27 March 2014

Northamptonshire County Council has won the county’s first major European public arts funding. The project, called CHANGING TRACKS, has received funding from the European Union Culture Programme, and will be delivered across three countries; the UK, Spain and Ireland.

Lead by the council’s Cultural Planning and Policy Unit, three major contemporary public works of art will be created and displayed outdoors in Catalonia, County Mayo and the Nene Valley from July to September 2014.

Described as ‘ambitious’ in scale, the installations will feature and complement the existing landscape of the Nene Valley making use of landmarks such as Stanwick Lakes, and highlight the effects of the former railway lines in the area, from the Beeching Cuts of 40 years ago to the development of HS2 in the south of the county.

Three artists, one from each country, will each create three separate temporary artworks, each to be situated on or adjacent to disused railway lines which are now used as walking or cycle paths. This will enable the project to engage with a wide range of leisure and recreational users such as walkers, cyclists, families, fishers, and local community groups including heritage, schools, colleges and local tourism businesses. The installations will include railway tracks that extend 12 metres into the air creating a stunning visual impact.

The artists selected are Aideen Barry (Ireland), Noah Rose (UK) and Xevi Bayona (Catalonia). All three will begin installing their work in May in Catalonia, followed by County Mayo in June and finally Northamptonshire’s Nene Valley from July. These unique and highly ambitious artworks will remain in situ until approximately September in the UK.

Emma McLarkin, MEP for the East Midlands, said: “It is extremely pleasing to see UK-led EU Culture Programme projects taking place in the East Midlands. This initiative led by Northamptonshire County Council supported by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnerhip Brussels Office is yet another example of innovation and excellence in the arts, which raises the bar once again in terms of the region's cultural offer.”

For more information about CHANGING TRACKS, please visit www.changingtracks.eu

CHANGING TRACKS has received funding from the Education, Audiovisual and Cultural Executive of the European Commission (EACEA) as part of the EU Culture Programme 2007-2013. It is supported by Northamptonshire County Council, UK, Mayo County Council, Ireland and Consortium Transversal Cultural Activities Network, Spain.

CHANGING TRACKS was initiated by Northamptonshire County Council, who as the lead co-ordinator, secured funding for the project from the European Commission. This is the first European-funded arts project to be held in the county and follows the successful London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme in Northamptonshire.

Notes to editors:

About the artists:

Aideen Barry’s range of artistic expression, from performance, film, sculpture and drawing explores human behaviour, specifically manifestations of anxiety, and strange areas between amusement and discomfort. For CHANGING TRACKS she draws inspiration from a 19th Century publication ‘Hints for Lady Travellers’ by Lillian Campbell Davidson which offers both useful and (now) ridiculous advice for the independent female traveller. Barry makes strange both the landscape, found history and the experience of being a Flâneuse through her jaunts through the topographies and records of the three sites in this project. Barry will present stop motion video projections which can be seen at unexpected intervals along each of the three cycling/walking tracks and potentially other site specific installation and performative outcomes. One of the main manifestations of the project will be a limited edition interactive publication which will be made available at specially selected spaces at each location.

Salford-based artist, Noah Rose specialises in making work for public spaces and has worked in over 80 locations across the UK, Ireland and Europe. His artistic practice encompasses sculpture, drawing and a range of hybrid three-dimensional work including sculptural typography, architectural metalwork, street furniture and micro-architecture.

Noah’s proposal is a ‘Museum of Interconnected Events’. The ‘museums’ will be sculptural installations, incorporating some new media content, each a beautifully designed and made object. The collection will function as an outdoor museum/ gallery creating a sense of intrigue and a desire to ‘collect’ them all amongst the walkers, cyclists, etc along each route. The ’event cabinets’ will contain a variety of artifacts that may include salvaged objects found locally, archival photographs or other documents relating to the impact of the railways on their surroundings, local species diversity and local legends or cultural traditions.

The Catalan artist and architect, Xevi Bayona is well known for his spectacular multimedia installations. His contribution to Changing Tracks aims to present challenging, large scale temporary sculpture, which in some locations may include an upturned railway carriage which may enclose a living tree. In other locations there may be railway tracks installed that leave the ground creating monumental vertical installations. Audience interaction and light may also feature in the finished artwork. This artwork will reference how the introduction of the railways changed both landscape and lifestyle.

For further information, please contact:
Caroline Spence
0116 262 0728

Simon Gribbon
07584 088353