Category Archives: Spodden Valley Revealed

Thank you Mid Pennine Arts!

Today is my last day volunteering at Mid Pennine Arts, having taken on the role as Project Assistant a year ago today in order to complete a year in Industry as part of my Art and Design degree at the University of Leeds, I just want to say a massive thank you to Mid Pennine Arts for such an amazing and worthwhile year!

I have absolutely loved being a part of the MPA team this last year, working with such lovely people who are all so amazing at what they do has been very special.

When I applied to extend my degree to four years at University so that I could complete a year in industry I never imagined that I would get so much out of it! Thank you for giving me so much confidence in what I enjoy doing.

I remember sitting down with Nick (Creative Director) during my first couple of months and speaking about what it was that I wanted to achieve whilst working at Mid Pennine Arts. After helping artist Cath Ford a few weeks prior, running some primary schools workshops, I said that by the end of my placement I wanted to be running such sessions myself and to have brought something new to MPA. Thanks to the brilliant team who have given me lots of responsibility and trust I have been able to achieve this.

Over the past few weeks for example I have been running my own project ‘Banners, Protests and Campaigning with a group of high school pupils and this week we celebrated their hard work with their own pop up exhibition. It was lovely to see the girls faces when they saw there work displayed and being viewed by members of the public, they have worked so hard and have listened so amazingly to the advice and support I have given them.

Helping out with this years Todmorden Treat, artist Cath Ford gave me the confidence to lead several sessions. Hearing and seeing the children really enjoy the sessions I was delivering was great and I felt so confident interacting with them and helping them with what they were doing.

There have been many more highlights: Working alongside the brilliant Spodden Valley Revealed project manager Diana Hamilton in order to organise several events and seeing my proposal for ‘Character bags’ come to life has exceeded my expectations of what I would be doing as an intern. Helping to organise a very successful and sunny Burnley Canal Festival, embarking on various research trips and helping to source material for a huge exhibition which will be a part of the British Textiles Biennial. I was also really happy to be asked to work with the lovely Greenways Project Manager Shonagh Short to interview artists for a new commission. Working with such a range of partners and community members has been so valuable.

My time at Mid Pennine Arts has also encouraged me to take on further volunteering at a local women’s refuge, I feel so lucky to have had this experience and work with such strong and inspiring women.

I could continue on about all of the other fabulous things I have been involved in and the opportunities I have been given, but more importantly I want to say a massive thank you to everybody at Mid Pennine Arts and everybody else I have worked with, for making this my best year yet! A special thank you of course to Nick and Melanie for being fantastic hosts, it has been brilliant to work alongside you both and despite being dressed as an explorer many times I still want to work in the Arts!

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The Limersgate Pamphlet (via SVR)

Spodden Valley Revealed artist in residence, David Chatton Barker, has been exploring part of the ancient highway, pre-dating medieval time, running between Rochdale and Clitheroe. He walked from Bull Brow in Rochdale centre to Hades Hill, above Shawforth. From the birthplace of the Co-operative movement to a Prehistoric Barrow, the contents of which included an urn containing the burnt bone fragments of a woman, along with her tools and talismans. The trackway passes many interesting sites, joining the dots of a well worn route by foot and hoof over many many centuries.

The walk was around 6 miles in length and took 5 hours due to conversations, documentation and lunch. The journey was photographed, filmed and audio recorded.

Read more about this fascinating journey on the Spodden Valley Revealed blog.

Whitworth Skyline Audio Beacons (via SVR)

As part of Spodden Valley Revealed, we have worked with the organisers of the Whitworth Skyline Walk, Whitworth Heritage Museum, artists and local experts, to create an audio collection, telling the story of the landscape.

The stories are told by Dr Whitworth – who narrates the ancient heritage of the Valley from pre-history through to the unique stories of sites such as the Cotton Famine Road.

On the day of the Whitworth Skyline Walk, in 2019 it’s on 12 May, there will be 12 flags across the 14 mile route, designed by artist, Wendy Meadley.  The flags are a prompt to listen to the corresponding audio file.

Click here to find out more about the amazing stories you can hear, how to listen, and, should you feel energetic, how to take part in the walk.

For Peat’s Sake! (via SVR)

More creative investigations from our Spodden Valley Revealed artist in residence, David Chatton Barker…

To read the fascinating story of peat, visit the SVR blog.

Healey Dell and the War Effort (via SVR)

This time we’re bringing you a fascinating look at the connection between Healey Dell and World War Two. This blog has been written by Alan Rawsterne, a research volunteer for Spodden Valley Revealed who took part in our local history research workshops at Whitworth Museum last year. Alan is also Chair of the Rooley Moor Neighbourhood Forum.

Visit the SVR blog to read this Spodden Story, and find out all about the Ministry of Supply and its valley based munitions factory…

The Famine Tower – Episode Two (via SVR)

If you enjoyed reading The Famine Tower – Episode One, the story doesn’t finish there… Our Spodden Valley Revealedartist in residence, David Chatton Barker, delves deeper in Episode Two, sharing with you the only known evidence of the building of the ‘Tower of Babel’. You’ll also find a poem and fascinating film by David that celebrates the story.

A reminder… at the end of Episode One, David told us that the only known evidence he had discovered about the building of the tower was from a booklet of newspaper cuttings collected by a Rochdale amateur antiquarian named J. L. Maxim…

Read more on the Spodden Valley Revealed blog…

The Famine Tower – Episode One (via SVR)

Aetiological monuments of hope for a future/past unknown… more from our Spodden Valley Revealed artist in residence David Chatton Barker…

…There is another much lesser-known endeavour carried out by 30 to 40 out-of-work mill operatives who carted stone to the top of Brown Wardle Hill (SD899187), which stands 1,312 ft above sea level on the South Pennine moors in Whitworth (on the other side of the valley from Rooley Moor). This massive quantity of stone was used to construct a monumental tower over several months, eventually reaching the grand height of 28ft and known by seemingly very few people as The Tower of Babel…

Read more on the fascinating history connecting Haslingden flagstone, the Lancashire Cotton Famine, the American Civil War and the construction, perhaps, of a monumental tower on Brown Wardle Hill in Famine Tower – Episode One on the SVR blog.