3. Ad Astra Per Aspera
(Through hardship to the stars)

Verity Quinn and Bethan Maddocks (UK) | Soundscape by Richard Dawson

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Newcastle-based artists Verity Quinn and Bethan Maddocks have created six luminous artworks that will hang high above the streets. This installation has been inspired by Durham's mining history and especially by the mining banners held aloft during the Durham Miners' Gala, an annual event in which many thousands of people converge on the city centre in tribute to their industrial past. 

Using fibre-optic threads to trace the designs, the banners have an ethereal quality and were created following workshops with the Ferryhill Town Band and Durham Mining Communities Banner Groups Association.  These workshops explored the memories and identity of the local area and its people, and focussed on the groups' visions and hopes for the future of County Durham. The designs take the imagery and symbolism of the traditional mining banners and reinterpret them to hold the messages for the future which were born out of these workshops. 

Richard Dawson's soundscape was created from recordings made at the 2011 Miners' Gala and at the Ferryhill Town Band's weekly rehearsals.  As you meander through the streets, the sounds of the Gala brass bands and the voices of the local people create a celebratory atmosphere to accompany you.

About the artists

Verity Quinn trained in theatre design. She currently works across design, devising and making on both site specific and touring theatre productions and visual art installations.  She often works with puppetry and creates multisensory, immersive experiences for audiences.  She is also an experienced facilitator, working with schools, youth theatres and community groups in theatre and visual arts workshops.  She has worked with Live Theatre, Northern Stage, The Sage Gateshead, WildWorks, NGI, Magnetic Events and Culture10, Gateshead and North Tyneside Council and Creative Partnerships. She is joint artistic director of Left Luggage Theatre. 

For more information and images see www.verityquinn.co.uk  

Bethan Maddocks is a Visual Artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne, whose work has been exhibited in the North East of England and in Scotland.  She creates site-specific, kinetic installations. Her work explores the seen and the hidden through playful, tactile and ephemeral installations that aim to involve the audience with the work. Drawing, sewing and structure-making underpin her practice and she is undertaking a woodwork apprenticeship with acclaimed furniture maker Tim Kendall. Bethan is currently Artist in Residence in Coatham Marsh as part of Tees Valley Arts' Green TV Project.  She delivers workshops, and works regularly with the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Bethan has also worked with Creative Partnerships, WildWorks, NGI, EAT festival and Sedgefield Borough Council.

For more information and images see www.bethanmaddocks.com 

With thanks to Ferryhill town band, Durham Mining Museum, Durham Banner Group, Durham NUM and all those present at Durham Miners' Gala 2011


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