Friday, April 8, 2022

Knottingley: Fire & Water - David Appleyard selected as artist

We're excited to announce that we have appointed Yorkshire-based contemporary artist David Appleyard to create a public artwork for the town of Knottingley.

David Appleyard with an artwork from one of his previous projects

After a competitive process, David was chosen to create an artwork for the Knottingley: Fire & Water project. The project is funded by Arts Council England and is designed to celebrate the industrial heritage of Knottingley.

David will work closely with local residents in Knottingley to create an artwork that explores, shares and celebrates the glassmaking and shipbuilding industries in the town. The artwork will be developed over the next seven months and installed in November 2022, during Wakefield Council’s Light Up festival.

David will use the museum's collections, along with the stories and memories of local people, as the inspiration for his artwork. The final pieces will explore the theme of 'vessels', bringing together the glassmaking and shipbuilding industries. 

The launch of the "Borrowdale H" ship from Harker's shipyard in Knottingley

David Appleyard is an artist based in Sheffield, who works collaboratively with communities and local people to create artworks inspired by history and heritage. Storytelling using objects and installations is key to David’s work and he uses a variety of materials to create his artworks, which include sculpture, light and sound. 

Mark Lynam, Corporate Director Regeneration and Economic Growth for Wakefield Council, said “We are delighted to have appointed David to deliver this exciting new artwork for Knottingley. We chose David because of his track record of working closely with communities to create inspiring artworks, and we’re excited to work with David and Knottingley residents to celebrate the history and heritage of the town”.

David Appleyard said "I'm delighted to have been given such an exciting opportunity to develop creative work with people in Knottingley. The town has a fascinating heritage as a manufacturer of vessels of all shapes and sizes, from ships to glassware. I hope to use this commission as an opportunity to continue this tradition while making connections with local communities".

Final details of the artwork, including its location, are yet to be decided. To find out how to get involved in the project and help to shape the final artwork, contact Leah Mellors, Collections & Exhibitions Manager, on

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