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Big Ideas By The Sea



Big Ideas By The Sea (BIBTS) is an annual festival that is held in May each year in Scarborough.  BIBTS began, and continues, as a partnership between Kane Cunningham, landscape painter and originator of The House Project (he purchased a vulnerable cliff-side property on the edge of Scarborough to create an environmental art project that became a global phenomenon) and John Oxley MBE FSA, former City Archaeologist for the City of York, who had oversight of significant archaeological excavations that explored and redefined York's Roman history generating interest and tourism from across the world. 


John and Kane wanted to enliven and enrich the cultural life of Scarborough and its surrounding area, so they created Big Ideas by the Sea, which became a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC) in 2020.


BIBTS takes place over the last two weeks in May, and has an ambitious and packed programme of talks, exhibitions, activities, performances, concerts and events, most of which are free to the public. Events feature a mix of locally based artists and performers, plus specially invited national and international speakers. BIBTS uses a host of venues, including St Mary’s Church, Scarborough Castle, the Old Parcels Office, the Market Hall, the Southern Star (home of the innovative seaweed company, SeaGrown) and on Vincent Pier. The festival includes a significant community archaeology project, the Scarborough Big Dig 3, which will take place in Paradise.


2024 will be the fourth annual BIBTS festival and will be funded through a mixture of Yorkshire Coast BID, Arts Council National Lottery Project, local and national grant-makers, and through ticket sales. BIBTS is very grateful to all its supporters and funders. 

Looking to the future, BIBTS seeks to extend and embed its local community engagement, through outreach activity and through setting up an advisory panel of community champions, and to explore the possibilities of local and regional business sponsorship.


Big Ideas by The Sea, is a new non-profit festival that started in Scarborough in 2021. We aim to be the North of England’s leading environmental and arts festival by 2025. 


Our Mission: To Entertain, Inspire & Empower People to Act as Agents for Positive Environmental Change


Our Vision: A better world and a brighter future; Environmental Prosperity, Sustainable Regeneration, Social Justice, Global Wellness.


Note: Environment can be defined as a sum-total of all the living and non-living elements and their effects that influence human life. This includes wildlife, plants, forests, fisheries, and birds, and non-living or abiotic elements including water, land, sunlight, rocks, and air.


Sponsor Us.


We’re a non-profit organisation. All profits fund activities and the festival.


The Team


Kane Cunningham, John Oxley, Marie Woods, Rowena Sommerville, Patrick Argent, Ann Yarnold and many more, all to be revealed soon!

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