On the 4th May 2014 a giant 95m (300ft) water slide was installed on Park Street in Bristol as part of Make Sunday Special and the Bristol Art Weekender. Running for one day only, the project by Bristol based artist Luke Jerram was a playful spectacle that reimagined the use of Park street and created one of the most memorable spectacles in the city’s recent history.
“This massive urban slide transforms the street and asked people to take a fresh look at the potential of their city and the possibilities for transformation. Imagine if there were permanent slides right across cities?”Luke Jerram
Some 96,573 people signed up for their chance to get a ‘ticket to slide’, through a ballot with only 360 tickets issued to a few lucky people on the day. Security clocked in 65,000 people who came to Park street to watch this one day event. Enabling people to navigate the streets of their city in a new way, the slide was a simple architectural intervention and a playful response to the urban landscape. Like many of Jerram’s projects the installation required public participation to be activated. The person on the slide becomes the performer, while spectators either side watch on. The end result was a set of collective memories and stories that people will pass on for years to come.
“This massive urban slide transforms the street and asked people to take a fresh look at the potential of their city and the possibilities for transformation. Imagine if there were permanent slides right across cities?” said Luke
With an incline of 6.5 degrees, participants slid at an average of 18km/hr = 11.2mph. The slide was used by children and adults ranging in age from 5 to 73 years old.
Urban Slide Instruction Manual
To enable organisations around the world to create their own ‘urban slide’, an 80 page pack of instructions has been created. The pack contains diagrams, risk assessments, a method statement, budget template, waiver form and everything you need to do for a slides planning and delivery. In return for the information, you will pay a small admin fee and make a donation to the charity Frank Water. Contact us here via email about receiving this DIY manual.
Bristol based charity FRANK Water were at the Park and Slide event, complete with blue wigs and collection buckets and raised a huge £1500 on the day. The DIY pack, which has proved vital for helping other organisations get their slide projects off the ground, has already raised a further £1500 for the charity.
Katie Alcott, FRANK Water’s Founder & CEO said “It’s incredibly exciting to be part of something as innovative as the Park & Slide that really did capture the imagination of the whole city and indeed the world! With support from Luke, FRANK Water has raised vital funds that’ll help us reach our aim for this year – to provide access to safe water for further 70,000 people across 80 communities, bringing our total number of people reached to more than 300,000.”
As described in the press, Luke turned down funding from major corporate sponsors, in favour of gathering local support for this project. ‘Park and Slide’ was not an opportunity to advertise fizzy drinks, swimming trunks or holidays to anyone.
Inspired by Park and Slide
As news of the Park and Slide spread around the globe, other cities were inspired to install their own urban slides. Our DIY pack has proved vital for many of these organisations in helping to get their project off the ground. See links for urban slides in San Francisco, Perth, Brechin, Sunderland, Camarthen, Lincoln, Bray, Derby, Chard, Derry, Wigan, Dungannon, Bristol USA, Salt Lake City, Melbourne, Port Hope-Canada, Norwich.
As a consequence of the success of Park and Slide, several commercial companies have sprung up, installing slides in cities across the globe. Its become a multimillion dollar business!
Luke Jerram’s multidisciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations, live arts projects and gifts. Living in Bristol but working internationally since his career began in 1997, Jerram has created a number of extraordinary art projects which have excited and inspired people around the globe. He is currently Visiting Senior Research Fellow at CFPR, University of West of England.
Jerram is known worldwide for his large scale public engagement artworks. His celebrated street pianos installation ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ has been presented in over 55 cities so far, reaching an audience to date of over 10 million people around the world. Launched by the French Minister of Culture in Paris and Mayor Bloomberg in NYC, the installation has received press coverage in almost every newspaper and television station around the globe.
In 2000 Jerram taught in war torn Mostar, Bosnia and he continues to teach and lecture both in the UK and abroad. His most notable lectures include those at The Banff Centre, ROM – Royal Ontario Museum, ICA – Institute of Contemporary Art, Corning Museum, The Wellcome Collection, Royal College of Art, The Ruskin School of Art, University of Washington, and Nagoya University.
Funding to help pay for additional security on site, came from Business West. Cowbells were provided by Hobgoblin Music Shop. Funding from EveryoneActive enabled a durable slide section to been made. Insurance was provided by Park Insurance. SpiritPR managed the press and media with great finess. Thank you Entuplet for managing the ballot and ticketing. Thanks of course go to Bristol Event Volunteers, Bristol City Council, Richmond Event Management and AP security.