Reimagining Corwen

  • <i><b>Image:</b> Corwen Seminar Poster, 2012. </i>

    Image: Corwen Seminar Poster, 2012.
    © Addo, 2012.

  • <i><b>Image:</b> Pints of Culture Event Poster, 2012. </i>

    Image: Pints of Culture Event Poster, 2012.
    © Naomi Leake.

  • <i><b>Image:</b> Camp Little Hope's Toiledau Residency Pilot, 2014. </i>

    Image: Camp Little Hope's Toiledau Residency Pilot, 2014.
    © Camp Little Hope

  • <i><b>Image:</b> School Balloon Workshop led by Camp Little Hope, 2014. </i>

    Image: School Balloon Workshop led by Camp Little Hope, 2014.
    © Camp Little Hope

  • <i><b>Image:</b> Camp Little Hope's Corwen Field Stwdio, temporary project space, 2014. </i>

    Image: Camp Little Hope's Corwen Field Stwdio, temporary project space, 2014.
    © Camp Little Hope


In response to an initial conversation, about public artworks in Corwen, with Denbighshire County Council officers in 2010, Addo developed a phased programme embedding an arts approach to development within the town ahead of the proposed heritage railway extension. The aim was to draw out and celebrate the many features of this small gateway town, thereby signposting visitors to the area’s special landscape qualities and its natural and cultural heritage.

The first stage of the project was a short residency by artist Naomi Leake, whose role focused on raising local enthusiasm for the project while gaining input from residents on what the focus of the artworks should be. The project included a celebratory evening ‘Pints of Culture’ at the Glyndwr Hotel in summer 2011 and an exhibition of Naomi’s proposals at Corwen Library later that year. A report followed which recommended some further work to enable the project to continue. A seminar for potential stakeholders was held in February 2012, which was followed by an action plan, which recommended a strategy to drive forward the programme.

What Addo Did:

This has since become a four-phase project developed over a number of years:

Phase 1 Initial Scoping Residency, Seminar and Action plan Addo developed a brief for this project and with partners applied for funding from Cadwyn Clwyd. This allowed us to appoint artist Naomi Leake for an initial short residency investigating the possibility for artworks as part of the proposed extension to the Llangollen Heritage Railway. Addo then developed a seminar to test these ideas before developing an Art Action Plan for Corwen to take these forward.

Phase 2 Artist Residency in the Field Space The action plan identified a field space adjacent to the town centre and the proposed railway platform as the prime site for any art intervention. Addo, with our partners, developed a funding bid to Arts Council of Wales for a four-month residency focusing on this space. American art collective Camp Little Hope were appointed and with our curatorial input developed a series of responses to the space, which included ideas for a climate change garden, signage strategy and toiledau residency proposal. Design ideas for the climate change garden were taken forward in a partnership with the Countryside Department of Denbighshire County Council. The way-finding strategy was implemented along the whole Dee Valley via collaboration with the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) team.

Phase 3 Re-imagining Corwen Arts Activity The Field Space residency ideas were then developed in a further stage of activity, involving Camp Little Hope and other artists. Activity during this phase included using a meanwhile space as the Corwen Field Stwdio, a site of activity and engagement with the public in Corwen; Davies Community Films made a series of peer films with youth groups, older people and mums and toddlers; Ben & Judith Wood worked with parents and children to produce the Corwen Colouring-in Book. A seminar was held for artists and other professionals with speakers discussing the nature of artist residencies, particularly in relation to the regeneration agenda. A formal evaluation report was undertaken of the project for submission to ACW.

Phase 4 Addo were appointed by the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) to the Sleeping Giant project to engage artist Gordon Rogers and manage the project programme. The commission culminated in a large-scale glyph (drawn grooved channel in the earth) of the sleeping for of Drewyn the Giant within the Dol Corwenna field space. The work c created by a series of controlled explosions, elebrates local and national folklore, protected landscapes and provide the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the area’s special landscape qualities and its natural and cultural heritage.

Outcomes & Legacy:

Publication, artworks, activity and a name for the field space, which became Dol Corwenna. The railway line was extended to Corwen, via a temporary platform, which has now been further extended into a new station. The arts activity has animated the field space, with planting and management enabling local groups to work collaboratively with AONB staff to run a community garden to compliment the existing orchard. Members of the community garden helped to identify and plant wildflowers in the glyph drawing so that the figure of Drewyn the giant will change with the seasons.