Monthly Archives: April 2011

Ailís and the hummers….

Contemporary classical composer Ailís Ní Ríain talks about her recent experience with the ‘hummers’ at Clitheroe Castle…

Ailis in front of the Castle Keep

Early on Friday morning the 8th of April 2011 I set off by train from my home in Todmorden to Clitheroe for Humming Day as part of my new commission at Clitheroe Castle. It was a glorious morning, I passed an opening daffodil on my way that wished me luck for the day ahead.

Beautiful day to be up at the Castle!

By 10am all twelve ‘hummers’ had arrived – 10 women and 2 men representing ‘The Pendle Witches’- those accused of witchcraft in 1612. This lively and enthusiastic bunch appeared ready for action! I asked each ‘hummer’ to hum me a song/tune which meant something special to them. I sat with each ‘hummer’ one to one for about 25 mins where I recorded them and discussed their choice of melody, why they had chosen it, what it meant to them and then broadening out to discuss how they felt humming differed from singing both physically and emotionally and then finally, touching on this new piece and the final weeks of those 12 accused awaiting their fate in a 20 foot by 12 foot Well Tower at Lancaster Castle.

Ailis and the hummers having their photo taken for the press

I was surprised and moved by their musical choices, some were quite jaunty, others very relaxed, some classical in origin, some improvised, some folk tunes, some pop including some that were quite a challenge to hum. It was a fascinating day. I very much enjoyed meeting each hummer one to one, in a calm, quiet space in the shadow of Clitheroe Castle Keep, sharing my thoughts and asking them for theirs. I appreciated their honesty, their humour and their tears.

Ailis composing

The commission is called TAKEN and will launch on Saturday 18th June 1-4pm (all welcome!)

www.midpenninearts.org.uk/contemporary-heritage-clitheroe

Mid Pennine Arts announces Project Pride artists

NEWS RELEASE: 20.04.11

Mid Pennine Arts announces Project Pride artists

Innovative arts programme to enhance civic pride in Accrington, Burnley & Nelson

MID Pennine Arts has this week announced the names of the artists who will be creative facilitators for Project Pride – the ground-breaking scheme that focuses on the heritage of Burnley, Accrington and Nelson.

The major new project is being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund Young Roots programme, and organisers hope that research conducted over the next few months will help young people to interpret the heritage of three Pennine Lancashire towns for the local community.

In Burnley, theatre practitioner Paul Hine and filmmaker Gino Evans will be re-animating the heritage of Burnley’s Weavers’ Triangle with a piece of unique multi-media promenade theatre. They will be assisted by young people from Blessed Trinity RC College who are going to help set the scene, as audiences are transported back in time with smoke, mirrors, and some ultra modern technology!

In Accrington, Textile artist Lisa Watson is working with young people from Hollins Technology College. They’ll be creating a large-scale set of banners that will be hung in Accrington Market Hall echoing the history of the building and the stories of the shoppers, workers and stallholders that have passed through the building during the last century, with words and images on a colourful textile background.

In Nelson, creative facilitator and artist Karen Alderson will be working with a group of girls from Marsden Heights Community College. They’ll be looking at how Nelson has evolved over the years and the changing nature of trade in the town centre. The group will create an artwork for display in the ACE Centre and the exhibition launch will coincide with celebrations that are planned for the re-opening of Manchester Road through the town centre.

Lucy Green, Mid Pennine Arts’ project coordinator for Project Pride, said: ”Young people from Accrington, Burnley and Nelson are leading this project and are helping to redefine what makes their area unique. We hope that this process and the artwork that is produced will help encourage the community to celebrate their local area. “

Lucy added: “Ultimately we want to help inspire everyone involved in the project to think differently about our towns. There’s such a lot to be positive about across the towns of Pennine Lancashire and this project will tap into the latent civic pride that we all share about the towns where we live! ”

—ENDS—

Notes to Editors

If you require further information, images or would like to interview Lucy Green from Mid Pennine Arts – please call Julian Jordan from BrandSpankin’ on 01282 878 301 or email julian@brandspankin.co.uk.

