Sculpture Around You

23 Jul 2019

In 2018, Art UK received funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for its Sculpture Project, the largest ever sculpture documentation project undertaken in the UK to date. By the end of 2020, Art UK is digitising up to 150,000 public sculptures located inside galleries, museums and public buildings and outdoors in parks, streets and squares, across the length and breadth of the UK. Many are now available online, free of charge, to people in the UK and all over the globe via By the project’s conclusion, the UK will become the first country in the world to create a free-to-access online photographic showcase of its publicly owned sculpture, for everyone’s enjoyment, learning and research.

The first photographic records began appearing on Art UK in early 2019, with volunteer photography teams up and down the country documenting public sculpture.  The finest sculpture in CCT’s collection will be included, too, with many CCT volunteers already arranging special access for photographers.

Chloe Meredith, Project Manager, Learning and Participation at CCT says ‘Our Learning and Participation Team work hard to engage people of all ages with the fascinating spaces and stories that historic churches offer.  That’s why we are delighted to be part of an exciting project lead by visionary arts organisation, Art UK.’

Another aspect of the sculpture project is Sculpture Around You, a programme of free activities across the UK connecting people with sculpture in their local area.  CCT has received £6,000 to deliver a series of events as part of this programme.  For the charity’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, Heritage Learning Officers will be running three exciting events at CCT churches this summer.

Each family event has activities for people of all ages, from wood carvings and workshops at the re-enactment of the Battle of Shrewsbury, to leather-working and medieval tile making inspired by some of England’s finest Romanesque carvings.  All events are free – donations always welcome – and we would especially welcome CCT members and their families. 

Church of St Mary Magdalene, Battlefield, Shropshire on 27th and 28th July.  Battlefield will be taken over by historical reenactors and those looking for a fun family day out, to commemorate and celebrate the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. Visitors to the church will be entering a medieval world with musician-minstrels, wood carving demonstrations and soap-carving.  Guests will also be able to explore the sculpture found around and inside the church, including the medieval oak carved pieta and stone grotesques and gargoyles peering down from the battlements.

St Peter’s Church, Northampton, 8th August. Come and discover a wide range of beautifully-carved grotesques and monsters at St Peter’s, Northampton. Using self-led exploration of this Norman church, visitors will be able to use our ‘spotters guide’ and binoculars to search for hidden creatures in the stonework. Then, people will be invited to use the stone faces as inspiration to make paper plate masks or make a medieval tile from air-drying clay.

Church of St Lawrence, Evesham, 21st September. As part of the European-wide Heritage Open Days weekends in September, we welcome visitors to come and explore the sculpture in Evesham and create something new inspired by the old, or simply experience the beautiful building within the context of two churches and a tower which once were part of Evesham Abbey.