The Railway is Coming to Corwen


The extension of the heritage railway from Llangollen to Carrog was the initial starting point for discussing artwork interventions within the town. Examining how these could link the proposed platform to the town centre, examine the local environment, architecture and history and develop relationships between local people and the tourists.

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.

In summer 2013 a further Artist in Residency will consider the environmental links around the development of a ‘wet meadow’ area between the town and the platform.

The residency in Corwen will draw out and address issues of physical and environmental connectivity across the town, highlighted by the proposal to extend the heritage Llangollen Railway from Carrog. The proposed new railway platform lies to the east of the town, some distance from the town centre across a series of fields. There is potential to bring these under-utilized green spaces, which currently act as a barrier, to the fore via an artist in residency, which would consider the links between local residents and users, the natural environment and the proposed influx of tourists that the railway development is intended to generate.

The residency aims to mark this field area as a creative space, bringing it into use and linking the platform and the town.


An artist’s residency undertaken in 2011 explored potential sites within the townscape and identified a series of possible sites for further work. These included creating links between the platform and the town via route-marking using poetry; manifestations to the exterior of buildings facing the platform; the creation of a wet meadow and a town trail. The subsequent Corwen Art Action Plan and a further seminar identified the field area as the priority for any further work. It is this site which would have the greatest impact and has the most potential to link the new platform and the town.

The Project

The proposal is therefore to engage an artist for a four-month period to work with local residents and community groups in order to develop possible visual solutions to some of the constraints within the site, namely that it acts as a barrier to access to and from the platform; it is underused and visually uniteresting; it may be difficult to site certain objects or planting there due to potential flooding. However, it has great potential environmentally as a possible outdoor classroom; local gardeners have established a community garden and an orchard; dog-walkers are keen for paths and access and residents would like youth engagement.

In the longer term we hope that by working with the artist a viable local group will form that would be interested in working to maintain the site and ensure its sustainability as a resource for local residents and as an attractive feature for the town.


The material outcomes of the residency are open but may take the form of temporary artworks at the site with local groups and residents. There is also potential to explore and develop proposals for environment, landscaping and use of the site as a thoroughfare between the town and the railway platform and as a community space with a focus on a sustainable environmental project. This may involve temporary structures such as shelters or outdoor classrooms/performance spaces, paths and routes, landscaping, earthworks, etc but would need to be negotiated with the artist following consultation with project partners and would be the basis of further funding applications.

What Addo Did:

Addo developed the initial project idea, wrote the brief in conjunction with partners, advertised and managed the selection process, contracted the artist and oversaw the project, engaged with the community and the steering group, conducted consultation within the exhibition, drew up proposals for further stages of the project and developed relationships with partners and funders.

We are currently developing the brief for a further phase of the project.

Outcomes & Legacy:

The initial stages of the project generated an AiR, community event, exhibition. The following seminar resulted in an Art Action Plan for Corwen.

The project continues with a second residency, funded by the Arts Council of Wales, in the summer of 2013.