Press Release

Exhibition: Neo Terra an installation by Artist Julia Barton

Shetland Museum & Archives 8th October – 12 November 2016


The installation Neo Terra, presented as part of the Littoral Art Project, investigates the critical issue of plastic marine and beach litter. Plastic in all its forms is weaving itself into the fabric of the earth’s ecosystems and earth itself, silently burying within because little is being done to prevent or manage it. The stark prediction is it will provide a future legacy and record of our human interaction with the earth – an environmental catastrophe in waiting.

This exhibition is the culmination of 3 years research and development of the Littoral Art Project which is gradually working its way along Scotland’s coastline beginning in Ross-shire and is now visiting Shetland.

Julia spent spring 2016 working with Shetland Amenity Trust, through its Dunna Chuck Bruck anti-litter campaign, delivering a series of specially devised workshops to 15 schools, involving 227 pupils, throughout the islands. The workshops focused on a range of issues related to beach litter, such as sources of litter, the harm it can cause, degradation rates, and micro plastics. During the workshops they identified and collected samples of plastiglomerates

These plastiglomerates make up part of the thousands Julia has collected from 60 beaches around Shetland, they will be constructed into a floor-based installation to become the central part of the Neo Terra exhibition. A stark animation Terra Nova made in collaboration with Shetland film maker JJ Jamieson, will play a key part in the exhibition, illustrating the disturbing nature of these new lands through the exploration of a toy commando.

Sita Goudie, Shetland Amenity Trust Environmental Improvement officer: “Julia’s creative approach really makes you think about this serious environmental issue and how we can all influence the amount of litter entering the marine environment. The workshops she undertook throughout Shetland in the spring really inspired the children and made them look at the litter they pick up as part of the annual Voar Redd Up in another way and question what else they can do about it. I believe the exhibition Julia has produced as a result of this will be memorable for everyone involved in the project and those who visit and engage with the exhibition.”

The exhibition will travel to An Talla Solais Caledonian Gallery, Ullapool in 2017, Edinburgh and internationally. This exhibition has received partial funding from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. Educational workshops where funded through Awards for All with a donation from Zero Waste Scotland
Thanks to: Creative Scotland, National Lottery, An Talla Solais, Shetland Amenity Trust, Shetland Arts, Isle Martin Trust, Da Gadderie, Ullapool Harbour Trust, Field Studies Council, Marine Conservation Society, North Link Ferries, Collaborators, JJ Jamieson, Dr Phillip Cowie and Sara Nason. With valuable community support.

Contact: Julia Barton T: 07977997605 E:


Press Release    Summer 2016

Artist is collecting & classifying new rock samples in Scotland’s GeoParks

DSCF0119 (3)  plastic rock reveal copy

Artist Julia Barton is presently collecting classifying samples of a new rock now found on beaches in the remotest places on the North West Coast and Shetland, the rocks have become the focus of her Littoral Art Project which is investigating beach litter around Scotland.

Littoral meaning, the zone between the low and the high tide marks.

In 2013 a Canadian geological team named this rock ‘Plastiglomerate’ a category now acknowledged by scientists as a geological marker of our time (the Anthropocene)

These ‘rocks’ lumps of melted plastic are now common on some beaches, as people turn to burning the increasing volumes of plastic waste which accumulates on beaches.

Every year 8 million tonnes of plastic reaches the world’s ocean and 100,000 sharks, turtles, dolphins and whales die from eating plastic.  (Marine Conservation Society MCS)

Plastic Rock

The ‘plastiglomerates are difficult to distinguish from natural beach rocks, and often go un-noticed, each has a unique molecular composition, their toxicity and timeline is unknown.

The ‘rocks’ collected will be used to construct the principal piece of an exhibition opening at Da Gadderie,  Shetland Museum – 8th Oct-12 Nov and at An Talla Solais Caledonian Gallery in May-June 2017

It is intended that the exhibition will then travel to Edinburgh and internationally. Julia is presently producing a ‘Guide to Beach Litter’ to accompany the exhibition.  This exhibition has received part funding from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Open Project Funding.   


Littoral Art Project was set up in 2013 by artist Julia Barton in response to her fear of drowning in litter which she experienced whilst walking on a beach on the North West coast of Scotland. Since then Julia has surveyed and mapped litter on over 20 Scottish beaches engaging local communities in her interactive investigations some of which can be viewed at

departiing line COPcube2 DSCF7828

The aim of the project and exhibition is to encourage understanding of the threat that beach and marine litter presents and to promote change by allowing people to see litter in different ways and consider the long term environmental implications.   

Sarah MacIntyre, Visual Arts Officer at Creative Scotland said: “Creative Scotland is delighted to support this project which brings people together to creatively explore one of the most significant environmental challenges of our time. 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. We look forward to experiencing the new body of work that is created and wish the artist well in her project.

Rachel Grant exhibitions .     An Talla Solais  We are excited to support Julia in her expedition back to the west coast  where she will begin to collect plastic rock specimens  for constructing  her exhibition from and  filming her animation on Isle Martin . We look forward to showing Julia’s exhibition here in 2017 which will be the culmination of 3 years research & development and successful public engagement along the coast line.  

Jane Outram, Environmental Awareness Officer, Shetland Amenity Trust SAT is keen to begin working with Julia Barton this April. We will be partnering her in delivering an ambitious educational programme alongside working to produce her exhibition at Da Gadderie, Shetland Museum and Archives in the autumn.  Julia’s creative approach really makes you think about this serious environmental issue and how we can all influence the amount of litter entering the marine environment. I believe the work Julia produces will be memorable for everyone involved in the project and those who visit and engage with the exhibition, including Shetland’s young people.

Notes to Editors

Partners: An Talla Solais and Shetland Amenity Trust with significant support and involvement from Shetland Arts, Isle Martin Trust, Da Gadderie, Field Study Council (all of whom are giving cash or in-kind support) with additional support  from Ullapool Harbour Trust, Field Study Commission, Marine Conservation Society, Highland and Island University Collaborators: JJ Jamieson (film maker) Sara Nason (film maker) Dr Phillip Cowie (marine biologist) and Geo-Park Rangers.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit  Follow us @creativescots and

 Contact:    Julia Barton   T: 07977997605 E:

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