Mangotsfield, South Gloucestershire
This project proposal has been developed in collaboration with architect Rob Elkins to activate the disused Mangotsfield railway station platform on the Bristol to Bath Cycle Path. If the funding bid is successful, Mangotsfield Pavilion will be a year-long programme of site-specific outdoor artist commissions delivered alongside a new temporary pavilion structure and outdoor table designed and built from reclaimed materials by Elkins Architects for the site of the old station ticket office.
The new pavilion and artist commissions programme will transform the area, creating an atmospheric resting place and temporary arts venue for the local community to explore for free. Visitors to the pavilion will be encouraged to travel sustainably by bike or on foot, and the programme has been designed to be delivered even in the event of another lockdown or ongoing social distancing.
The programme of seasonally-based artist commissions will connect with the new outdoor table, former station garden and temporary pavilion. An artist residency will explore the biodiversity of the former station garden; a mural will be designed for the pavilion building and a writer will be commissioned to create a set of short texts encouraging exploration of the site and its trees. We will also commission four emerging local artists to create new work for display in and around the pavilion and table over the course of the year, with a particular aim to offer these opportunities to those who have been traditionally under-represented.
The project aims to surprise, entertain, excite and challenge local residents, reinvigorating what may be a familiar but unexplored place and its history through the new art commissions and structures.
The project has a commitment of match funding from Emersons Green Town Council and in kind support from Sustrans. The pavilion has also had positive feedback from South Gloucestershire Council.
Sustrans’ Director for England South James Cleeton says in his letter of support dated 12th February 2021:
‘The [Pavilion] art programme will really help to activate the pavilion structure and the disused station platform, while providing a positive opportunity for new and regular path users to enjoy art in a different context. In the past Sustrans has had a national art commissioning programme, Art and the Travelling Landscape and we recognise the value of creative projects in this particular context. Placemaking is at the heart of our work and the proposal is a great opportunity to renew public interest and enhance this key location. The whole project remains feasible for people to engage with during current Covid constraints while many people continue to use the bike path for their regular daily exercise.’
Emerson’s Green Town Council say in their letter of support dated 14th January 2021:
‘The Town Council would be delighted to see this exciting project happen in our local area and feel there is great potential for this project to provide a positive and welcome relief and activity for Emerson’s Green residents at this challenging time. The timing is particularly welcome as residents are trying to exercise outdoors given the current pandemic. It will provide an entertaining diversion to the cycle path, allowing users to benefit from local art whilst also encouraging exercise. Opportunities for enjoying the arts, such as visiting galleries, has been significantly reduced during the pandemic, so an outdoor installation such as this is particularly welcome. We are really looking forward to some exciting and innovative artist commissions.’