High on the moors above the Rossendale Valley, dominating a landscape studded with the shapes of the old cotton mills, stands the Halo, a Panopticon landmark sculpture designed to celebrate the regeneration of the moorland landscape. It is a large structure, reminiscent of a spaceship landed on the wild beauty of Top’o’Slate.
WildWorks was invited to create a processional event to take the people of Haslingden up to the Halo for the lighting up ceremony. We set up workshop at the local Bowling Pavillion and shared premises with the bowlers; a proud group with a wealth of local knowledge which they shared with us over innumerable cups of tea.
We made forays into knitting groups, keep fit classes, Asian girls’ youth clubs, riding stables, local fairs, folk clubs, schools, parent and baby mornings…
We gathered stories, memories, family photographs and made portable shrines to the memory of the place. We made hundreds of flags bearing the handprints of the children of Haslingden. We asked people to draw their homes and stitched this village of the imagination onto magnificent winged coats to be worn by horses. We invited the local male choir, an Asian drumming band, a singer, and a child poet to join the procession and lighting ceremony.
The people of Haslingden gathered in their hundreds for this event. They carried shrines and flags, following the spectacular horses to the beat of the drums, up the steep hill to greet this futuristic visitation, the Halo, with pride. Many had never been to the top of the moor before, they looked down on their houses, deep in the valley below, and out to the huge landscape beyond for the first time.
Journey to the Halo’ was a WildWorks community event commissioned by Mid-Pennine Arts for the lighting up ceremony of the ‘Halo’ Panopticon Sculpture. It took place in Haslingden Rossendale Valley, Lancashire in September 2007.