An Artistic Gateway

We are delighted to share the work that is transforming Shildon Station.

New artwork celebrates Shildon past, present and future. The work has been developed by the creative team Sally Pilkington, Katy Milne and Nic Golightly and informed by the conversations and creative exchanges from the wonderful people of Shildon.

This artwork celebrates Shildon as a place of significance and a place of possibility for those that arrive, visit and pass through the area.

It is a great place, full of amazing people who are making fantastic things happen.

Thank you to everyone involved.

Thank you to funders Northern Heartlands and Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership.

Still on track…

Shildon In Motion

Good to be blogging after a very slight pause (due to world proceedings), we are now full steam ahead! We are very excited to bring together the community input from the last year of the Shildon in Motion project into final designs for the Shildon Station platform.

I am excited to be collaborating together with designer Sally Pilkington for this final stage and building on initial design ideas from designer Nic Golightly.

There are lots of great stories and a range of voices we can bring to life through exciting visual designs that will help to celebrate Shildon’s rich and significant heritage, past, present and future.  We want to shout about Shildon – it is a fantastic place full or amazing people. A place full of possibility.

Take a sneak peek at some of the design ideas that are emerging…
Watch this space to see the final artwork come together later this year.


Meeting in March

We met with the Bishop Rail Community Partnership at the beginning of March to update on how the Shildon in Motion project has been going, information we have gathered from our many interactions and to share where this is leading us in terms of design, style and plans for the Shildon station platform.

Although we are all in very extraordinary and challenging times at the moment, our project is still developing, and we are working towards the final outcome.  Community is so important, and we intend to recognise and celebrate Shildon and its community – its past, present and future – through the new look and feel of the platform. The final work will be informed by the people we met, the community spirit of the place and its rich and significant heritage. We are just extending our timeline and looking towards a different time in the year to install, share the new work and get together to celebrate.

We are looking forward to that time.

Nic prepared a Zine (a little magazine) that captured many of the 110 voices we had heard from. We also added some images of the platform and visualised the opportunities there are where new design/imagery could be displayed at the station.

Shildon In Motion Zine

We also shared a short design style guide which featured the kinds of style, design features and colours that will be used across the platform to create a visual impact.

We are working on the designs and developing these ideas further, so we are ready to make things happen when we are all in a different position.

Take care.

Work in Progress

We brought together all the contributions from those we have met during the artist residency and drew upon the ideas and themes that were emerging.

We heard from many voices and recognise the value of people sharing their experiences. We also recognise the need to highlight the great things that have happened, are happening and have the potential to happen in this place and it’s people.

The railway station artwork aims to tie this learning together and create a moment in this place.

Initial design thinking explores the ways the furniture and features join together to make an impact. We will make use of a familiar and common visual language that ensures that colour, design and features work together cohesively.

The designs for the station need to shout about Shildon. We are exploring ways in which visual ideas for the station area can do this from signage and waymarkers to flags.

We are looking forward to developing this work and sharing ideas with partners and those involved.

In Residence

On Tuesday 12 November and Thursday 14 November we took up residency in Shildon Library and Jubilee Fields Community Centre. Through the creation of artists books we provided the opportunity for meaningful discussion with those who live, work or have grown up in this place. 

It was an exciting opportunity to speak to people and further our understanding of the wealth of history of this place but also the opportunity and possibilities it possesses for now and the future. 

The people we met have had a strong sense of place and celebrate the significant history of the area and the railway.

Through the prompts of ‘past’ and ‘present’ we discussed the building blocks for the future and ways in which we can reimagine. We talked with people about ways to use this history to inspire the future generations to create and making thing happen and encourage a self-belief that they can achieve and that Shildon is a great place to be and be a part of.

The books will form an artists zine that will celebrate the input and contribution of those we have spoken and worked with.

Brilliant people from Shildon

On Tuesday 15 October we met with some brilliant people from Shildon.

We spent the morning with Alan Elwood from the Local History Club who brought some amazing items and stories from the area.

Alan has a rich knowledge of history of the area and some fantastic resources and items he kindly shared.

