WetLab \\ Pennington Flash, Leigh

This floating laboratory created by public works and Assembly uses the canal network as site as well as subject. A space where creative minds including artists, architects, scientists, engineers, technologists and cooks explore the biological and social ecology of the waterways, working with communities to envisage potential future uses for the canal. public works and Assembly lead workshops on site at each location, with opportunities to observe demonstrations and take part in experimental activities as part of the WetLab Canal Clinic. Each session will make use of the hidden natural resources in and around the canal, through morning tea ceremonies and afternoon feasts, as well as exploring sustainable ways of living on the water.

6th – 8th August 2021 – Pennington Flash, Leigh

At its final stop on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, WetLab will be moored to the North of Pennington Flash in Leigh, as part of Wigan Arts Festival. The Flash is a natural reserve and lake created at the turn of the 20th century by coal mining subsidence from the Bickershaw Colliery. Over 230 bird species have been recorded on site, along with a wide variety of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. The story of this site is fascinating – with an industrial past that has become a beautiful location for wildlife – and will inform the final WetLab theme of “Life Cycles”.

Food chains and processes of digestion and degradation, new life to be formed out of the old: destruction, decay, nourishment and regeneration can all be seen as positive and necessary processes depending on the context. WetLab will explore these themes alongside artists and programmes currently live at The Turnpike. 

Demonstrations and experimental activities in Leigh will include: a daily tea ceremony inviting participants to taste foraged infusions whilst discussing the herbal benefits of weeds, local folklore and histories and the colonial import/export tea trade; a drop in opportunity to press and dry a biomass briquette; a family-friendly wild soda making workshop, with the chance to take home your own soda.

Getting There

WetLab will be moored at:
Canal Side near Foot Bridge No. 9
Leeds and Liverpool Canal (Leigh Branch)
Pennington Flash Country Park

Pennington Flash Local Nature Reserve is sign-posted from the A580 East Lancs Road. Follow the signs and turn onto the A579 Atherleigh Way then left onto the A572 St Helens Road. The main entrance is situated on St Helens Road opposite Leigh Fire Station. For sat nav users, the postcode is WN7 3PA.

The closest train station is Atherton, from where you will need to catch the 582 bus to Leigh Bus Station, then the number 10 bus to Jean Avenue, followed by a 10 minute walk to The Flash.

The main car park is pay and display with parking for more than 200 cars, open 6am – 8pm. The parking charge is currently £1.50 all day, payable via pay and display machines by card only (contactless). Blue badge holders are exempt from the charges if parked in designated spaces and displaying your valid blue badge.

WetLab is a ten minute walk from the main car park. Follow the main path in the park away from the entrance and towards the canal until you reach the canal verge. There are steps up to the towpath where you will reach the foot bridge. From here its a few minutes walk to WetLab and it will be visible from the bridge.

The visitor centre has toilets and an information point.

WetLab by public works + Assembly is commissioned by Abandon Normal Devices and Super Slow Way. Produced by Abandon Normal Devices for AND Festival 2021. Delivered in partnership with Canal & River Trust and Wigan Council. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Event info:

  • Fri 6th — Sun 8th Aug 2021
    @Fri 10am - 4pm, Sat 10am - 6:30pm, Sun 10am - 12pm
  • Free, no booking required

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