to Tromso with images and blogs sent back daily from the Arctic.
- May 2003 - Suba and Colin join the expedition and hatch a plan to lead a youth expedition to the Arctic one day.
- Mar 2004 - Our Geography GCSE module, The High Arctic, is released for UK schools.
- Sep 2004 - The second expedition heads to Spitsbergen,
- Feb 2005 - Official minutes from the board of trustees meeting note 'cashflow is currently precarious, but we are making it work'.
- March 2005 - The third expedition heads to Tempelfjorden. Obviously the cash flow worked out.
- March 2005 - Vicky Long joins as project manager
- Dec 2005 - Outdoor exhibition at the Bodlein Library, Oxford. Brilliant, but cold.
- Jun 2006 - Major exhibition opens at the Natural History Museum, last minute adjustments lead to a seamless opening.
- Jun 2006 - The film, Art from the Arctic premiers on British TV (BBC2 and BBC4)
- Jun 2006 - The first major book title, Burning Ice, is released to coincide with the opening of the exhibition.
- Sep 2006 - Exhibition tours to Liverpool and Newcastle. People seem to like it.
- Dec 2006 - By the end of 2006 we realise that the exhibition has been seen by over 250,000 people in the UK.
- Dec 2006 - Hannah Bird joins the team as project coordinator. We start to outgrow the current office space (David's studio).
- Jan 2007 - Invited by Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, Jude Kelly to become artist in residence.
- March 2007 - Dancing on Thin Ice is performed at Villier's School in London.
- Mar 2007 - Cape Farewell Art & Climate Change opens at the Kampnagel Centre, Hamburg, excellent food at the exhibition opening (thank you British Council, Germany).
- Mar 2007 - First screening of Art From the Arctic on Sundance TV Channel.
- Mar 2007 - Release ARCTIC CD, Max Eastley's 10 track album exclusively on our website.
- Apr 2007 - The GCSE science module Life in the Water is free to download online via the website.
- May 2007 - Late Night at the Whitechapel event sells out.
- Jun 2007 - First screening of Art from the Arctic on BBC World. We estimate the film has been seen by over 12 million people.
- Jul 2007 - Move the office from David's home to the Southbank Centre, lots of room, great neighbours (poet Lemn Sissay and beatboxer Shlomo) and a fantastic view of the river. Telephones/internet take longer than expected to install (we discover live communication from London can sometimes be tricky).
- Aug 2007 - Install photovoltaic cells to produce renewable energy to offset some of our electricity use.
- Sep 2007 - Cape Farewell's first ever youth expedition is launched from the Southbank Centre and after a week long series of workshop, they head off to Svalbard (we discover live communication with the Arctic can sometimes be tricky!).
- Sep 2007 - Art/science expedition sails from Longyearbyen to Iceland via west Greenland. Epic sail with higher levels of gale force winds/sea sickness than anticipated.
- Sep 2007 - Marcus Brigstocke writes daily blog for the Telegraph from the boat. Day 3 transcript consists of "There will be no day three blog from Marcus as he is a little "under the weather". In his exact words "Shit off you bloody bastards".
- Oct 2007 - Max Eastley and David Buckland exhibit work at the Folkestone Literary Festival.
- Nov 2007 - Outdoor installation ARCTIC opens at the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago's Millennium Park. Max Eastley plays live on stage. It's very cold.
- Dec 2007 - Long-term collaboration with the Eden Project begins including work in their core building and ice rink. Again, it's very cold.
- Dec 2007 - We rest for Christmas. It's been a busy year.
- Jan 2008 - Rachel Edmunds joins the Cape Farewell team for 6 months, helping to get our admin in order.
- Jan 2008 - We sign up to two expeditions heading to West Greenland in September 2008. Then we panic.
- Feb 2008 - The exhibition Cape Farewell Art & Climate Change begins its international tour with the Barbican Art Gallery, opening at the Fundacion Canal, Madrid.
- Mar 2008 - Natural World Museum exhibition tours to the Field Museum, Chicago.
- May 2008 - Website relaunched with a new content management system - Hannah and Kathy finally get to talk about something other than divs, breadcrumbs and paragraph tags (we can only hope).
- Jun 2008 - Nina Horstmann joins the Cape Farewell team. We take her to the Eden Project Sessions to welcome her aboard. She doesn't run away, which is good but vows never to eat a Cornish Pasty again.
- Jul 2008 - Art & Climate Change is opened by Sarah Brown (wife of British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown) in Tokyo, Japan during the time of the G8 meeting in Hokkaido.
- Jul 2008 - KT Tunstall signs up to come on the Disko Bay expedition.
- Aug 2008 - over 40,000 people visit the exhibition in Tokyo. David gets recognised on the streets of Japan.
- Aug 2008 - last minute planning for the 2008 expedition, what type of hats shall we have the logo printed on?
- Sep 2008 - youth expedition is launched in Canada, 28 students from across the world take part.
- Sep 2008 - London launch of the Disko Bay expedition takes place at the Science Museum, some technical problems with the presentation. Gorm, our hero, saves the day.
- Sep 2008 - We receive a good luck letter of support from Gordon Brown. Looks like we're on our way.
- Sep 2008 - Deep breath in, we take 46 people voyaging up the west coast of Greenland.
- Oct 2008 - Deep breath in, we bring back 46 people from the west coast of Greenland. Most, profoundly changed, as one voyager tells us 'all my cells feel different'.
