Landlines & Watermarks was an ambitious cultural programme telling the story of a place and a people shaped by water. Presented by 509 Arts in partnership with the people of the Calder Valley, it used local stories to present tales of change in music and song, parade and performance, and through community celebration.

It was commissioned by the Community Foundation for Calderdale and Calderdale Council in response to the devastating floods of Boxing Day 2015 that swept through the Calder Valley with extensive long-term impact for communities, businesses and individuals.

Landlines & Watermarks comprised 3 strands:

  • Water Works: six creative commissions by local artists/arts organisations, which took place in the six flood-affected towns, each with community participation at its heart.
  • The People’s Fair: a two-day marketplace and celebration of creativity and community in the valley at the newly restored Piece Hall in Halifax that featured local businesses, voluntary groups, street theatre and performance, creative presentations and interactive workshops
  • Calderland, the people’s opera: an epic music production, again at the Piece Hall, that featured a community cast of over 200 and told the story of the valley and its relationship with water in song, dance, music and digital image.

Landlines & Watermarks reached a total live audience of 17,041 across 34 public events and performances.

Media coverage reached 9m+ people and the BBC made a documentary about Calderland, screened on regional television. 1,197 participants took place in 108 workshops. 71 local businesses engaged in the project and 78 artists were employed.