Eston Arts Centre

The organisation: Eston Arts Centre is a contemporary arts space on the busy high street in Eston. The Arts Centre puts on regular programmes of art, events and workshops for local people to get involved with. It has been running for four years and is led by a team of directors with backgrounds in art, art therapy, special educational needs, event and festival planning, creative development and project management. It has successfully secured funds and collaborates with partners such as, the lottery, Arts Council, Middlesbrough Football Club, Redcar and Cleveland Council, and others, to run activities and events for local people and the wider Tees Valley. An advisory board made of local residents helps to steer and co-develop the programmes delivered.

The initiative: Sofia's fund will help Eston Arts Centre realise the project Let's Pedal to provide an alternative way for local people who face physical and emotional health barriers to get involved with the National Cycling Championships as the event goes through Redcar and Cleveland in June 2023.

An alternative viewing platform will be set up in the arts space for people from the Eston area unable to visit and view the race in person. A local artist will be commissioned to create a 55-minute film mirroring the length of the planned race route. Local existing and overgrown walking/cycling routes around Eston and the Eston Hills will be filmed and collated and, by incorporating a stationary exercise bike, an immersive experience for viewers will be created. 

The project focusses on an idea planted by GB Cyclist Charlie Tanfield of Great Ayton, Redcar and Cleveland who said he used to run up the Eston Hills as a child and in a newspaper article stated: "I’m so excited racing on home roads in Redcar and Cleveland. My first memories of riding on these roads were from when I was a young lad on the local club run, climbing up the local hills." Paralleling his childhood and sense of belonging to a place, and with inspiration from Kate Bush's song, Running up that Hill there will be links between imagery of Stranger Things, where the song recently appeared, alongside sounds captured from the footage on the Eston Hills.

Let's Pedal aims to build a connection between local people in their community through art, exercise, intergenerational themes and the celebration of the National Championships.

People can choose how long they want to spend in the installation, which is expected to attract up to 250 visitors over the race weekend. The project will be made available digitally for people to access from their own homes via QR codes and online videos, and 50 race-themed art packs will be handed-out for people to take away and apply their creativity after the event.

May 2023