Running Man - First prize ACoRP award best Community Artwork, beating all other friends of stations groups nationally.

Commissioned by the Friends of Heaton Chapel Station

The Running Man is an 18m x 1.1m artwork on the Manchester bound platform at Heaton Chapel Station. The piece was created as a tribute to the Olympic Games 2012. The figure is a tongue in cheek businessman who gets lost in the Heatons and is running late for his train.

The artwork is broken down into 16 panels; each panel holds a story about the history of the area, discovered by the Running Man as he dashes through. New and historical photographs play a huge role in the piece acting, as both a backdrop for the figure and a change of jacket panel by panel.

The contrast of the image quality, between the photographs that are over a 100 years old, some that are closer to 20 years old and recent images taken on smart phones and digital cameras, creates a greater depth to the artwork. On close inspection the older images are pixelated, giving them a hazy romantic quality, but when viewed from a distance they appear sharp and clear. There is also a marked difference in the quality of images captured 20 years ago in comparison to the recent ones. The Running Man artwork highlights the passage of time and the advancement of technology and celebrates the foresight of individuals who take the time to capture the present day for future.

Images gathered in workshops, in local schools and with children at a Sustainable Living group meeting, beautifully illustrate some of the areas diverse character.

The artwork was sponsored by local businesses, with contributions from Northern Rail and Stockport Council. This was a fantastic project where a community came together to make a difference. The whole process was a team effort, from design and content through to the acquisition of the funding, the majority of which come from within the local area.

The Friends group was formed in August 2011, to improve the station for its users and now has close to 100 members; I am one of the founder members. The inclusion of artworks was a very important part of what we wanted to achieve at the station, we have also provided a travellers library and cleared and replanted several neglected flowerbeds. 

The result is a triumph of intention. The conceptualisation of the, “Running Man”, in the year of the Olympics is to be applauded whilst the creative work of the schoolchildren & the inspiration of the artist has produced a visual feast. It is true the more you study the installation the more you see & appreciate. It celebrates the spirit, character & history of the Heaton’s & in final not only does it represent a work of art but is truly a work of heart.

Clive Tattersall

(Chairman 4 Heaton’s Traders Association)