Community Art


LOST AND FOUND a festival of pop-up performance taking place in unexpected locations throughout Manchester City Centre. I took my beautiful Echo Funnel to Manchester, last seen in Saltwell Park as part of the Enchanted Parks Festival  (see below).


Commissioned by Electric Angel Design / Bolton at Home to write text for a series of art interventions across Johnson Fold housing estate in Bolton.

U CAN… if you want to

Trails were laid across Johnson Fold that share the finishing point of the UCAN building. The trails were placed in the environment using a variety of media – vinyl words on shuttered shops, acrylic lettering fixed to railings and hanging in trees, stencilled graphics on pavements, a note in the Post Office window small ads. Some will disappear naturally over time, some will be durable to last the whole duration and be removed at the end of the project.

Themes were taken from a week of activities at the centre run by Adrian and Charlotte from Electric Angel and 5 colour-coded trails were created that now run across the estate fixed to railings, street signs, trees and lamposts, each finishing at the centre.


Enchanted Parks, now in its 5th year, is an innovative after-dark outdoor arts experience developed and co-commissioned by NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Gateshead Council and produced by Magnetic Events as part of the annual NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival.

Enchanted Parks has taken place in Saltwell Park in Gateshead since December 2007 and the event has grown year-on-year with audiences of over 14,000 expected in 2011. It is a sellout every year.

Adrian’s artist’s impression of the Echo Funnel (I love this drawing)

I’m immensely proud of this project… myself and collaborator Adrian Riley dreamt up the Echo Funnel on one of our many recent lengthy journey’s across the Yorkshire Moors and the Parks commissioned us to realise the idea. We then took our idea to the brilliant and highly skilled Scott Thompson (a freelance prop-maker and the CVYT in-house Designer) and I mumbled words like ‘elves’ and ‘patina’ and ‘you know, magical’ – and this is what we collectively came up with.

Here’s a sneaky peak at the beauteous object…

Scott’s realisation of the idea. 

And it’s full of unexpected treats… you’ll have to come and stand next to it to fully realise what it’s capable of… trust me, it’ll be worth it…

… you can book tickets and come and experience this performance/art project here:

 ANIMATEUR/COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Limestone Journeys with Whaley Thorn Primary School, Derbyshire. Working with Adrian Riley from electric angel design.

Adrian Riley from electric angel design and I have been doing drama and design with Whaley Thorns year 6 pupils, producing material for a large scale map that illustrates why and how humans have moved through their area, their journeys and recorded information – from the beginning of known history to present day.

We took the pupils for a poke about in the ice-age caves at Creswell Crags, examining artefacts from 15,000 years ago, we went to the graveyard and found plenty of clues about local characters from the past written on the gravestones. The children bought in miners lamps, miners knee pads, medals, coins and old photographs that belonged to their grandparents and great grandparents and we helped them to step into their shoes for an afternoon. Adrian produced postcards from their photos of the caves and they imagined they were ice-age people for a day, writing to those they had left behind on one of their annual nomadic journeys… and that was all just for starters.

Working with Adrian the pupils are now taking the words, images, stories and typography that they have created and designing a huge map which will be exhibited at the Creswell Crags Visitor’s Centre from 23rd October. 

The work has been fascinating and a perfect blend of gathering material and engaging the pupils through drama and design work. I was not a fan of history as a kid because it always seemed irrelevant to me – this project has bought the past into vivd focus for this group, holding the artefacts of their near and far ancestors in their hands and stepping into their shoes for a time. I don’t think they’ll forget this work in a hurry. Nor will I.

The resulting map is shaping up beautifully and is absolute testament to the work this very lovely and focussed group have put into their project with us. I’ll post some photos of the finished work as as soon as they are available.

ANIMATEUR: Walker, Churchwalk Mural Public Art Initiative.

Over 10 years ago a mural was designed and painted on the wall facing Church Walk, Walker, Newcastle. The Mural has lasted well over the years but naturally over time it has faded and the wall has been damaged.

Our role for this commission is to work with local schools and community groups, under the guidance of a young person led steering group to design and re-design and paint the mural s it will be fresh and relevant to the young people of Walker today. We are currently developing the design by gathering ideas and designs from 2 local primary schools and the yr 10 art students from Walker Technical College and are moving towards a stylised, typography-based design incorporating concrete poetry and simple images that will stop people in their tracks. The wall will be painted over the October half term – images to follow.

WRITER: Creative Coast Empty Windows Project.

Here are the results of myself and Adrian Riley from working with young people from Scarborough Westwood Campus, studying on the schools Creative and Media Diploma.

We were transforming the former cafe, Mojo’s, so we took conversations over drinks as a starting point blending in memories of growing up in the area and snippets of overhead conversations. I teased these out in a creative session that involved scratch-performance and the discipline of telling a story via text messaging.

Adrian went away and came up with some images based on the young people’s words and we returned the following week with those illustrations. The young people then designed their text, to compliment the visuals. The resulting vinyl cut outs can be seen on Northway, Scarborough.

Thanks to all the talented young people (who are credited on the windows) and to course leader Spencer Williams for a very enjoyable and productive experience. 2 more shops to follow by other creatives…