When a project has the potential to affect many people’s lives, we think that they should get the opportunity to affect the project too. This way art in the public realm can be more than just decoration and become something that truly matters to people, uniting them and improving their perception of place in the long term.
We think that by inviting people to play a part in creating art, they are able to experience first hand the complexities, subtleties and concept driven practices that make great contemporary art. By engaging with whole communities in this way, there is potential for real positive change, and for arts to enter into everyday life in a way that supports and nourishes people.
Top: Close up of ‘UNEARTHED’
Mass participation sculpture
Bottom left: Still taken from ‘Lidice Shall Live’
A flashmob performance at The Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent
Bottom middle: Still from ‘Lidice Shall Die’
Shaddow puppet animation telling the story of the destruction of Lidice
In collaboration with Hullaballoo Arts Collective and Big Red Studio
Created by members of the public in Wythenshawe town centre
Part of the memory tree public art project
CASE STUDY – UNEARTHED
“As things pass away I too realise I will not be here forever but this is something that will last forever, hope.” RH08
“Stories like this make Stoke great and should never be forgotten.” ES10
< Messages left by promise makers- members of the public who got involved with the project.
In 2012 we were commissioned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to design and build a sculptural piece to commemorate the story of Lidice.
Lidice is a small farming and mining village near Prague that was decimated by the Nazis in 1942. Surprisingly, the mining community of Stoke-on-Trent over 1000 miles away, lead by MP Barnett Stross, started the ‘Lidice Shall Live’ movement- each pledging 1 days pay per week to rebuild Lidice in defiance of Hitler. The miners raised £32,000 by the end of the war and in 1947 Lidice was rebuilt and its survivors repatriated.
Inspired by the story and its little known status, we decided to design the sculpture project in the spirit of sharing, compassion and cooperation. We called for thousands of people to collaborate with us, by promising to share the story with two others and recording that promise on the sculpture itself.
Just as the miners of Stoke-on-Trent refused to let Lidice die, we wanted to help the story of Lidice live on for future generations. We created a year long creative campaign which included live events, workshops and online media. 3000 people across the world made a promise to share the story and over 15,000 people were reached by the project.
The project made significant waves in the city, inspiring a great deal of pride and renewed appreciation for the history and nature of its people.
Promises are recorded on the sculpture in the form of a giant miners tags with unique codes that represent each promise maker. Miners tags were originally around 1″ in diameter and were used to identify a miner and his equipment. Sculpture designed by Winstanley & Nadin – Fabricated by Patera Engineering
We also felt it was important to highlight what Stoke achieved in the past and what it can achieve in the present, so as well as collaborating with local artists and community members, we used all local fabricators and tradespeople to build the sculpture.
The sculpture is made of laser etched stainless steel, which describes an abstract shape that compliments the surrounding architecture, echoing geological strata (coal seams) that emerge from the ground. This symbolises how the story is becoming ‘unearthed’.