Road For The Future

I was initially drawn to this site as a place because of its shape, a long thin line through the body of the landscape, like a road but entropically becoming an anti-road. I felt resonances of travelling through the landscape, and the inevitability of viewpoints, landmarks, picnic spots. I explored the notion of a place as dynamic, a place to move within, not a mark or spot to stop at. The old railway line seemed to be all these things, as well as a place that trangresses the other delineations of the countryside, boundaries of ownership, stockproofing – the hedges, fences, watercourses, streams etc  and yet encompasses them…

Architects, artists, educators and ecologists were involved to create live art and events exploring issues around sustainable transport, food and commons. We invited a prototype wild kitchen as an ongoing resource at Powerstock Common. Road For The Future was a year long collaborative project on a decommissioned rural railway, proposed as a cycle trailway by Sustrans, in West Dorset.

There were the remains of railway workers huts, which potentially offered spaces for a juxtaposition between art and audience. The narrative of the transformation of the old railway line into a bicycle route underpinned the project’s themes of a road for the future. The artists projects and workshops were about concerns over sustainable transport, energy, wellbeing and health. We also engaged with the historical legacy of railways, the changing meaning of ‘commons’ in particular history at Powerstock Common, access to the landscape in a wildlife sensitive site, ecological architecture, and wild food. Road for the Future was a framework for a process – a space inviting the collaborators to record and document over the year through collective access to the website and a series of meetings.

We received funding from Arts Council England for half the budget, support from ArtSway Associates with the Leverhulme Trust,  Dorset Design and Heritage Forum through Wide Open Space and the West Dorset District Council. Further funds sought though a raffle.

There were events at different points along the proposed route in January and September “Probably the strangest community arts event in the area so far in 2010”

Some of the participants met in July 2011…. paula orrell, anna best, judith dean, adam chodzko, anna lucas

Pilot Publishing, artists Amy Plant+Ella Gibbs’ brought their Energy Café …  – The local paper took some photos – dorset echo.

Students at The Architecture Association were invited to design a shelter/wild kitchen for the public at Powerstock Common, with tutors Saskia Lewis, Matthew Butcher among others. I spent time with the students on site and at the AA in Bedford Sq, London. We planned to present the designs to the public and the Dorset Wildlife Trust.


Arts Council, England

ArtSway Associates Leverhulme Programme

Wide Open Space  Award, Dorset Design and Heritage Forum

West Dorset District Council

The Ernest Cook Trust

George Sartin, Peter Henshaw, Richard Rider, Katy Hallet at Sustrans, Mark Segal and Jo Sanna at ArtSway, Julie Penfold at PVA, Ella Gibbs and Amy Plant of Pilot Publishing, Ines Cavill, Paula Orrell at Plymouth Arts Centre, Michaela Crimmin at The Royal College of Art Curating course, Andrea Crociani, Sarah Langley, Joanna Morland, Spike Golding, Alex Friedman, Saskia Lewis and Martin Self at The Architecture Association at Hooke Park, Julie Penfold, Anna Lucas, Adam Chodzko, Judith Dean, Kate Melville, Kim and David Squirrell, Adam of Magnificent Revolution, Powerstock School….