Exploring the Spodden Valley

Spodden Valley Revealed

MPA’s partnership work around Whitworth brought an established international artist to explore the mysteries of the area.

The eminent land artist Kate Whiteford worked with MPA through autumn 2012 on an exploratory commission around Whitworth.  Whiteford’s work is concerned with revealing hidden narratives in landscape and can transform our reading of a site.  She investigates archaeology and aerial photography to unearth new meaning in familiar locations.

Since she first inscribed a leaping fish into Edinburgh’s iconic Calton Hill in the 1980s, Kate Whiteford has compiled a major body of work.  Her installations have transformed sites worldwide, from remote Hebridean islands, to the hills above Nairobi, to inner city Coventry.  She has also exhibited at the Venice Biennale.  We were delighted to welcome her to Lancashire.

This commission formed part of our long-term partnership with Whitworth Town Council.  The Council initially invited MPA to consider the potential for developing the town’s cycleway into a linear visitor attraction, drawing on the multilayered heritage and history of the area.  We continue to work towards realizing its rich potential.

As part of the commission, Kate worked with St Johns and St Michaels Church of England School in Whitworth to creatively record and interpret some of this heritage.  A school visit to Whitworth’s community museum led to a series of workshop drawings and paintings which were exhibited as part of the school’s Art Week.

Kate spent time exploring some of the most intriguing locations in the uplands around the town.  She then worked on her journal of the residency, and some portfolio ideas for selected special places.  Kate has produced ideas for five key heritage locations.

This commission was made possible by support from Arts Council England through the National Lottery.  We are grateful to Whitworth Town Council for partnership support.