We were privileged to read the letter that was hidden in a time capsule from 1854. The letter looked forward to the future and talked to the reader now about life and experiences from the time.  We were moved and inspired by the idea of working with young people as part of the project, reflecting this original idea, to look forward to the future of Shildon as well as its fabulous past.

We also met some fantastic residents from the Jubilee Fields area of Shildon who have a passion for making positive things happen in the area.

There are some developments and exciting aspects of regeneration taking place around the area and some interesting ways to connect up.

Its important to celebrate the fabulous things going on in the area now through this work.

We are looking forward to the next stage of this work as we are situated in public spaces and hear from residents about their experiences of living in and being from this great place.

Show and Tell

As part of our research and development phase, on Tuesday 08 October 2019, we met with some fantastic people from Shildon who care passionately about its heritage and its future. It was a great morning at Locomotion, full of sharing stories, interesting items and good ideas. 

Guests included residents, volunteers, historians and those who had ‘served their time at “The Works”’.

We shared insights and experiences over tea and cake.

Thoughts so far…

Some of the stories were about the place and some were about the people of Shildon and their experiences. It was good to hear about Kitty Sanderson’s journal from the 1880’s, the pocketwatch given by Timothy Hackworth, the LNER whistle, the time capsule situated in ‘Dave Camp’s house and other exciting items and tales that give us better understanding of what it felt like to be from Shildon. Some interesting ideas for possible devices to use in the station design to mull over…

The stories illustrated the importance of the circumstances and conditions of the time (the industrial revolution) and the significance of this to Shildon in being able to create the first passenger railway. The geology of the place, the positioning, the people and the circumstances all contribute to the possibility of things.

Then and Now…

The ‘Show and Tell get together’ illustrated the rich heritage within Shildon. It clearly demonstrated the wealth of knowledge and resource that has been lovingly captured and documented over time. All of which reveal interesting stories and can spark the imagination.

It also clearly highlighted, with those people sat in front of us, that there are amazing stories, fantastic people and wonderful things happening and developing now. It’s important that the results of this project reflect the significance of both the then and the now.

The challenge…

The challenge is to delve a little deeper through our research and development, to work with others to capture more ideas and be fully informed and to transform all of this into a new platform area through the power of art and design.

Research Trip

On Tuesday 01 October we embarked on an Artist Research Trip to explore the visitor experience of another form of rail based transport, namely the Metro and their adjoining stations. With an expert in the field to guide us – we had a beautifully crafted list of key stops along the way.

Take a look at…

We visited 46 nexus metro station platforms to explore the design features, art works and the visitor arrival experience to help us to think about aspects of our Shildon in Motion Project. How do visitors experience a welcome from these stations? What is important and what has the greatest overall effect?

Sunderland Station moving light artwork

Creating a Moment

Our plan is for people to feel important and valued when they arrive at the Shildon Station.  The platform design/artwork will bring something different, a little ‘moment’. There are lots of interesting devices to help us explore this as we celebrate the heritage, innovation, people and place. These might include plaques, vinyls, waymarkers, the signage, the platform floor…

The Whole Experience

It’s not just about beautifying the station, our plan is to use the furniture and feature of the platform to create an overall impact.  We will bring together these aspects using design features such as colour and pattern as well as add some key artistic ideas. These may explore typography, light…the possibilities are endless at this point in the process!

The research trip showed us something very important. This project is beyond artwork placed in a space. This is about working with people, further building our existing relationships and creating a space which honours them and enhances their daily experience through a visual language which exists in an environment they directly engage with.

And so…

…it begins! Hello there, this is Nicola Golightly. It’s a pleasure to begin this blog for Shildon in Motion, a collaborative project which is kindly supported by a whole host of project partners and funded by Northern Heartlands and supported by Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership.

You can find out who’s who on the blog about page. Katy and I will continually update this blog to ensure it reflects the developments of the project along the way and gives you an insight into how we are researching and collaborating to bring ideas together.

You’ll also be able to find out how you can take part / be involved in this project. So keep checking in! See you soon!

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