About Mid Pennine Arts

We are a driving force for the arts, recognised nationally and internationally for devising and delivering integrated programmes that inspire, surprise and delight. We work in some of the most deprived communities in the UK yet have a longstanding track record of powerful, high quality work, demonstrating profound social and economic impacts. Our portfolio includes prize-winning public art for breathtaking landscape settings. Commissions of bold, contemporary work combine dynamically with exemplary programmes of creative learning and creative community engagement. Strong relationships with extensive networks of local partners have been consolidated over decades.

Our mission: we bring art, people and places together to transform perceptions and change lives.

Mid Pennine Arts Charity registration number 250642

http://www.midpenninearts.org.uk/project-pride

In praise of ‘travel zoo’

Team MPA’s David Smith tells us how a weekend in Liverpool actually turned out to be much more enjoyable than he thought it would be….

“Super deal at that sparkling new Hilton Hotel in Liverpool One. We must go: two nights bed & breakfast with dinner on the first night and a free bottle of wine thrown in…”

I avoided giving an answer. How can a Salford boy even contemplate spending a whole weekend in Liverpool? Two nights would stretch to three days!

After three days of repeatedly hearing this new found enthusiasm for Liverpool I gave in.

So we went via Crosby to see the Iron Men on the beach. I love seeing them, still there with shivering barnacles, two trying to look half decent: one in a bright pair of yellow underpants, the other wearing a white helmet. Every time I see them it really is another place; the sea is different, the light is different, their position in the sands has changed…and still they stand….and stare…out to sea…to another place…..

Image: Alan Cookson

I shan’t bore you with the whole weekend and with the pain seeing Manchester United lose to those men in blue…

…went to the Tate to see one gallery of ‘This is Sculpture’. I chose this particular gallery because it had been curated by Wayne Hemmingway and his son Jack. They had access to the Tate’s own collection of sculpture and focused on human figures in their interpretation of ‘sculpture remixed’. What I loved about this particular exhibition and about the Hemmingway approach was its accessibility.

Just thinking of my own family, my mam and dad would have liked it, we liked it and my two year-old grand daughter would have loved it – why?

My dad would have liked the conservative marble 19th. century carving of Sir Joshua Reynolds, my mother, ‘The Little Dancer – aged 14’ of Edgar Degas. As you go in you pick up a set of ear-phones. You have a choice of music. In the centre of the gallery space is a disco dance floor with flashing coloured squares and yes you step on the floor and dance, me too – my grand-daughter would have loved it; but no-one else can hear the music. All they see are gyrating bodies which become a part of the exhibition! Interaction indeed – and I’ll swear that Maillol’s ‘Three Nymphs’ were smiling…. Even Antony Gormley finds a place lying on the floor; he is everywhere, very erect. Has the man no sense of modesty?

Image: ArtinLiverpool.com

…what else this weekend? Jyll Bradley’s light boxes at the Bluecoat, superb tapas at Lunya (free bottle of wine again!….my favourite Pre-Raphaelites: Rossetti’s ‘Blessed Damozel’ & ‘Sibylla’ at the Lady Lever Gallery and, of course, my bar of ‘sunlight soap’…what more could I ask? Yes; a weekend in Liverpool is OK.

BBC makes Country Tracks in Lancashire

This BBC TV programme celebrates the British countryside. Recently the team visited Lancashire, on a journey from Fleetwood to Rawtenstall. The journey included visits to three Panopticons, Atom in Pendle, Singing Ringing Tree in Burnley and Halo in Haslingden. The theme of the programme was cycling, so they also took in the acclaimed Mountain Biking centre at Lee Quarry in Bacup.

The team made two visits, one to plan the filming and one to film the show with their presenter, Mark Beaumont. Two more starkly contrasting days couldn’t be imagined! The weather for the scouting trip was glorious, more like summer than spring, as can be seen in the images:

Atom (above Wycoller)
Halo (above Haslingdon)
Singing Ringing Tree (above Burnley)
Ferroterrasaurus (above Bacup)
However on the day of the shoot, the wind howled and the rain fell!
Mark was joined at Lee Quarry by top trials rider Ali Clarkson. Country Tracks in Lancashire will be on the BBC soon.

http://www.midpenninearts.org.uk/

Poems on the Mainline

Mid Pennine Arts goes on the buses!

