Super Slow Way announces programme 2015-2017
Super Slow Way, a major arts commissioning programme established to create a lasting legacy of arts and culture in Pennine Lancashire, announces the launch of its programme for 2015-17.
The programme includes a specially commissioned symphony to mark the Bicentennial of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, a mass participation project drawing on the traditions of Shape Note singing and Sufi chanting, and launching this autumn, a floating arts centre for women on the canal.
Two hundred years ago the canal was the conduit for the coal and cotton that fed the Industrial Revolution in Pennine Lancashire. Now Super Slow Way seeks to start a creative revolution, this time powered by art and people. Super Slow Way’s series of signature commissions and residencies for 2015 – 2017 responds to three themes inspired by the canal: manufacture past and present, the natural environment and the digital world. Above all, as the name suggests, the projects will allow time to develop ideas and relationships between artists and communities.
idle women’s touring arts centre, which navigates the canals and waterways across North West Britain makes its debut this autumn on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. To launch idle women’s maiden voyage, Karen Mirza, an artist based in both London and Istanbul, will hold a Gossip, an overnight gathering for women to meet, generate and share ideas.
The Exbury Egg is a temporary, self-sustaining floating workspace designed by and for artist Stephen Turner. An environmental observatory and a collecting and collating centre with integral storage and display areas, the Egg will be sited along the Leeds & Liverpool canal this summer to be used by local groups working on permaculture and bee-keeping projects.
US artist Suzanne Lacy is developing a mass participation project Shapes of Water, Sounds of Hope (working title), which will involve hundreds of local residents. Drawing on the traditions of Shape Note singing and Sufi chanting – simple rhythmic forms of communal spiritual expression – people will honour these centuries-old traditions as they come together to celebrate the natural, communal and spiritual spaces they may share in common.
To mark the bicentennial of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in 2016, the Super Slow Way Symphony, by composer Ian Stephens with a libretto by poet Ian McMillan, will be debuted on 16 October 2016 in three sites simultaneously. The piece will be performed in three movements, the first in Liverpool by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and choirs, the second in Leeds with brass bands and choirs, ending in King George’s Hall, Blackburn with community choirs and musicians, including exponents of South Asian traditions.
Super Slow Way is a major arts commissioning programme aimed at creating a lasting legacy of arts and culture for communities in Pennine Lancashire. Taking its inspiration from the Leeds & Liverpool Canal the programme comprises a series of signature commissions, residencies and collaborations between artists and local people. Super Slow Way is funded by the Arts Council England’s Creative People & Places programme; a £2 million project supported by a partnership including the Canal & River Trust, Newground, four local authorities and Arts Partnership Pennine Lancashire (APPL).
The commissions in more detail:
idle women, 2015-2016
This autumn, idle women’s touring arts centre which navigates the canals and waterways across North West Britain, makes its debut on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Founded by Rachel Anderson and Cis O'Boyle, the project reaches some of the least served communities of Pennine Lancashire.
Hosting a series of artists-in-residence, workshops & events, idle women provides both a visiting arts venue and an arts resource centre for women. Artists-in-residence include Karen Mirza, Mojisola Adebayo, Malika Booker and Muf Architecture who will live and work on the converted butty as it tours the four Super Slow Way canal side neighbourhoods. Associated projects, events and talks programmed over the year feature Annette Mees, Jesse Jones, Sarah Browne and Ruth Ewan.
To launch idle women’s maiden voyage, Karen Mirza, an artist based in London and Istanbul, will hold a Gossip. Created as an overnight gathering for women, The Gossip is an open space for women to meet, generate and share ideas. Held on a site near Pendle Hill for the September ‘harvest blood’ moon (a full moon that will appear 30% bigger than usual with an eclipse at 3am when it will turn red), The Gossip is free and open to all women to attend. Registration by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org is essential and will provide further information about location and times.
The Gossip is part of Mirza’s on going new work, The Patriarchal Clock, which explores women’s bodies as sites of resistance. The Gossip (a positive term for female friendship until the witch trials) draws on the roots of the historical European witch hunts, a particularly resonant theme in Pendle. It references the historical persecution of women which served to destroy communal relationships, forwarded the privatisation of land, of social reproduction and served the destruction of the commons.
The Egg, Summer 2016
The Exbury Egg is a temporary, self-sustaining workspace designed by and for artist Stephen Turner. Currently located in the estuary of the River Beaulieu, tethered’ like a boat to rise and fall with the tide, it is an environmental observatory and a collecting and collating centre with integral storage and display areas. It is proposed to bring the Egg to a site along the canal in the summer of 2016 to work with a local group on a series of permaculture and bee-keeping projects.
