I have recently become a citizen of Nowhereisland. It was really easy, no tests, no restrictions – I visited the website, filled in a quick online form and quickly joined the growing number of citizens. A few days later my certificate arrived in the post which says I am an official Nowhereisland citizen. Nowhereisland currently has 3948 citizens – more than the Vatican City or the Falkland Islands and closing fast on St Helena.
So where is Nowhereisland and what’s it all about?
Nowhereisland is a public art project conceived by artist Alex Hartley. It is one of 12 arts projects across the UK, funded by the Arts Council of England, which will form part of the Cultural Olympiad in summer 2012. Next summer, Nowhereisland will journey from Weymouth to Bristol over six weeks stopping at 7 ports and harbours en route.
In 2004, Alex discovered an island which had been revealed by the melting ice of a retreating glacier in the High Arctic region of Svalbard. He was the first human to stand on the island which was subsequently named Nyskjaeret and is now officially recognised and included on all maps and charts .
In September 2011, Alex returned to the Arctic to retrieve the island territory. With the permission of the Governor of Svalbard, a quantity of island territory was removed and sailed into international waters north of Svalbard. Once in international waters, Alex declared Nowhereisland a new nation on 20th September 2011, before the island material was shipped back to the UK to be formed into the floating island sculpture.
Nowhereisland is a place that seeks to redefine what a nation can be and will ask questions and inspire activities around geography, migration, nationhood, citizenship, land grab and climate change. Which fits really well with GeoVation – a place where communities, innovative thinkers, geographic data, skills and expertise can get together for the benefit of communities and their needs.
And … for Mission:Explorers – when you sign up you receive a code to unlock bonus points for a Nowhereisland badge.