Appetite and Middleport Matters
Appetite and Middleport Matters are working together to bring more arts and cultural experiences to the Middleport area.
We want to give Middleport residents more chances to get involved, have a go and try something new.
Read on for details of the projects delivered as part of this exciting partnership, and other partners that have been crucial along the way.
Image credit I Andrew Billington
March – December 2022
Middleport Links asked locals to help design a ceramics-themed space around the Middleport entrance to the canal towpath. Over a series of workshops activities exploring nature, heritage – and of course clay – brought the community together to shape this special space, which included helping clear and plant the grassed area around the bridge.
Drawing inspiration from female ceramic artists Charlotte Rhead, Susie Cooper and Clarice Cliff, and with guidance from Clay Comrades, residents got to work painting bricks and creating their own terracotta tiles to be included in the installation. Lead artist Sarah Fraser of British Ceramics Biennial took everybody’s ideas and produced a style and colour scheme that would flow from the tiles at ground level up onto Mill Bridge itself.
Sarah then worked closely with artist Rob Fenton, who produced a vibrant mural onto the brick to add impact and flow of the work going from towpath up to the bridge.
This project has not only given those who live in Middleport a beautiful visual representation of the pride they feel in their area, it has also been a great opportunity for the local schoolchildren who got involved to learn more about the iconic designs that The Potteries are famous for.
Middleport Links was jointly funded by Middleport Matters and Canal & River Trust whose support, help and knowledge were invaluable to a project taking place within the conservation area.
Image credit I Connor Wells, Middleport Matters, Rob Fenton, Sarah Fraser
Oh no! Somebody very special went missing, and the residents of Middleport were recruited by Agent Peace and Agent Goodwill to become members of the Ministry of Christmas and help save the day!
Bringing the community together for this immersive Christmas adventure – just for them – gave everybody who attended a real festive boost. Stories, song and play connected the people of Middleport to what Christmas truly means to them, and to each other. By the time they walked out through the snow, treat in hand, people were filled with as much festive spirit as they were hot chocolate!
Just For You: Middleport
March – June 2021
It began with a postcard. The postcard went to households in Middleport, asking the community for their favourite memory of living in the area, what they love about Middleport and their favourite places. A special post box waited for all the replies – and there were many.
Three artists pored over every single response to help them come up with a design that represented the heart of Middleport, to be painted as a mural on the gable end of a row of terraced houses. When artists Florence Blanchard, Tom Addis and Tozer, completed their designs, the community voted on which they’d like to see come to life.
After getting the most votes, Florence began the work on her winning design on 7 June, and a small community event was held on 12 June for people to see her put the final touches to the mural. The postcard responses were also given to three local songwriters, who were commissioned to write three ‘Songs of Middleport‘. You can find the songs on the Appetite Soundcloud channel:
In a world of lockdown, this project helped the community feel like they were still connected by creating something together. Using nostalgia but also looking to the future, this house-sized work of art shows Middleport residents’ pride in their community!
The project was created and delivered with close collaboration between Appetite, Middleport Matters and We are Cülla.
Imagine Bamboo at Middleport
June 2021 – August 2022
Imagine Bamboo is a collaboration with Imagineer and independent artistic director, Orit Azaz, that began two years ago as part of Imagineer’s Bridge project. The project engages people with storytelling, creativity and hands-on activities while informing them about bamboo’s role in the future of building as a sustainable material
In 2021 Middleport Matters were involved with the Taking Root project devised by artist Ling Tan in collaboration with Imagineer and Orit Azaz. Bamboo ‘parents’ cared for baby borinda plants in their homes, sharing observations and co-ordinating on the growing process. Plant Ceremonies at Root ‘n’ Fruit community garden took place where three of the bamboo babies were planted.
As part of Imagine Bamboo R&D 2022, local artist Chloe Rickett held workshops with the Middleport community to explore creative ideas using borinda bamboo – from structures to musical instruments! Over six weeks, participants explored bamboo’s versatility, working together to create a giant windchime for the Middleport Matters team as a thank you for all they do in the community.
Many got to try their hand at new practical and artistic skills including painting, sawing and drilling. and asked when they could work with bamboo again!
Find out more Appetite’s ongoing collaboration with Imagineer on our Bridge to Bamboo project page.