Martin Hylton at Lion Salt Works


Project Info


  • Martin Hylton

Art Forms

  • Dance, Installation and Film


  • Lion Salt Works
  • West Cheshire Museums
  • Arts&Heritage
  • Arts Council England Museum Resilience Fund

Project Outline

Salt is part of Meeting Point.

Salt gives visitors the chance to step into the artwork for a truly unique experience. Visitors to the exhibition were provided with a virtual reality headset to view the dance piece which is set inside a salt pan. Dancing in water, representing the brine used in the salt making process, dancers capture the physicality of the manufacturing process whilst bringing Lion Salt Works’ unique heritage to life.

Choreographer Martin Hylton said:

“Looking at the archive material at Lion Salt Works, I was really struck by the movement and physical, hard work involved in claiming the salt from the pans.

“The process the workers went through really lends itself to choreography and dance; the laboured and heavy movement involved in scrapping the salt.

“The piece I’ve created reflects that hard, physical work and by filming it in 360° virtual reality, the viewer can be completely immersed in the moment. People will get a sense of what it would have been like to work in the factory.”

See a promotional video for the project here


  • Raise the profile of the site within the locality
  • Engage museum staff and volunteers in commissioning process
  • Build and develop the programming team’s expertise in commissioning contemporary art


Arts&Heritage is supporting the 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 70 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.

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


  • 25 children and young people attended workshops
  • 150 people, including performers, participated in an event in December 2017
  • Over 1,900 people attended SALT
  • Working with young people helped to bring in the local community to the venue
  • Staff feel more confident in commissioning work, working with artists and other council teams and are keen to commission work in future to enhance the programmes and themes
  • Young people taking part in workshops also benefitted from careers advice from Martin Hylton

The Artist

Martin began dancing at the age of 9 and joined the Harehills Youth Dance group under the direction of Nadine Senior MBE.  He successfully auditioned for the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 1987, and in 1998 won the C&A Cosmopolitan Young Dancer of the Year award.  

After graduating from NSCD he joined the Nye Carte Blanche company in Bergen, Norway.  This was the beginning of a special relationship with Scandinavia as Martin went on to work and perform with companies such as Skanes Dance Theatre, Malmo, Sweden under the direction of Patrick King (Culberg Balleten) and Mari Brolin-Tani in Aarhus, Denmark.    Martin has also worked and performed with various companies in the UK, including Phoenix Dance Theatre, and has seen him build strong connections within the industry.

Martin has taught contemporary dance throughout his career all over the world in in professional, educational, custodial and community settings.

He became the Youth Dance Academy Director for the Tees Valley based in Holmwood School, Middlesbrough, and in 2008 Martin joined the Centre for Advanced Training team based at Dance City as the Dance Development Manager and CAT teacher/choreographer.

Martin is now a high profile leader in the dance community. He holds a Master’s Degree in Arts, Business and Creativity and is a Clore Fellow. Through the Clore Leadership program and his passion for dance, Martin realised his vision to create Gateway Studio Project in 2012.