Anchorhold is an ingenious wooden structure, designed by the architectural practice Sutherland Hussey, and built from 25 sheets of ply, precisely machine-cut in such a way so that all pieces interlock with minimal wastage. The name of the building refers to a tenth century hermitage in which anchorites would be walled up in order to think on issues that impacted on society.

This twenty-first-century Anchorhold is a bespoke meeting room for two people, providing an intimate venue for a programme of one-to-one sessions that enable access to a range of cultural figures from the Lake District. The project is a collaboration between the architects, Grizedale Arts, Lakeland Arts and the artist Marcus Coates and has been funded with the generous support of the Visit England and Arts Council England Cultural Destinations Project - Lakes Culture.

The programme of access to local figures ranges from directors of cultural institutions and governance organisations, including farmers, environmentalists, landowners and rock climbers, to those working at the frontline of the tourism industry, such as waitresses, Bed and Breakfast owners, shop keepers, campaigners, writers and others – in other words, anyone and everyone with an interest in the local area and community. The artist Marcus Coates, part of whose practice involves the use of shamanism and rituals to help resolve social issues, will also lead sessions.

The project offers a direct relationship to the people, culture and landscape of the Lake District primarily through interview. However, it also responds and reflects on several significant art projects that have national and international significance and it sits alongside and connects to an exhibition about landscape. It also offers connections to several different arts venues in the area: Grizedale Forest, Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Brantwood, Abbot Hall, the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry and the Coniston Institute and suggests connections with hermitages of the area. A version of this work was initially commissioned by Hai-art in Finland in 2013 – further information, including images and a film, can be found on their website:

Anchorhold has been installed as part of The Nuisance of Landscape: Grizedale – The Sequel showing at Abbot Hall from 10 October – 20 December, along with associated exhibitions at other sites across the South Lakes: Laure Prouvost, ‘Wantee’ at the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry, After Ford 151 – Blackwell’s Dark Place at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, and It’s All About the Landscape at the Coniston Institute (10 October – 1 December).

Lakes Culture is an exciting new project which aims to establish the Lake District as the UK’s leading rural cultural destination. As one of 10 Arts Council England Cultural Destinations, it will bring together the area’s tourism and cultural sectors to better promote the wealth of cultural activities on offer to local, domestic and international visitors. The project will also provide sponsorship money for innovative arts projects, support training and development opportunities in the tourism and cultural industries, as well as funding national advertising campaigns and social media activity, until March 2017. Organisations involved in the project include Kendal Brewery Arts Centre (Lead Organisation), Lakeland Arts, Kendal Arts International, Wordsworth Trust, Theatre by the Lake, Forestry Commission - Grizedale, Cumbria Tourism, National Trust, Lake District National Park and South Lakeland District Council.

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