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Canals set to become nation’s largest cultural space

Our 2,000-mile canal and river network is shaping up to become the nation’s largest cultural space, as this year sees more art commissions and events taking place on or along the water than ever before.

We want our waterways to be used as cultural capillaries reaching into areas that traditional art programmes have struggled to reach. This summer our arts programme includes has some real treats in store for anyone who ventures down to the water.

Super Slow Way

Super Slow Way is a major £2 million three-year programme on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Funded by Arts Council England, the programme draws its inspiration from Ian McMillan's poem, carved into a lock beam in Gargrave, which captures the contrast between the canal as a 19th Century super highway and the tranquillity now found on its banks.

Led by renowned producer Laurie Peake, along with local communities and arts professionals, and taking its cue from the Slow Movement, Super Slow Way looks at how we can use our time more creatively. It will bring art and artists to a space where time slows down, to look afresh at how we live our fast-paced lives and how we relate to our environment, to our neighbourhoods and to each other.

The Line

We're excited to be a leading partner for a new world-class sculpture walk in London. The three-mile route, named after the Meridian Line, takes in the River Lee Navigation, passes through the ever-changing East London landscapes and links the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the O2.

The project will feature contemporary sculpture by major artists to the waterways and include works by Damien Hirst, Abigail Fallis and Gary Hume. The Line will be open from 23rd May.

Stratford 2 Stratford

From 27 June to 5 July, 30 teenagers from Stratford, East London will take a canal boat journey to Stratford-upon-Avon in a project designed to boost their creativity and confidence.

As well as handling the boat itself, the group will work with the Rubbish Shakespeare Company and the RSC to rehearse A Midsummer Night's Dream, taking inspiration from the nature and culture that they experience on their journey. This innovative project will culminate in the young people's performance of the play at the Stratford-upon Avon River Festival, as well as the Chobham Academy in Stratford.

The Floating Cinema on Tour

Following last year's successful season across London's waterways, arts organisation UP Projects is taking this vibrant arts programme west. The boat will travel to Bristol and back between June and August.

A series of archive screenings, talks and workshops will feature alongside an active engagement programme, tapping into local heritage and culture along the Kennet & Avon Canal and celebrating waterborne communities.

LAND by Antony Gormley

Marking the Landmark Trust's 50th Anniversary, we've supported the positioning of a new life-size standing Gormley sculpture overlooking the canal at Lengthman's Cottage on the South Stratford Canal, Warwickshire.

The sculpture complements four others being placed in Suffolk, Dorset, the Mull of Kintyre and on Lundy in the Bristol Channel. Free for everyone to enjoy, all five will be unveiled as part of the Landmark Trust's Golden Weekend from 16 to 17 May.

Keep checking our website for the latest information on our exciting summer of arts

Last Edited: 16 April 2015

photo of a location on the canals
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