From September 2017 until September 2018, internationally acclaimed artists, as well as artists from across the region will be working with local communities to create a series of unexpected and inspiring artworks, events and activities exploring the heritage, ecology and local community along the urban and rural waterways of Worcestershire.
The ambition, calibre and breadth of the dynamic contemporary arts programme will be a cultural first for the waterways of this region.
In April 2018 the public programme will be launched. Audiences will be invited to explore on foot, by boat or bicycle a series of five public art commissions, as well as a series of works by local artists. Activities will take place along the waterways encircling Droitwich and Worcester and includes the Worcester & Birmingham Canals, the Droitwich Canals and the River Severn.
After 75 years, the Droitwich Canals were restored, resulting in the reconnection of the Mid-Worcestershire Ring in 2011, a 21-mile route, reconnecting Droitwich to the River Severn and from there the open sea. The restoration involved decades of hard work in which 300,000 tons of mud was shifted by volunteers and canal workers. Today, the waterway is a thriving boating route and a peaceful retreat for the local community and wildlife.
The Ring is part of our Arts on the Waterways programme, a collaborative arts programme situated on and inspired by waterways in England and Wales.
Tim Eastop, executive producer of the Canal & River Trust’s Arts on the Waterways programme says: "Our canals are a network of cultural capillaries that have potential to carry ideas but also — literally — to carry new works of art to places where the arts traditionally haven’t been able to reach, such as the Mid-Worcestershire Ring. We are realising the tremendous opportunity for cultural activities on our waterways, thanks to support from Arts Council England and exciting, high calibre artists and arts partners."
Cathy Mager, Artistic Director of The Ring, adds: "We're thrilled and inspired by the ideas of our growing collective of artists, performers, filmmakers and writers who are working in a variety of ways to reimagine the waterways of Worcestershire. The Ring's new events and commissions will flow through 21 miles of contrasting landscapes: from the calm and sleepy suburban canals to fast flowing tidal rivers, through to busy historic city centres and to picturesque countryside."
Manda Graham, Project Manager added: "We're delighted to be launching our new website to share the many opportunities coming up over the next year for artists and local people to join in and take part in the programme of exciting arts events and activities we’re planning."