Innovative partnership with Transdev brings poetry on the move to Burnley & Pendle

MID Pennine Arts children’s literature festival – Kicking Leaves – will be more visible than ever this year, as all the buses operating on the Burnley and Pendle Mainline services will display a small selection of children’s poetry on coving posters.

This will see poetry on the move across Pennine Lancashire as Transdev the company managing buses across Pennine Lancashire is one of the key partners in the highly acclaimed Festival. Last year Kicking Leaves was launched at Burnley Youth Theatre in an event that included an appearance by Julia Donaldson author of The Gruffalo.

Organiser David Smith, Education & Projects Director for Mid Pennine Arts, said: “Buses will be travelling to Barnoldswick, Trawden and Colne, to Nelson, Burnley and Accrington, Whalley and Clitheroe – all displaying the children’s work!”

“At Mid Pennine Arts we’re seeing this as a mobile anthology, a gallery of poetry – and we’re calling it ‘Poems on the Mainline’! Posters will be displayed on buses from June. Each month over 300,000 passengers will be able to read our children’s work! This is a really excellent showcase for the wealth of young talented writers we have in the area!”

Poems on the Mainline begins on Thursday April 7 with a small group of younger pupils from St John Southworth RC Primary School in Nelson making a special bus journey, courtesy of Transdev, to Barnoldswick. The journey will involve a mobile poetry workshop where organisers hope that pupils are inspired by town and country, fellow passengers, pedestrians and of course, the Nelson Interchange.

Transdev’s Marketing Director, Nigel Eggleton explained, “The young poets will be travelling on one of our buses from Nelson to Barnoldswick and back. There’ll be plenty for them to see and inspire their writing. We are delighted to be able to work with the school and Mid Pennine Arts, after all as a local bus company, we’ve been at the heart of our community for the best part of a hundred years.”

The pupils will be accompanied by the Transdev mascot: the MainLion and by poet Terry Caffrey. Terry, whose latest children’s book is ‘It wasn’t me Miss!’, has been commissioned by Mid Pennine Arts to write a poem especially for Poems on the Mainline.

Poems on the Mainline is part of the Kicking Leaves children’s literature festival which aims to exercise the muscles of a child’s imagination by providing opportunities for the children of Pennine Lancashire to work alongside professional writers, poets, storytellers, illustrators and other artists

—ENDS—

Notes to Editors

If you require further information, images or would like to interview David Smith from Mid Pennine Arts – please call Julian Jordan from BrandSpankin’ on 01282 878 301 or email julian@brandspankin.co.uk.

About Mid Pennine Arts

We are a driving force for the arts, recognised nationally and internationally for devising and delivering integrated programmes that inspire, surprise and delight. We work in some of the most deprived communities in the UK yet have a longstanding track record of powerful, high quality work, demonstrating profound social and economic impacts. Our portfolio includes prize-winning public art for breathtaking landscape settings. Commissions of bold, contemporary work combine dynamically with exemplary programmes of creative learning and creative community engagement. Strong relationships with extensive networks of local partners have been consolidated over decades.

Our mission: we bring art, people and places together to transform perceptions and change lives.

Mid Pennine Arts Charity registration number 250642

http://www.midpenninearts.org.uk/

Scorpions In My Head

David Smith from our Education team comments about the past couple of weeks after the news came in from ACE at the end of March….

What a bad week that was from Wednesday morning with that dreadful news….not an increase in funding, not the same, not even a reduction but no funding from the next round from Arts Council England. All kinds of recriminations and thoughts of conspiracy theories creep like scorpions through my head. The mass of supporting tweets, verbal messages and e-mails as the news filters through remind us of the good will that lies out there somewhere…but on the Friday morning the disappointment was still there, like a nagging groin injury…

…and yet Friday really was another day which came with a breath of fresh air, news of Steph’s success, our Education Co-ordinator – she has her PhD; enough to lift all our spirits…why? …because it is a reminder that this is such a talented team; a team which brought Panopticons and Land, inspirational artwork in Contemporary Heritage and the Valley of Stone, and the Padiham Greenway – all to new audiences in Pennine Lancashire and beyond….

Today, Monday is another day, the start of another week…onwards and upwards…