8 Miles

All Aboard – Announcing new creative drama and arts project on Island Line

Press release July 2021

8 Miles


Independent Arts, the Island’s art for wellbeing charity has an exciting new project to announce. 8 Miles is a community engagement project that celebrates the re-opening of the Island Line and Southwest Railway’s commitment to the station communities that they serve.

The project will kick off this month with a programme that will reflect the social history of the railway and the relevance and importance that the railway and rail travel will play in supporting sustainable transport and reducing the Island’s carbon footprint.

Two bold public art events will take place later in the year. Look out for the first of these - a living history event where visitors from the past will literally step onto the trains and may even be seated beside you!

8 Miles Project Manager Hannah Griffiths explained how it’s going to work:

“We’re inviting anyone with an interesting tale about the Island line or who’s interested in creating characters to join some open workshops running weekly in Ryde and Sandown. We’re expecting these workshops to be filled with some great conversations and anecdotes, a little light research and plenty of creative invention! The idea being that a set of characters will subsequently emerge. We also plan to put a call out to all aspiring actors, amateur performers and general Island flamboyants to bring these characters to life in a piece of living history to be staged on the Island Line. We hope the public and passengers will join in and ad lib with the characters and bring the drama to life!”

Not content with filling the trains with drama, Independent Arts have a second public art event in the pipeline too. For this project they have teamed up with Island photographer Julian Winslow and Artecology to stage an ambitious event which will map the typography of the 8 miles of track. Julian has been commissioned to create a drawing machine which will use the locomotive motion of the train to create a mapped image of the journey travelled.

Programme Manager Kerry Tindall explained:

“We wanted to explore the connection between the trains, the built environment, the communities they serve, and the incredible natural corridor the trains pass through most of which forms part of the Island’s unique biosphere. We have some great field workshops planned for the end of July (Friday 30th and Saturday 31st) with Artecology that are free for families to sign up for and anyone that comes along will be invited to join us on board to map their own journeys.”

As part of this project Julian will also create a visual photographic interpretation and all the work produced will form part of a closing exhibition.

If you’d like to take part in either or both events and workshops, please call Independent Arts 01983 822437 or email [email protected] to reserve your place. Places are limited and workshops will be running from the end of July.

Save My Seat Island Line workshops

Trace The Track ecology workshop