The Burslem Port Trust are inviting local residents of Burslem and Middleport to volunteer with a team of visual and performance artists from Stoke-on-Trent. Collaboratively they will create a series of interpretative art works and promotional materials, reflecting the vision and aims involved in the regeneration and restoration of the Burslem Branch Canal.
The artists, who have been commissioned by the Burslem Port Trust, will create an illustrated map installation and a series of interactive workshops involving bespoke screen printing and music. The music will be performed during the map installation taking place along the canal footpath at a special launch event as part of Heritage Open Days taking place on 18th September 2021.
The workshops, led by these artists, will be taking place throughout July and August 2021 both on the canal site and in the artists’ studios. Participation is free of charge for all volunteers, and it is hoped that this will inspire local residents to come forward to take part, and connect in with their local heritage and environment.
We are Culla and Boat Band are the local visual and performance artists who have been commissioned, through community consultation by the Burslem Port Trust, to host the workshops.
Tom Edwards of We are Culla said: “We are Culla are working with Burslem Port Trust to create an illustrated map installation to help promote and signpost the branch canal and surrounding areas. Then, we will be delivering community workshops around the historic process of “screen printing” to produce promotional material for the Trust.”
Greg Stephens of the Boat Band said: “Boat Band are excited to be working with the local community of Burslem in creating outdoor music, song and other performances in celebration of the map installation. We encourage all of the community to take part, with or without musical experience, but with bags of enthusiasm.”
How to take part
To get involved in The People’s Port of Burslem project, local residents can make contact via www.burslemport.org.uk
For screen printing workshops with We are Culla – Rob Fenton
For musical workshops with Boat Band : Greg Stephens
Boat Band will be performing at Etruria Canals Festival on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th July and Burslem Port Trust will be present and recruiting help: https://etruriacanalsfestival.org.uk/
To join a work party and help prepare the site and path laying: Steve Wood
Steve Wood of Burslem Port Trust said: “We are delighted to have commissioned We are Culla and Boat Band to help create interpretative artworks assisted by the local community. Burslem Port Trust was officially established in 2011 with the aim of bringing boats back to Burslem. We hope that the local community will engage with us fully and enthusiastically in realising the exciting vision of restoring and regenerating this abandoned and forgotten part of the Mother town.”
The former Burslem Branch Canal is approximately a quarter of a mile between its junction with the Trent and Mersey canal near Newport Lane, and Furlong Mills in Burslem. Following its closure in 1961 the canal was filled in, but the land was protected from development. The Burslem Port Trust seeks to reopen the historic Burslem Branch Canal, creating new waterside facilities to deliver sustainable leisure, tourism and thus employment. It also seeks to provide an adjacent linear park environment for residents to walk and cycle, acting as a green lung for the area and an important habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna species.
For further information, please visit www.burslemport.org.uk.