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Central Line Stories, new writing for Art on the Underground

Date uploaded: September 8, 2009

Writer Sarah Butler is drawn to cities and public spaces where chance encounters and unexpected connections are a daily occurrence. Art on the Underground commissioned Sarah to undertake a six-month residency on the Central line and to collaborate with London Underground staff in creating new writing.

With 45 Central line-managed stations from West Ruislip to Epping and over 183.5 million journeys on the line each year, Central line staff have little opportunity to meet and engage with each other. Sarah's challenge for the residency was to develop creative strategies to involve the whole line.

Central line staff guided Sarah along the line, introducing her to their colleagues and recounting their own personal tales. These initial conversations highlighted a very human desire to communicate through story-telling.

This has resulted in four distinct texts available online: What's in a Name?, a collection of stories attached to staff names; Central line whispers, a tale written by 56 staff from 45 stations over five days; Meetings with drivers, short fiction inspired by Sarah's conversations with Tube drivers, and a story in the form of a puzzle. In addition, a booklet containing a selection of stories will be distributed on the Central line.

Listen to Sarah Butler discussing her work on BBC Radio 4

Read and download the stories online, and listen to and download recorded stories with London Underground staff.

Central Line Stories, Sarah Butler

Central Line Stories, Sarah Butler