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Martin Hylton at Lion Salt Works

9th June 2020

SALT was commissioned as part of Arts&Heritage‘s Meeting Point programme in 2017.

The work gave visitors the chance to step into the artwork for a truly unique experience. Visitors to the exhibition were provided with a virtual reality headset to view the dance piece, which was set inside a salt pan. Dancing in water, representing the brine used in the salt making process, dancers captured the physicality of the manufacturing process whilst bringing Lion Salt Works’ unique heritage to life.

Looking at the archive material at Lion Salt Works, I was really struck by the movement and physical, hard work involved in claiming the salt from the pans.

The process the workers went through really lends itself to choreography and dance; the laboured and heavy movement involved in scrapping the salt.

The piece I’ve created reflects that hard, physical work and by filming it in 360° virtual reality, the viewer can be completely immersed in the moment. People will get a sense of what it would have been like to work in the factory.

Martin Hylton, Choreographer

See a promotional video for the project here.

Objectives of the project:

  • to raise the profile of the site within the locality
  • to engage museum staff and volunteers in commissioning process
  • to build and develop the programming team’s expertise in commissioning contemporary art


Arts&Heritage supported the participating museums throughout the process, sharing knowledge of presenting contemporary art projects and commissions in non-traditional art spaces.

A networking event between the participating museums and 70 artists from across the UK took place at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and visits to artists’ studios were arranged. Museum teams also met with peers at other properties to learn how they successfully delivered contemporary art projects at their museums and heritage sites.

All museums developed their own Artist’s Brief. Following the networking event artists were invited to send in an expression of interest to museums that interested them.

Four artists were shortlisted by each museum to draw up a more detailed proposal and were paid £500 each.


  • 25 children and young people attended workshops
  • 150 people, including performers, participated in an event in December 2017
  • Over 1,900 people attended SALT
  • Working with young people helped to bring in the local community to the venue
  • Staff feel more confident in commissioning work, working with artists and other council teams and are keen to commission work in future to enhance the programmes and themes
  • Young people taking part in workshops also benefitted from careers advice from Martin Hylton

SALT was commissioned as part of Arts&Heritage’s Meeting Point programme in 2017, with funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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