Stuart Marshall from Treasure Trails takes us through the first part of his personal journey….
It started with a Tweet. I can’t remember exactly what I was tweeting about but it elicited an immediate response from @teamMPA. “Intrigued! I think we should talk”. Within the week I was at Mid Pennine Arts’ offices in Burnley meeting with Business Director Rob Carder to explain all about our interactive trails and to discuss ways in which we might possibly work together. It soon became apparent to both of us that there was an obvious synergy between MPA’s ‘Art + People + Places’ formula and Treasure Trails’ aim of connecting people with the local environment, ‘The Fun Way to Explore’.
It was when Treasure Trails began to develop location-aware apps for smart phones that the real opportunities became more apparent. Now the trails could not only be used to link works of art but themselves become a new medium for their interpretation – using audio, video and images, all triggered by GPS – to engage, inform and enhance the visitor experience in a way that could not easily be achieved with more traditional paper-based trails.
We decided that the Weavers’ Triangle area in Burnley should be the subject of our first joint collaboration. This area, once at the heart of Burnley’s textile industry, has been the focus of regeneration plans by Burnley Council for some time and MPA have been actively involved in this process. One of their recent projects, Project Pride Burnley, had brought the area to life with a piece of promenade theatre within the old mills. The outcomes from this project would be used as the basis for the app.
Soon a steady flow of information arrived electronically and through my letterbox. A documentary of Project Pride, videos of Dark Satanics and a plethora of images. Stories of Sandygate, a recent creative writing project that captured local peoples’ memories and stories of the area was also included. I followed this up with research into the history of the area via the internet and visits to the site. I always knew a History degree would come in useful one day!
Watch out next week for the second part of this fantastic account of Stuart’s journey to producing the Weavers Triangle app.