community project


completion date:


"Town's 'alien invasion' turns out to be art installation." That was the headline in the Merthyr Express after the weekend of the Merthyr Rising festival in 2016. The light beam, visible up to 5 miles away, was part of David Appleyard's research and engagement for his commission for Penderyn Square, a key project within the Merthyr Tydfil town centre public art scheme.

His brief was to research the history of Penderyn Square in relation to the Merthyr Rising and the Dic Penderyn story and to engage with local people to develop and test out ideas through temporary interventions. The commission had an extensive programme of consultation and engagement over a period of about 10 months.

As part of the Merthyr Rising festival in 2016, David decided that the anniversary of the events of 1831 should be remembered via a beacon of positivity, shining brightly from the famous Kier Hardy balcony of Redhouse. The idea was inspired by Thomas Hornor’s painting of Merthyr at night, which shows dramatic light beams shining out of the ironworks. David collaborated with local photographer Richard Jones (MLA Photography), whose photographs captured the beam of light from various points in Merthyr and the surrounding hills. Following the weekend of the festival the photographs and the story were published by the Merthyr Express and shared widely on walesonline.

During the Merthyr Rising festival, David also raised the profile of his project locally and engaged with people through specially made beer mats which he had distributed to pubs, restaurants and venues around the festival area. The beer mats invited people to write comments about Merthyr on them and at the end of the festival they were collected. The beer mats gave a good indication of what people really think about Merthyr and its potential. The response was overwhelmingly positive and helped David develop his final design for Penderyn Square.

During the research phase of this project David developed a web presence
via social media pages (Facebook, Twitter @PENDERYNSQ and Instagram PenderynSQ) and a website /

Pencoedtre Park paintings

Mark Alexander, Bradley Woods
completion date:


The Pencoedtre Park project was funded through a percent for art contribution from a nearby housing development. The park itself has been there for many years, but the playground area is a new addition which includes a large splash pad with water jets. When this is open during the summer months it is extremely well used and attracts families not only from the immediate area but the whole of Barry and beyond. The equipment for the water park is housed in a large green metal container, which is one of the features in the park we identified as a canvas for an artist.

Adjacent to the splash pad area is the skateboard park which has several ramps of various sizes. These structures were 'open', i.e. not boxed in, but as part of this project the ramps were boxed in with galvanised metal by Fabmec so that the ramps could be painted.
Leading to the park is a round tunnel shaped underpass built with a corrugated finish. It had previously been painted as part of a community art project but this was looking tired and in need of re-painting.

At the other end of the park, the Rugby Club's gable wall overlooks the park and this was also selected as a canvas for a painted mural.

Artists Mark Alexander and Bradley Woods, both experienced mural and graffiti style painters were appointed and Mark focused on the splash pad equipment housing, the skate ramps and subway tunnel. He visited the local youth club and primary school to talk about the project and invited young people to help him paint the work. During the holidays and some Saturdays he had some willing volunteers and many conversations with park users. Bradley created the large scale mural for the Rugby Club.
The project was completed in January 2015.

Glenwood Subway painting and relief sculpture

Louise Shenstone, Kathy Dalwood
completion date:


The art installation in Glenwood Subway was the final part of the project to improve the subway, which had included resurfacing, improving the street-lighting and installing a new pedestrian crossing. Consultation with local residents, businesses and the local school, Springwood Primary had indicated a desire for artwork within the subway, in collaboration with the school.

Artists Louise Shenstone and Kathy Dalwood were selected to implement the project and Louise ran a series of workshops at Springwood Primary. The workshops focussed on two themes:

the architectural context of the area - 1960s housing
graphic design of the 1960s

Working with black and white photos of the local area, the pupils were encouraged to draw and cut out coloured papers to create shapes based on the architectural shapes. During follow-up workshops they had an opportunity to create plaster casts based on their architectural and graphic shapes. Both the colour cut-outs and plaster casts were used by the artists to create the design for the final work.

The subway was officially opened on 16th May 2014.

Response from local residents has been very positive with comments such as:
“I don’t think that you could have done a better job. It’s
like wonderland for children and old age pensioners like

Wish you were here - Weymouth deckchairs

Becky Adams, David Mackie, Heather Parnell
completion date:


The Weymouth Deck Chair project was part of the 2012 Public Art Commissioning Plan, which was developed especially for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Events. Public Art is not only about making new sculptures, or contributing to architectural projects, it can also engage local residents in the design of ‘their’ place. The brief for the artists was to engage the local community in the design of 500 unique deck chairs through art workshops and to create a colourful, eye-catching installation on the beach.

The themes of architecture, beach and coast were chosen and developed by the lead artists Heather Parnell, David Mackie and Becky Adams. The themes needed to be open enough to appeal to everyone and to generate a variety of images and yet look good together as a 'family' of deck chair designs. Everyone who created a design was given freedom to interpret the themes, and the artists created a colour palette for each theme to help create a visual link between the diverse images produced.