With a light touch and simple structure, the Egg aims to re-appraise the way we live, to consider sustainability and the future use of natural resources. Turner is interested in exploring, through direct experience in the Egg, a more empathetic relationship with nature, developing an understanding of local natural cycles and processes and the relationship of the environment to human activity in the unending calendar of seasonal life.
Shapes of Water, Sounds of Hope (working title)
Suzanne Lacy, Autumn 2016
US artist Suzanne Lacy is developing a mass participation project which will involve hundreds of residents discussing and presenting their visions for a future that values natural resources and our lives together across diverse communities.
Drawing on the traditions of Shape Note singing and Sufi chanting–simple, rhythmic forms of communal spiritual expression—people will honour these centuries-old-traditions by coming together to celebrate the natural, communal and spiritual spaces they may share in common. In small workshops, local residents from a range of backgrounds and faiths will learn these vocal traditions and will participate in the development of lyrics to express their views.
The textile industry that brought so many people to this region in a weaving of cultures and traditions serves as a metaphor to examine work (meaningful participation), water (the natural environment) and community in a performance that will take place in a former textile mill in autumn 2016. The project is presented as part of artists’ collective In Situ’s In Residence programme.
Meticulously produced mass performances are a hallmark of Lacy’s prolific practice that spans performance, video and photographic installation, as well as critical writing. These events are usually the outcome of a sustained relationship with a community that have a major impact, not only on those she works with but also on the media, often drawing attention to the issues at play within the context that might otherwise go unreported; notably, in The Oakland Project, 1991 -2001, The Crystal Quilt, 1985-1987 and re-presented for the opening of Tate Modern’s Tanks and, more recently, Between the Door and the Street, in Brooklyn in 2013.
Super Slow Way Symphony (working title), October 2016
To mark the bicentennial of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in 2016, the Super Slow Way Symphony by composer, Ian Stephens with a libretto by poet, Ian McMillan, will be debuted on 16 October 2016 in three sites simultaneously. The piece will be performed in three movements, the first in Liverpool by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and choirs, the second in Leeds with brass bands and choirs, ending in King George’s Hall, Blackburn with community choirs and musicians, including exponents of South Asian traditions.
The piece is a homage to the canal, inspired by McMillan’s poem of the same name. The poem captures the contrast between what the canal was, a global super highway, and what it is today, a place of tranquillity where nature has taken over. At the same time, as fibre optic cables run along the towpath, it is the conduit of the new information super highway, connecting the area once more to the rest of the world.
The piece itself will follow the journey that the canal has taken, taking the area from an agricultural, cottage industry economy to the heart of the Industrial Revolution (by 1830, 85% of the world’s cotton goods were manufactured here). The great waterway took over forty years to complete, starting with an Act of Parliament passed in 1770, authorising its construction. The construction period spanned the American War of Independence, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, finally opening in October 1816.
Calls will be going out in the New Year for choirs and musicians throughout Lancashire and Yorkshire to get involved. Tickets go on sale next year.
Fabrications (working title), Autumn 2017
Super Slow Way is working with a range of private and public partners, venues and artists, across the area and across the globe to develop a season of commissions, residencies and exhibitions exploring the use of textiles in contemporary art in the autumn of 2017. Fabrications will cover the spectrum of textile practice, from the high tech and digital to the intimacy of personal craft, drawing from the advanced manufacturing base of the area to the canal craft traditions of crochet and knitting. There will be commissions in public spaces as well as artist residencies with communities and exhibitions within local textile collections, including the Gawthorpe Textile Collection and the Lewis Collection at Blackburn Museum and historic mills such as Queen Street Mill, Burnley.
For further information, interviews and press images please contact:
Catharine Braithwaite on +44 (0)7947 644 110 or email@example.com
Notes to editors
About Super Slow Way
Super Slow Way is a three-year project, one of Arts Council England’s Creative People & Places programme, designed to empower communities to take the lead in shaping local arts provision. Super Slow Way is working with communities along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal from Blackburn to Pendle, bringing art and artists to a space where time slows down, to look afresh at how people live their fast-paced lives and how they relate to their environment, neighbourhoods and to each other.
Community led commissions will allow people to commission artists to work with them, to help them extend their current activity, experiment with new ideas and create new opportunities, some of which will happen on the waterway itself. Super Slow Way will encourage people to bring their ideas, however small and unformed, and develop a brief for an artist to work with them, be they a mums and toddlers group, a manufacturing company, a cricket team or a choir.
Funded by the Arts Council England’s Creative People & Places programme, Super Slow Way is a partnership made up of the Canal & River Trust, Newground, local authorities of