Black Country Voyages

Drop in on this innovative arts project travelling along the Midlands’ canals


Black Country Voyages is an exciting project, led by contemporary art venue Ikon, bringing young people and professional artists together on the canals.

The project, taking place until 2017, is recruiting young people aged 16-21 for the Ikon Youth Programme to make artwork alongside professional artists, host events and develop their own projects all on board a canal boat touring the Black Country.

Last year, artist Jacques Nimki transformed the boat into The Black Apotheca – a floating laboratory of herbal concoctions derived from local plants, fermenting slowly over time, housed in glass, reflecting light and colour. It showcased drawings, recipes and objects, all relating to the ancient tradition of apothecaries, plus a collection of lozenges, cordials, country wines, sorbets and teas for visitors to sample.

This year, Mahtab Hussain is the lead artist for Black Country Voyages. He will be converting the boat into The Auspicious Journey – a story of mass displacement in Pakistan in the 1960s, which led to the establishment of new communities in the Black Country. Working with clay and photography, Hussain will create works about these communities, and will host a series of creative workshops on the canal this summer.

Black Country Voyages’ next event will be at the Birmingham Canal Navigation Society Summer Boat Gathering and Open Weekend, 14-15 May 2016; 12-4pm. The event is free and visitors can participate in Mahtab Hussain’s creative workshops. No need to book, just drop in.

Location: Titford Pumphouse, Engine Street, off Tat Bank Road, Oldbury B69 4NL.

Find out more about the arts project and an event near you, or call Ikon on 0121 248 0708.