There was an enthusiastic response to the announcement of the project, with all workshop spaces rapidly filled up by groups ranging from nursery school children to senior citizens and whole families signing up for the Saturday sessions. In all, 36 workshops were delivered involving approximately 430 participants of all ages and abilities. There were Saturday workshops at Weymouth College open to individuals and families, and workshops with established groups in the borough - St Anne’s Church Art Group, NACRO young parents, Weymouth Art Group and the Ridgeway Centre. We could have filled the places for schools three times over, but the lucky classes that took part were from; Radipole Primary School, Holy Trinity Primary School, Southill Primary School, Bincombe Valley Primary School, Budmouth College, Wey Valley School and Sports College as well as students at Weymouth College.

The workshop activities included drawing, painting, collage with paper and fabric and hand stitching. The workshops that took place at Weymouth College benefited from the additional expertise of art lecturers Sandra Stalker and Kim Edwards and the resources there enabled participants to have a go at printmaking (linocut, screen-printing, mono-printing) and machine sewing.

Thousands of images and designs were generated and it was not possible to include everyone's work in the final set of designs for deck chairs. However, the artists took great care to select and include a good cross section of material in the final designs, either as individual images or as composites of several participants’ drawings, prints or textiles.

The deckchair designs have been professionally digitally printed onto cotton fabric and sewn double sided with the background colour continuing onto the back of the deckchair so that the colour palettes can also be appreciated from the Esplanade.

We hope that all local residents seeing these deck chairs on the beach will feel as much pleasure, excitement and pride as felt by the participants during the workshops. The comments we received were almost unanimously complimentary and included:

“A very good experience with super tutors. Thank you”
“Loved working with my children, we all had a great time.”
“Linocut printmaking – my new career.”
“It was awesome and cool and I learned something NEW.”
“I have learnt how to sew properly.”
“Thoroughly enjoyed the day. It was good fun.”
“I loved it!”

A catalogue was printed as a permanent record of the project and is available for £3 from Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

The project was funded and supported by the Arts Council of England South West, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, Weymouth College, and Weymouth and Portland Partnership.

The artists created their own blog for the project at and the project has also had lots of publicity and media coverage including the following:

Littlemoor Wishes - Weymouth Relief Road

Claire Barber
completion date:


In preparation for the sailing events of the 2012 Games being hosted by Weymouth and Portland, Dorset County Council built a major new relief road from Dorchester to Weymouth. The building of a new road involves the creation of new landscapes and new vistas that will be appreciated by thousands of motorists each day. Due to the scale of the relief road and the unique opportunity it presented, it was proposed in the Weymouth and Portland Commissioning Plan for 2012 that public art should play a part in helping to make the relief road an attractive and engaging approach to Weymouth. Two artists were appointed to develop proposals for permanent artworks that would visually enhance the journey and to develop and implement a temporary project with the Littlemoor community for whom the relief road would impact the most. (see for Richard Harris's commission)

Claire Barber was appointed and to support Claire in engaging the community, we enlisted a local public art project manager, Nicky Whittenham. Claire developed a project that allowed the people of Littlemoor an opportunity to express their experiences, thoughts and feelings about the new road. Claire wrote “My practice grows from the interconnection between place and the way people are connected to their surrounding environment, predominantly producing site conditional work. During this project I hoped to challenge my own preconceptions of a community linked and simultaneously divided through the construction of a new road.”

Claire visited Littlemoor to research her project, going to the local play areas, meeting dog walkers, visiting the children’s play section in the library and chatting with other parents. Although initially she focused on the visual aspects of the landscape, it was, in fact, the specific landscape of the voice of the community that became significant.

On each visit she recorded the development of the road building, and the extreme physical changes to the local landscape. The Heras fencing was literally re-mapping the landscape, and directing her and others along new paths over Southdown Ridge towards Littlemoor. She became interested in the Heras fencing as a potential site as it marked the periphery of the road building while providing the means to look through the structure of the fencing, connecting both sides of the road corridor.

While forming ideas on location Claire tied a range of suitcase tags to the Heras fencing. The suitcase tags carry with them notions of a new voyage, a sense of expectation, and when attached to the Heras fencing with the Relief Road works behind them, something like a personal prayer, hope or message seemed to happen.

To create tags for her project she chose neoprene textile as the material as it is bright and soft while being weather proof but still with a degree of vulnerability to the elements. She also explored written questions alongside a small ‘kit’ with instructions that contained all you would need to take part in an interactive artwork.

A Littlemoor Relief Road Public Art Project Meeting was held to which local people were invited through the Littlemoor newsletter and an e-mail invitation was sent to Elected Members of both Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and Dorset Council County. Claire presented her initial ideas and from the feedback was able to progress the concept to a final project proposal.

The title of the project evolved to 'Littlemoor Wishes' with the question for participants to complete 'I wish...'. Claire wrote about her idea “I hoped through the accessibility of a wish (we all can make a wish form the first blow of candles of a three year old's birthday cake), to emerge a highly contemporary commentary that could tap into what we hold most dear in our lives, to the flippant, but no less personal wish made on the spur of the moment. In this way, each individual, what ever age, could collectively contribute to the whole.”

