During 2019 – 2020 we are producing an ambitious creative programme designed to shine a light on the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.


Three artists have been selected to create artistic experiences in amongst the valley’s unique heritage settings through temporary commissions. Another key strand of the programme is a series of events called ‘Pop Up Art In Unusual Spaces’ supporting artists from a range of disciplines to connect with unusual heritage venues. (Find out more)


Artist Jo Fairfax will be creating a contemporary portrait of Richard Arkwright, referencing his various achievements and characteristics. Inspired by Arkwright’s Water Frame, Jo will install a sculptural drawing machine that harnesses the power of people and water. This interactive, family friendly artwork will be installed at Cromford Mill during summer 2019. Jo says “I am so excited about this project because I feel totally inspired by Richard Arkwright and what he achieved. This project celebrates Arkwright’s Water Frame, his attitude to welfare, his entrepreneurial attributes and his use of water as an energy source. By celebrating these different qualities of Richard Arkwright we are creating a contemporary psychological portrait in an interactive sculptural form. It is a total privilege to celebrate this great man and his revolutionary ideas.”

In Autumn 2019 Japanese textile artist Seiko Kinoshita will create a contemporary textile installation in the basement of Strutt’s North Mill, Belper that will incorporate hundreds of bobbins and a bespoke soundscape playing industrial sounds collected from local and international mills. Seiko will also explore surrounding historical connections including the workers’ housing, local school and church through a creative programme resulting in a community lantern event.

Constella OperaBallet will fuse drama, music, dance and design to tell the story of Darley Abbey and the wider Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site creating an immersive family friendly experience in Summer 2020. Performances will take place around Darley Abbey Mill, St. Matthews Church and the Terrace Area in Darley Park.

More details coming soon!

Image credit: Adrian Lambert

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