Cath Campbell at Head Of Steam, Darlington


Project Info


  • Cath Campbell

Art Forms

  • Sculpture


  • Head Of Steam
  • Arts&Heritage
  • Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund

Project Outline

Since the Middle Summer’s Spring is part of the Meeting Point programme.

The project 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 museums participating in Meeting Point 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 them.

Three artists were shortlisted by each museum to draw up a more detailed proposal and were paid £500 each.

The Artist

Cath Campbell makes sculpture, drawing, large scape architectural interventions, film, performance and participative projects.

Her most recent work centres around an ongoing collection of short films in which she uses found video footage to create fictional road trips across the American landscape. Using the films as a starting point, Campbell has expanded the content to explore the narrative as poetry, performance and sound, inviting collective female voices into the making of the work.

Increasingly interested in exploring feminist practice, Cath Campbell makes work from within the confines of domestic space, developing opportunity for participative processes and creating a platform for women’s voices within public space.