Technology helps us enhance storytelling every day, and Zubr Curio’s latest project Hidden Station seeks to do just that. Bringing local stories to life, the exhibition has been co-created by Zubr Curio and artists Jayde Perkin and David McMillan for Bridgwater Railway Station. 

Designed to provide a platform to showcase the historical and cultural significance of Bridgwater Railway Station, whilst creatively engaging the community, train travellers can interact with the art for 9 months. 

“This ambitious exhibition creatively shares stories from the community to other local residents and passengers, creating a deeper connection to the station and enhancing the value it has for everyone passing through.”

The immersive exhibition will be available for Bridgwater’s 346,000 annual passengers to enjoy until March 2024. So get your tickets and see the artwork come to life for yourself.

Full steam ahead 

The project was incepted to instill a sense of belonging and ownership over the station among Bridgwater residents. Collaboration was a key step to fulfil this objective, so David and Jayde met with local people and regular train travellers to collate a series of anecdotes celebrating people’s connection to the station.

Using these stories, David and Jayde created their illustrations to pass on to Zubr’s team, who transformed them into augmented reality (AR) filters. Visitors can now bring this local history to life using their mobiles. 

Zubr’s AR interventions were chosen above other artistic suggestions because of the novel combination of bespoke illustrations depicting local history, immersive content to engage passersby, and the user-friendly, easily accessible nature of social media filters which don’t require you to download a separate app.

Train travelling through time

Commissioned by Seed Sedgemoor, Severnside Community Rail Partnership, and the station operator Great Western Railways, this innovative project encompasses how the convergence of technology and art can produce something truly spectacular. 

“This is our first venture using Augmented Reality and we are so impressed with the playful way it allows people to engage with Bridgwater station,” explains Faye Keane, Severnside Community Rail Partnership’s Community Development Officer. 

“This ambitious exhibition creatively shares stories from the community to other local residents and passengers, creating a deeper connection to the station and enhancing the value it has for everyone passing through.”

The station itself was already rich with history, being a Grade-II listed building designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. As part of a £1.2m plan to improve the station, passengers indicated an interest in the idea of AR. This emerged from a desire for entertainment whilst waiting for a train, beyond the traditional use of mobile phones, which can disengage us from our environments. 

During David and Jayde’s research, they identified four key themes as striking pillars of the city’s cultural heritage: Hidden Adventures, Hidden Festivities, Hidden History and Hidden Rebellion.

From this, they produced two illustrations per theme, making there 8 animated AR artworks in total. Hidden Adventures includes stories about cycling in the Quantocks and seeing the Flying Scotsman. Hidden Festivities focuses on Bridgwater Carnival and a local Elvis impersonator. Hidden History explores Queen Victoria’s disapproving journey through Bridgwater and the station’s links to WWII. Finally, Hidden Rebellion looks at Bridgwater’s response to nuclear waste services and climate protests.

Experience the heartwarming project for yourself by visiting Bridgwater Station and scanning the QR codes on the posters, or via Seed Sedgemoor’s Instagram.

Make sure to check out Zubr’s other cultural work with the likes of the SS Great Britain and Beckford’s Tower.

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.