collecting on Ullapool beachProject Background

Artist Julia Barton began the project in 2013 after walking on a beach on the North-West coast of Scotland so thick with mounds of litter that she feared drowning in it. Since then Julia has surveyed and mapped litter on over a hundred beaches and collected thousands of samples whilst engaging local communities and documenting the project on www.littoralartproject.com

Julia has been awarded a 2016/2017 Shetland Environmental Award

A significant part of the Research and Development of the Littoral Art Project and the  production of the NEO Terra exhibition was supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund  CS_Lottery_SB_bw I am a visual artist and I make installations, sculptures and prints. My work often has a theatrical element while relating in some way to the natural environment.  I hate waste and I am passionate about reusing and recycling materials.  I enjoy exploring new methods and techniques of making work appropriate to my inspiration and the results can be at once both playful and serious.

I have made works in the UK and internationally in galleries, on the streets, in gardens, on a bridge even in a decommissioned jail. My previous projects can be viewed  at www.julia-barton.co.uk



The aim is to encourage understanding of the threat that beach and marine litter presents by enabling people to see litter in different ways and to consider its long term environmental implications. 

‘The project reflects the ability of artists to respond to these challenges in interesting and imaginative ways that bring to life global concerns and encourage collective action.’  Creative Scotland 


To date Julia has devised and facilitated a series of interactive exhibitions and events to share her findings, most recently in the form of a multi-media interactive exhibition  shown in Lerwick and Ullapool that reached over 7,000 visitors.


The exhibition comprises a 10m long plastic archipelago floor installation, animation, sand samples, timeline, an interactive area to examine samples and a series of sculptures #Litter CUBES. These elements encouraged people to look closely at the issue and to talk about how to change the situation.

NEO Terra:a powerful warning about   the future of the marine environment.’                       The Scotsman

‘A high impact installation-both microscopic + macroscopic. It deserves a much wider exhibition round the country’ JR Broadham, exhibition visitor


 Scottish Parliament, Dec 2017

Samples taken from 120 beaches in Shetland and the NW Highlands plus residents’ responses and comments have been presented to Ministers and MSPs in a sponsored exhibition at Holyrood with a linked event jointly hosted with the Marine Conservation Society

‘A high impact installation-both microscopic + macroscopic. It deserves a much wider exhibition round the country’ JR Broadham, exhibition visitor


Litter Lines: World Environment Day

Loch Broom, where collected litter was laced together and towed off a remote beach to a main-land access point for collection. 2014

‘a tough, thought provoking row – feeling the weight of our throw-away culture’ Skiff member

Deep Time Walk: iLAND (Isle Martin) Festival 2016

Shoreline walk connecting plastic pollution to past, present and future geological periods using beach pebbles to make a symbolic cairn to a sustainable future.

School Workshops:

school   Bertolli package                           Julia has worked with 25 schools encouraging pupils to become active citizens engaging with manufacturers, supporting local recycling initiatives and deposit systems.

‘Art is a powerful medium for pupils to engage with an extremely relevant and pressing issue helping them to find their voices as active and concerned citizens’.     L Strachen  Ullapool teacher



2018-19: Julia is making a series of sculptures #LitterCUBES to tour to Fishing For Litter harbours around Scotland, illustrating the volume of plastic leaking into the sea.

With scientist John McIntyre she will calculate the value of energy (in litres of petrol) that each #LitterCUBE represents, triggering debate about the loss to the economy that plastic pollution represents. She is currently searching for funding to make this happen.


Guide to Beach Litter is a fold out guide to identify 40 different types of litter found on beaches around the UK, answering questions raised by the volume of litter found on beaches and in our marine environment and suggesting ways we can help to solve the problem. Includes useful links and sources of further information.

Available from www.littoralartproject.com


Julia is available to talk about her work and intends to take the project to new coastal locations. She is currently looking for communities, galleries and organisations to work with and for new sources of funding. Please get in touch with any suggestions. 

Contact: Julia Barton littoralartproject@btinternet.com   07977 997605

www.littoralartproject.com          events and lobbying @LittoralArt