Fine art students trail art along the Kidsgrove canal

Students are inviting members of the public to explore, experience and get involved in Kidsgrove’s freshest free art trail.

masked figure on steps near canal

Elly Charsley’s work focuses on the local legend of the Kitcrew Boggart.

It has been a real joy to see the students’ response to the live brief. They have engaged with the local community and spent time on location to arrive at some exciting and thought provoking artwork for the canalside.

Deborah Hilditch, Appetite

Staffordshire University BA Fine Art students, working with Appetite and the Canal and Rivers Trust have worked together to deliver a high quality creative arts trail to be experienced by the public, responding to the history, ecology and potential future of the canal.

The one day temporary art trail, and guided walk - taking place on Saturday 4 March from 12 noon - 4pm - draws attention to the canal as a site for leisure and walking and raises questions about our industrial history, developing ecologies and future uses of the canal. 

Deborah Hilditch from Appetite said: "Tunnel Visions is a great opportunity to celebrate aspects and details of the ecology and history of the canal in Kidsgrove. It has been a real joy to see the students’ response to the live brief. They have engaged with the local community and spent time on location to arrive at some exciting and thought provoking artwork for the canalside. Tunnel Visions will be a great way for people to connect with the canal location and potentially learn something new about it."

The activity, which includes hands on origami from 12 noon and guided walks at 1pm and 2pm, will take place at the Canal and Rivers Trust Lodge at the Kidsgrove entrance to the Harecastle Tunnel

The public can wander along the canal from the Kidsgrove entrance to the Harecastle Tunnel, along to the steps leading up to Kidsgrove Train Station, and can experience the series of artworks installed along the route. There are two opportunities to take part in a short walking trail, where the Fine Art students will give a brief introduction to their works.

Jenny Richardson, second year Fine Art student at Staffordshire University added: "I have learned a lot about time management, deadlines, which has pushed me to challenge myself to make ambitious pieces which I hope the public will both enjoy and have thoughts prompted about possible meanings.

As a group we are hoping the event will increase footfall to this fascinating historically interesting part of the canal, and may encourage more use of this area, and spark a creative interest in visitors when they see the results of Fine Art BA Hons students of Staffordshire University’s work."

About the Art works:

Steph Hayes: Methods and techniques of the past are often now forgotten due to the advancement of technology. During the 18th Century, ‘Leggers’ were integral during the industrial revolution in transporting goods through canal tunnels. They would lie on their back on a plank, place their feet on the walls of the tunnel and walk the boat through. Through re-enacting this motion, a photographic cyanotype created this piece to gain a sense of the movement of their actions and exposed using cyanotype.

Jenny Richardson: Jenny has taken inspiration from the milestones on the canal, recreating them in ceramic, putting a twist into the alternative text she uses on those she has produced.

Roisin Graves: The artwork, four circular canvas paintings in acrylic paint uses Greek mythology relating to the rivers of the underworld; Acheron, Styx, Phlegethon, Cocytus to celebrate our connection to water.

Geo Banner: Comprising a painting and altered found objects Geo’s work takes inspiration from the traditional canal folk art seen on many of the boats and barges along the British canals known as “roses and Castles” and the mining history within Stoke-on-Trent.

Karl Webster: A series of paintings concerned with natural environments, landscapes and folklore have been produced, which draw on the stories and myths of the Kidsgrove canal for centuries, one example being the ‘Kidsgrove Boggart’.

Ricky Chen: Utilizing origami, Ricky’s installation reveals the hidden beauty within nature. Focusing on the biodiversity along the canal and exposing the fragile forms within nature, the artworks draw attention to the beauty of mosses to be found along the canal.

Lorna Medley: Lorna’s work responds directly to the surprising rich orange colour of the canal, which utilises a traditional paper marbling technique to point to the unique geology of the Staffordshire landscape.

Elly Charsley: Using a combination of photography, video and sound, Elly Charsley’s work focuses on the local legend of the Kitcrew Boggart. By re-telling this story from a woman's perspective, the aim is to alter the audience's view of the Boggart by highlighting the importance of women's safety on the canal, showing her as the victim rather than the villain.

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