Jack Dean: Proposal for Kelham Island Floating Micronation

Blue Sky Idea

Floating Micronation

View PDF

Proposal Info

Artist Name

  • Jack Dean

Artist Website


  • Kelham Island Museum




No more forced calls for unity if we were never given the chance to be independent. No more venal reduction of what is possible. The Overton Window never bound our ancestors, who faced down the torrents of the Don and changed its course, turned liquid gravity into an engine of power. Power exists in the landscape if we choose to grapple with it. A 50m wide, 200m-long cargo ship breaks the umbilical cord of the A61 and tears away through a widened channel to the sea. A nuclear generator jacked from Blackburn Meadows and hastily rewired. They say the north is dead. They say industry is dead. They say socialism is dead. We are too busy stoking the engines. A city-state of the makers, by the makers, for the makers. All acts of creation welcome: we have all the resources we need if we have each other. A rebirth of the joy of labour and the labour of joy. A Bauhaus-on-Sea. We will sail with compassion, but with the strength and self- knowledge to not pursue relationships with people, nations and systems that hurt us. We will make treaties, peace and trade where they are wanted, but we will know no gods and no harbourmasters. Five thousand sailors, leaders, artists, stakeholders in ten or so square kilometres of fresh start. The shipping forecast will be our constitution. Joy and healing will be our 5-year plan. We will steer by the dances of dolphins. Our polity and legislature will shoal in the solidarity of equals like great silver whirls of herring. Our flag will be better than your flag. And we will make, we will make, we will make, with our hands and our feet and our souls and our songs and our crying and our laughing and our eating and our drinking and our building and our demolitions and our troubled pasts and our storm-laden future. We may founder beneath the waves, a second Lusitania sunk by submarines of hubris and quixoticism, but we would sink knowing who we could have always been.”

-Jack Dean

Jack Dean is a writer, performer, rapper and composer, and director of theatre collective Jack Dean & Company. His work uses modern technology to tell stories that wander the lands between myth, memory and history. He has toured internationally, including performances at Latitude Festival, the Southbank Centre and the Bowery Poetry Club in New York. He is the creator of the Fake Town Fables and Infinite Hex podcasts. He really likes zeppelins.