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IAS Fellows’ Lecture – From Discard to Discovery: Seaham, Sea Glass, and the Making of Post-Industrial Resource Environments

March 6, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Public Lecture by Dr David Kneas (University of South Carolina)

Please note the lecture date and venue change from 22 February to 06 March 2023, and from St Cuthbert’s Society to the IAS. 


For nearly a century, a glassworks factory dumped excess waste into the North Sea at County Durham’s Seaham Beach. Sculpted by time and tidal action, this waste has transformed into an object of value: sea glass. Seaham is now famous as one of the top ten beaches in the world for sea glass. For people who collect sea glass, Seaham is a site of pilgrimage. Others share in Seaham’s daily discoveries by following posters on Instagram and Facebook, and through the purchase of glass or artwork crafted from it through online marketplaces like Etsy. In this talk, Dr David Kneas examines the making of Seaham’s sea glass as a resource. He considers how Seaham has become a place of personal meaning and significance for local beachcombers, whose search for sea glass involves new articulations of identity and social relations. Examining the intersections of nature, culture, and history that converge in the formation of sea glass, this research sheds light on the novel resource environments associated with post-industrial change in the UK and beyond.

This lecture is free and open to all. Registration is not required to attend in person.


March 6, 2023
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Category:


Cosin’s Hall, Palace Green Durham
Cosin's Hall, Palace Green
Durham, DH1 3RL United Kingdom
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