London Tube named most culturally advanced in the World

26 June 2009
"Winning this award proves that contemporary art can really make a difference to our passengers' experience of the Tube"

Winning this award proves that contemporary art can really make a difference to our passengers' experience of the Tube

The award recognises the positive impact art can have on a passenger's journey and pays tribute to the word-class work that Art on the Underground brings to customers every day.

The Cultural Actions Award was presented to Tamsin Dillon, Head of Art of the Underground, by Alain Flausch, president of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) at the 58th UITP World Congress event in Vienna, Austria.

Art for all

The aim of the award is to promote cultural best practice on public transport, which helps make the travelling experience more interesting for passengers. 

Art on the Underground impressed the judges with the outstanding quality of contemporary commissions which surprise and delight the millions of customers that use the Tube every day. 

The panel especially liked the way in which the artists who take part in the scheme not only build on London Underground's heritage of art and design but are encouraged to collaborate with staff and members of the local community at all stages of their projects. 

International applaud

Tamsin Dillon, Head of Art on the Underground, said: 'It's fantastic that our work is recognised internationally and shows that London is leading the way.

'Winning this award proves that contemporary world class art can really make a difference to our passengers' experience of the Tube.

'The London Underground is a unique environment with a very special audience and our artworks should reflect this by connecting with our passengers.'

Richard Parry, Managing Director of London Underground, said: 'Art on the Underground is central to London Underground's identity, which has had art and design at its heart for 80 years, when Frank Pick established the concept of Total Design as the unifying principle of the network.

'Everyone at the Underground is very proud of our art programme and I am delighted that we have achieved this prestigious award.'

Notes to editors

  • Recent Art on the Underground projects include giving 60,000 free prints of a new work by Richard Long to commuters during morning rush hour in June; artist David Blandy transforming young people into superheroes for photographic and comic strip portraits on display in Charing Cross and Embankment stations; a group exhibition in Piccadilly Circus that ruminates on the nature of pop culture and advertising and an exclusive set of badges featuring the work of painter Peter McDonald, available to members of the public who strike up conversations with staff at Southwark Station
  • Art on the Underground is London Underground's (LU) art programme, producing high calibre artworks throughout the network, enhancing the millions of journeys made every day. It aims to promote a greater understanding of the Tube as a cultural and social environment through the creative commissioning of artworks. With between three and a half to four million passengers using the network per day, Art on the Underground projects are exposed to one of the largest and diverse audiences in Europe.  Click here for more information about Art on the Underground
  • Images of artworks are available from Theresa Simon and Partners Ltd. Log in with your name and email address, click next, and choose the link from the project menu
  • LU is undertaking a major programme of renewal as part of Transport for London's Investment Programme. This will inevitably result in some disruption for passengers, but TfL is working hard to provide information and alternative travel options. The work is essential to provide for London's growing transport needs now, and into the future.  TfL is urging all Londoners and Tube, London Overground and DLR passengers to check before you travel at weekends, allowing extra journey time where necessary. Weekend travel news is available on the TfL website 
  • The Cultural Actions Award is a new award launched by the UITP's Design and Culture Platform. Click here for more information on the International Association of Public Transport
  • Frank Pick was Publicity Manager for London Transport from 1907 and in 1930s became Chief Executive of London Transport