The…marking time…along the Western Flyer participatory arts project is part of the new enhancements to the Western Flyer cycle and pedestrian route, funded by Swindon Travel Choices. Led by Create Studios in its 30th anniversary year, and artist Scott Farlow, the project aimed to increase the profile of the Western Flyer route by raising awareness of the rich heritage and social history that it passes through.
The creative team used the archive of Swindon’s pioneering photographer William Hooper (1864 – 1955), and the heritage of the route as a stimulus for a series of community workshops, imaginative activities, walks and presentations in West Swindon, Rodbourne and along the route itself, involving over 200 people over 8 months. Local residents of all ages and users of the route were invited to explore and share their stories of the Western Flyer route – its heritage, social history and modern day use – which were captured in film, photographically, in sound and as drawings and text. The content produced by members of the community contributed to the creation of four new films, a new app, a downloadable soundscape, a new photographic collection and archive and exhibition brochure.
Collective Views on the Western Wander
Much of this film describes the participatory nature of our project and conveys the warm and engaging spirit in which it was undertaken. In essence it is a collage of the activities expressed through moving image, photography, conversation and music. This film is underpinned by the collective experience of the Western Flyer Wanders; community walks, which shared parts of the William Hooper, archive, and helped to shape the Western Flyer App.
Short Cut: An accelerated view of the Western Flyer
In contrast to ‘Six Ways on 3 Wheels’, which reveals the route from a moving camera along its entire length, ‘Short Cut’ presents it from a series of fixed positions. Deliberately shot at different times of day, this film captures activity and use by pedestrians, cyclists, dog walkers, runners and commuters.
Six Ways on Three Wheels: The view from the trike
Taking inspiration from Swindon photographer William Hooper (1864 – 1955) and his interest and enthusiasm for cycling, bikes and trikes, the team shot this film by attaching six cameras to the Western Flyer tricycle machine.
This audio piece carefully weaves together the thoughts, knowledge and reflections of many people we met throughout our project. It is a thought-provoking sound collage that maps the route and experience of the Western Flyer through a series of personal stories and observations. In-so-doing it firmly places …marking time… and the Western Flyer in the context of Swindon and highlights the richness of the town, its history, and perhaps most importantly, the sincerity and warmth of its people.
Why not make your own discovery of the Western Flyer, through the refurbished route, urban and rural landscapes, past and present? The Western Flyer App is there to help you unearth some hidden layers to be enjoyed on the route or at home. Available on App Store and Google Play.
I cycled along the cycle track fifty years ago and can remember when the railway workers used to come out of the factories...glad to think that interest has been taken now with historical details involved.