In October 2017 The Cultural Sisters led the production of THE LAST BUS - an exciting Arts Council England funded project with curator Siobhan McAleer and the ArtCity consortium.
On 13 to 15 October 2017 ArtCity hosted THE LAST BUS on the site of the old Hanley Bus Station and surrounding empty premises. Still awaiting demolition, this ‘eyesore’ is a home to pigeons and graffiti slurs, a disintegrating symbol of the optimism of the 1970s in Stoke-on-Trent. In the light of our City’s bid to become City of Culture 2021, ArtCity commissioned four new art pieces which used the site of the Bus Station to ask where we have come from, where we are going, and who we are.
Artist collaboration Rebecca Winwood and Ruth Bridges invited participants to join them for the Requiem to a Bus Station.
Laura Potter-Dunn, illustrator and textile artist, created a large-scale tapestry depicting her memories from the old bus station as she grew up in Stoke. The tapestry featured a couple whose engagement she witnessed in 2007.
Artist, poet and producer Martin Gooding collected mould and debris from the old bus station site. His piece Anchors looked at the eco-systems of abandoned spaces and the meaning of abandoned objects – a forgotten suitcase, a blown-out bus tyre, a buckled shopping trolley.
Stoke-based independent film production company Chinwag Films created a brand new short film The Angel of Goldenhill telling the story of how a fleeting encounter between two strangers at a bus stop changes each of their days.
‘Good riddance’ and ‘Can’t be gone soon enough.’ These are the sentiments that Rebecca Winwood and Ruth Bridges most commonly found when researching their piece Requiem, amongst stories of Chicos and the All Night Café. They also uncovered touching personal stories. Arriving and departing on buses are moments when we are often alone, a routine backdrop to your day. People talk about the changing architecture of the city, the changes in employment possibilities, in expectations for public transport, and, perhaps most interestingly, the way that the bus station makes them feel about Stoke. These personal, private stories were collected and left in the old Bus Station for its demolition.