- Nov 2008 - no rest for those trying to save the planet. We host an event at the Dana Centre, Science Museum
- Dec 2008 - we get good energy! Good Energy and Cape Farewell join forces. Down with bad energy!
- Dec 2008 - Vicky joins forces with the Jagrita Yatra on a train ride with 350 young people to awaken social entrepreneurialship. She sends back audio files and we experiment with googlemaps on the website. Hannah writes her first bit of website code. A nice relaxing Christmas then.
- Jan 2009 - Cape Farewell goes green! Green maps that is, as we start hatching plans to travel to the rainforests in the Andes with the Environmental Change Institute.
- Jan 2009 - Uummannaq Day at the Southbank Centre, health and safety team are a bit concerned about the Greenlandic Man carrying a whip.
- Jan 2009 - An exhibition at the Kaai Theatre, Brussels. Nina and Hannah try their hand at programming three Japanese computers. We give in and get some help!
- Feb 2009 - we're Late at Tate for one night only. 4,000 are also Late at Tate with us.
- Feb 2009 - we start twittering.
- Mar 2009 - David heads back to Greenland, this time on dogs and with a satellite tracker so we can check up on him. Part of our ongoing collaboration with the Tate Sublime project.
- Mar 2009 - Vicky buys some seeds at the Eden Project, to plant in the office.
- Mar 2009 - March's issue of Songlines Magazine with a CD featuring tracks chosen by Cape Farewell including an exclusive track by Ryuichi Sakamoto and a track from our favourite beatboxer Shlomo.
- Apr 2009 - We calculate that over 800,000 people have visited our exhibitions since 2005. We have a cuppa tea and some Moore's chocolate biscuits to celebrate.
- Apr 2009 - the seeds still haven't been planted.
- Apr 2009 - Yann Martel sends Stephen Harper Burning Ice to read.
- Apr 2009 - Cape Farewell Disko Bay blog recognised as an official Webby Award Honoree.
- May 2009 - events at the Hay on Wye festival and an exhibition at Salisbury Festival keep us busy
- Jun 2009 - Suba, Quentin, Lemn and Mark Maslin talk at the Cheltenham Science Festival, guest appearances from KT Tunstall and Marcus Brigstocke via video
- Jun 2009 - we send Hannah to the Peruvian Andes with a group of 18 artists and scientists, trekking for 3 weeks through cloud and rain forests
- Jun 2009 - tales of numerous insect bites start to appear on the expedition twitter feed
- Jul 2009 - Cool Sounds from a Frozen Arctic at the Eden Sessions is a massive success
- Jul 2009 - Hannah returns, bringing all the voyagers with her and probably a few cockroaches too. She notes that the Eden seeds are still in the packet.
- Jul 2009 - straight off to Latitude Festival as Jarvis Cocker, Marcus Brigstocke and Shlomo rock the film and music tent. Hannah is, by now, quite sick of tents and forests.
- Jul 2009 - we wave goodbye to current project director Vicky Long, it's been emotional Long. Luckily, she's not going far and is carrying on freelance work for Cape Farewell with the Eden Project collaboration.
- Jul 2009 - Nina and Hannah plan an appropriate welcoming for new project director, Jackie Malcolm. Whiskey?
- Oct 2009 - Off to the Rome Film Festival with an exhibition, events and a little bit of film, some music, some pasta and a little bit of chat
- Oct 2009 - Congratulations to Cape Farewell voyager Alex Hartley who wins one of the artist taking the lead award and has to now bring back his Arctic Island to the UK
- Nov 2009 - Beth Derbyshire's ANTHEM premieres at the Eden Project in the beautiful surroundings of the Med Biome.
- Nov 2009 - last minute preparations for the opening of Earth at the Royal Academy. We feed Nina peanut M&Ms to keep her calm.
- Dec 2009 - Earth opens at the Royal Academy featuring work by eight artists who have voyaged with Cape Farewell. Invites to opening evenly distributed around the office.
- Jan 2010 - we are kept busy in the snow, lining up events for the SHIFT festival at Southbank Centre
- May 2010 - the new touring exhibition Unfold was brought on tour and was shown within the same year in Vienna, London and Newcastle
- Sept 2010 - we disembarked on our eighth Art & Science expedition to the Arctic
- Dec 2010 - Cape Farewell has founded a second base in Toronto, Canada
'The Arcic Poppy Chronicles' by Michèle Noach are to be seen at the Botanical Garden Oxford
Cape Farewell rejoins the Lates with Mastercard at the Science Museum. Join us on Wednesday 24 April, from 6.45-10pm, for a night of entertainment, knowledge and exploration on the topic of 'Climate Science'.
The exhibition ''Our Time in Ice' is still on until 31 May in Brighton and will be accompanied by a talk on Sat, 19th May by Michèle Noach, David Buckland and Chris Wainwright.
An action-reserach project around wild plants and urban space in the heart of East London.
Cynthia Hopkins musical perfromance, 'This Clement World', is showing in New York, Feb 2013.
Cape Farewell is contributing monthly a short film to Creative Time Reports; a dynamic multimedia website featuring artists around the world actively engaging in and commenting on the most pressing issues of our time.
David Buckland 2006 / 78°N 11.2°E
"Each artist who has been part of the Cape Farewell expeditions has found a voice that, when unpacked, deals in some way with climate change. Each has added uniquely to a new bank of ideas and imagery that brings the subject of climate change into focus on a human scale."