Arts on the waterways

By | Category: Travel news
how we traditionally view our waterways

how we traditionally view our waterways

The 2,000-mile canal and river network  is one giant visitor attraction in the UK. Narrow boats, motor cruisers, walkers, anglers and cyclists all take advantage of the natural and man-made systems to enjoy themselves and relax.

But have you thought of it as a cultural space?

According to the Canal & River Trust, in 2015 there will be more commissions and events taking place on or along the water than ever before.  And the ambition of the trust is that the waterways become “cultural capillaries reaching into areas that traditional art programmes have struggled to reach is gathering pace, with a range of new commissions planned across the country this year.”

Included in the events happening this year is Super Slow Way, a £2 million three-year programme on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, focusing on the towns of Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley and Brierfield.  Funded by Arts Council England, the programme draws its inspiration from Ian McMillan’s poem, carved into a lock beam in Gargrave, which captures the contrast between the canal as a 19th Century super highway and the tranquillity now found on its banks: “Super Highway, Super Wet Way, Super Low Way, Super Slow Way”. The programme’s website,, will be live from the end of May.

and how many now see it - street art at Fish Island on the River Lea

and how many now see it – street art at Fish Island on the River Lea

Another is The Line, a new world-class sculpture walk in London. The three-mile route, named after the Meridian Line, takes in the River Lee Navigation, passes through the ever-changing East London landscapes and links the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the O2.  The project will bring contemporary sculpture by major artists to the waterways and include works by Damien Hirst, Abigail Fallis and Gary Hume.  The Line will be open from 23rd May.  For more information, visit  

Marking the Landmark Trust’s 50th Anniversary, the Canal & River Trust has commissioned the positioning of a new life-size standing Antony Gormley sculpture called LAND overlooking the canal at Lengthman’s Cottage on the South Stratford Canal, Warwickshire. The sculpture complements four others being placed in Suffolk, Dorset, the Mull of Kintyre and on the Bristol Channel. All five will be unveiled as part of the Landmark Trust’s Golden Weekend from 16th to 17th May.

The Arts on the Waterways programme was initiated by the Trust in 2012 in partnership with Arts Council England, and more recently with strategic support from the Arts Council of Wales.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , , , ,