Meeting Point: Head Of Steam, Darlington
Cath Campbell created miniature models of railway stations linked to the story of Elizabeth Bidder who, at 18 years old became part of a ship’s crew accompanying Robert Stephenson.
Title Since the Middle Summer's Spring Historical Sites Head Of Steam, Darlington Lead Artists Cath Campbell Artwork Sculpture Partners / Stakeholders Head Of Steam, Arts&Heritage and Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund Budget £8000.00 Development 5 months Dates 9 July 2016 - 4 September 2016
The project is part of the Meeting Point project led by Arts&Heritage, which saw nine new contemporary art installations at four museums in the North East and five museums in Yorkshire during 2016. Meeting Point is funded by Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund.
Since the Middle Summer’s Spring featured architectural, replica models of train stations depicting those found in cities eighteen-year-old Elizabeth Bidder visited during her epic voyage from Southampton to Alexandria, Egypt, with Robert Stephenson in 1858.
Artist, Cath Campbell, said: “I wanted to create a piece of work for Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum that reflected its history, heritage and relationship with Robert Stephenson. I was introduced to Elizabeth’s dairy detailing her voyage onboard the ‘Titania’ and I thought it would be fascinating to celebrate some of the railway stations in the cities she visited on her journey.
The Elizabeth Bidder Diary, published in 2008 by The Robert Stephenson Trust, provides a first hand account of the eighteen-year-olds 1858 journey from Southampton to Alexandria, Egypt, onboard Stephenson’s ‘Titania’ yacht. Elizabeth Bidder shares a vivid account of her trip with the famous railway engineer including tales of the cities and countries visited along the way.
The installation celebrated Robert Stephenson and his legacy by depicting some of the cities’ railway stations. Sitting alongside existing exhibits at Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum – including Stephenson’s ‘Locomotion No. 1’
- To find a creative and new way to explore railway history
- To reanimate the Head Of Steam Collection with a project that inspires families
Arts&Heritage has supported the nine participating museums throughout the process, sharing knowledge of presenting contemporary art projects and commissions in non-traditional art spaces.
A networking event between the participating museums and 40 artists from across the UK took place at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and visits to artists’ studios were arranged. Museum teams also met with peers at other properties to learn how they successfully delivered contemporary art projects at their museums and heritage sites.
All museums developed their own Artist’s Brief. Following the networking event artists were invited to send in an expression of interest to museums that interested therm.
Three artists were shortlisted by each museum to draw up a more detailed proposal and were paid £500 each
Information to follow
£8,000 to include all materials, travel and installation costs
£500 paid to each of 3 artists shortlisted
- The commission was used to raise the profile of Head Of Steam to the local audience and to attract new audience
- To attract contemporary visual artists to reinterpret the Head Of Steam site and collection
- To develop and build a regional and national audience for the Meeting Point project commissions
A marketing campaign for the Meeting Point project was led and delivered by Emma Pybus and David Brookbanks.
The Meeting Point project was documented by Jonathan Turner and Peter Spence
Information to follow