Track of the Ironmasters Connecting communities with the heritage of the Workington and Cleator railroads

ART GENE AND SUSTRANS PRESENT: Track of the Ironmasters

Track of the Ironmasters is a unique arts based project which aims to connect communities in West Cumbria to their rail and wider industrial heritage and the natural environment on Sustrans’ popular Sea-to-Sea routes Whitehaven to Rowrah and Lowca to Seaton and Siddick.

Using Art Gene’s innovative approach to community consultation, looking at the social natural and built environment, the project will identify and create a series of ‘Community Stations’ or community hubs areas of focussed interest and need along the rail track and will facilitate communities to reflect on their local stories, histories and wildlife around these ‘stations’.

Art Gene also aims to identify people to act as ‘Station Volunteers’ drawn from local communities and then work with them to help collect information, stories and histories about their history, environment, people and place.

Track of the Ironmasters aims to uncover the rich local stories, and meet the people that make this route a unique place.

This consultation project will inform the basis of future developments, installations and artworks along the Track of the Iron Masters routes. The project has already started with site visits to the tracks and to community groups and interested organisations around West Cumbria. As a result of this consultation we are delighted to announce that the formal launch of the project will take place as follows:

Tuesday 14 July          Launch in Workington at the Helena Thompson Museum
Wednesday 15 July     Launch in Whitehaven at the Haig Pit Colliery Museum

Both launches will take place between 6pm and 9pm: refreshments will be provided.

Following the launches, we will be providing free ‘Station Volunteer’ training at the same venues as follows:

Saturday 25 July  Training at in Workington at the Helena Thompson Museum
Sunday 26 July     Training in Whitehaven at the Haig Pit Colliery Museum

Both training days will run from 10am to 3pm and will be free to participants. Refreshments will be provided.

Background to Art Gene

Art Gene has developed an international reputation for creating acclaimed art works and project across the social, natural and built environment in partnership with some of the most socially and economically deprived areas of Cumbria and Lancashire over the past 12 years. Led by Maddi Nicholson and Stuart Bastik, co-founders of the company, Art Gene has developed a unique approach to engage with communities of interest to co-create artworks which build pride and revealing local heritage and is delighted to be working in partnership with sustrans to deliver this unique project in West Cumbria.

Art Gene have been working with Morecambe Bay Partnership, researching and engaging communities of the Morecambe Bay area for the past 2 years, building up an extensive resource of photographs, interviews, and data, and developing a deep understanding of the social and economic influences on the communities of the Bay.

Currently we are engaging with communities in four geographic areas, of Morecambe Bay: the Furness Peninsula, the Cartmel Peninsula, Arnside and Silverdale and Morecambe and Heysham. We have delivered a series of road shows, guided walks and training events all designed to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas and to capture local intelligence. This research underpins Art Gene’s new series of four “Seldom Seen” maps that we have been commissioned to print for the Places and Spaces strand of Morecambe Bay Partnership’s Headlands to Headspace programme. We have also been commissioned by Morecambe Bay Partnership to produce four smart phone apps to interpret the history and culture of the Bay and to complement the maps and the other projects in the H2H programme. Both the maps and the apps will be delivered in July 2015.

Further information and contact details:
Dr. Nick Owen MBE
Project Manager, Art Gene,
Mobile  077422 71570

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