What connects Northern Soul, the artist Augustus Pugin, the most reproduced work of art in the history of the world, a vampire, a forgotten canal, the whale that swallowed Jonah, and a million lost golf balls?
Artist Dan Thompson has been finding out in a year long residence in and around London Road, Stoke.
His unique book It’s All About The Road will be launched at the London Road Festival on June 13 and 14.
Commissioned by the Appetite arts programme, Dan Thompson immersed himself in the local community, meeting and interviewing dozens of local people and renting a home overlooking London Road.
He describes his book as a “slightly fictional telling” of the life of London Road from Roman times to the modern day and beyond.
“It has been an incredible year in an incredible place,” said Dan. “Stoke is full of stories, full of history and full of culture and I don’t think it is proud enough about what a special place it is.”
Dan says he now plans to become an ambassador for Stoke; speaking up for the city in a one man show based on It’s All About The Road.
He will host two talks and two walks about his experiences on the Saturday and Sunday of the London Road Festivals and says these will become the basis of the show that he will take around the UK.
Dan added: “I have lived in Stoke for around a quarter of the past year – It is a rare privilege for an artist to be given that opportunity.
“The big story to come out of this for me is the need to tell people that we still make things in this country.
“We are often told that manufacturing is dead but it isn’t. Stoke is still a busy industrial city and millions of pieces of ware are made here. It is an amazing industrial process and something that we need to be far more proud of.
The It’s All About the Road walks will set off from outside Rubber Soul records in Stoke town centre at 12 noon on both days of the London Road Festival.
Dan will host talks at the festival on both days at 3pm. The book will be officially launched at these sessions and copies will be available.
The book launch is just one of many events at the festival. Activities include music and dance, live bands, a children’s art tent, a craft and vintage makers’ space, drumming workshops and children’s sports and games.
For full details, please go online to http://www.londonroadfestival.org/full-festival-programme/.
The London Road Festival is brought to life by people from: Second Look Stoke www.secondlookstoke.co.uk; Letting in the Light www.lettinginthelight.org.uk; The Cultural Sisters www.theculturalsisters.org.uk; Access Media and Arts www.accessradio.biz.
For media enquiries contact Nigel Howle by telephone on 0776 2043436, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors:
Appetite is the Creative People and Places programme taking place in Stoke-on-Trent from 2013 to 2016. Appetite aims to get more people in Stoke-on-Trent to experience and be inspired by the arts. This investment in the arts and cultural sector of the area aims to mobilise and strengthen the skills, knowledge and infrastructure that already exists within the area and provide unprecedented opportunities for more people to see, make and influence more art in the city.
The Appetite programme is funded by Arts Council England and is led by the New Vic Theatre in partnership with B Arts, Brighter Futures, Partners in Creative Learning and Staffordshire University. It is supported by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Visit the Appetite website at www.appetitestoke.co.uk
Dan is the founder and director of Revolutionary Arts and author of Pop Up Business For Dummies. In 2012, he was included in the Time Out and Hospital Club’s Culture 100, a list of the most inspiring and influential people in the UK’s creative industries.
Dan has used empty shops for 13 years, and he is now a recognised expert on the reuse of empty shops, and on how to create a pop up shop, and runs the Empty Shops Network.
He also started #riotcleanup, after the August 2011 riots in London. That project inspired the Nesta-funded #wewillgather, which uses social media for social good.
“Dan Thompson showed the best of Britain by helping organise the clean-up operation after last summer’s riots.” David Cameron.