The kit was a plastic clip-seal bag containing a pen, neoprene tags, tie clips, instructions and an invitation to Tag Day. In August 2009 the kit was posted to all 2400 homes in Littlemoor, enabling all Littlemoor residents to become involved in the artwork. People were given instructions to tie the tags onto the metal Heras fencing surrounding the Relief Road works. Alternatively, a text number was provided to enable wishes to be anonymously texted to a personal e-mail account.

The project ran for two weeks, after which the tags were collected and used as a source material for a book publication. A ‘Littlemoor Wishes Tag Box’ was displayed in Littlemoor Library, alongside more tags and pens, so that people, if they could not walk up to Littlemoor hill, could use the library as a drop off point. Posters and information about the project were also accessible from the library.

Tag Day
To launch Littlemoor Wishes ‘Tag Day‘ (14 August 2009) was created; all residents were invited to Littlemoor Hill (also known as Southdown Ridge) ‘to make a wish, eat tag cake and watch Littlemoor Wishes grow’. A yellow tent was erected with balloons and posters and signs directed people to the venue on Southdown Ridge.

The first to arrive to the Tag Day event was a local business man. He took out from his brief case three tags which he carefully tied to the fence, then went on his way. Second to arrive was a police lady who carried a bundle of tags which she had collected from the elderly members of Littlemoor community. She stopped to read many of the tags which had already gathered the night before. Very soon large numbers of the Littlemoor community began arriving; children, families, couples, and walking groups. Each person brought with them their tags to tie to the fence, spending a long time reading all the tags which began to grow in numbers very quickly. The response was such that soon huge clusters of brightly coloured tags were seen fluttering on the Heras fencing against a moving backdrop of road building.

Many people commented on the day what a delight and surprise it had been to receive the Littlemoor Wishes bag through their letter box, something positive rather than the usual bills or advertising, with the opportunity to share their hopes, desires or dreams. The messages on the tags themselves were the main focus of conversation – funny, poetic, rude and often poignant, here is a selection:

I had a red car
For a new heart
A better sister
I could find someone to share my life with
A handy man
I had a girlfriend
Hope to get my dream job when im older
my dad had a permanent job
I had a job I liked
she was pregnant ( tags tied together) I was pregnant
for a living breathing baby for my daughter
4 daddy to put us first
This road wasnt being built
the relief road would go a bit quicker
my mum would let me have a snake

Communities both sides of the relief road participated in Littlemoor Wishes with equal enthusiasm during the two weeks installation in August. The colourful tags visually activated the industrial metallic fencing making visual and potent, silent voices across the borders forming the relief road.

As a permanent record of the project a book was published including every tag collected at the end of the project. Each household in Littlemoor was given a copy of the book.

The project was funded by Arts Council South West and the book funded by Dorset Council.

Art Knitting project at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

Jemma Sykes
completion date:


The art work on display at the Garden was created through collaborative workshops with three craft groups in the Upper Afan Valley. At Blaengwynfi, Croeserw and Glyncorrwg, members of three craft groups worked with the artist Jemma Sykes over a period of three weeks to make knitted and crochet work inspired by plants at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Artist’s statement:

‘These raffia garlands are constructed from a collection of pieces resulting from the collaboration with women from the craft groups of the Upper Afan Valley. They are inspired by a visit to the gardens: their observations of details and shape have been translated and constructed through hand knit and crochet to create these floral forms. Raffia was chosen because of its organic quality provoking a harmony between the craft and the plants, the material and the matter are reminiscent of the corn dolly; a good luck charm for the future of the valley.’

This project was primarily funded by Gwanwyn. The Gwanwyn festival is a month long national festival held across Wales in May celebrating creativity in older age. The festival offers greater opportunities for greater participation by older people in the arts and is also an opportunity to highlight and promote the participation of older people in the arts throughout the year. Gwanwyn is run by Age Concern Cymru with support from a variety of organisations including the Welsh Assembly Government, the Arts Council of Wales and the BBC. The project was also supported by a Learning in Later Life Grant which is funded through the European Social Fund and administered by NIACE. A study visit to the National Botanic Garden by the craft groups and artist was made possible by Groundwork and the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Support was also given by the Ford of Britain Trust.

Information about the Artist:

Jemma Sykes studied Textile Design and Surface Decoration at Buckinghamshire University College, and gained a Master of Arts in Constructed Textiles specialising in knit, at the Royal College of Art. She has been awarded the Woolmark Trend Prediction,Autumn/ Winter 2003/4; the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters Bursary 2003; Thames & Hudson and RCA Society Prize for Constructed Textiles 2003; TEXPRINT 2003, Prize for Knit awarded by Lola Coppini, Gruppo Linieapiu; and a Crafts Council Development Award 2004. She has worked extensively in the fashion industry including for Givenchy, Biba, Julien Macdonald, Christian Dior and Lanvin, and also tutors at the RCA, Central St Martins, and Buckinghamshire University College.

Subscribe to RSS - community project