2011 Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes
Having been selected to make a permanent public artwork for the new residential development of 95 new houses and apartments on the former site of the offices of the East Midlands Electricity Board in Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes, near the Grand Union Canal, we undertook extensive community consultation with The Slated Row School, Old Wolverton & Greenleys Town Council, Old Wolverton Residents Association, the Parish Church of Holy Trinity and the regional Arts and Heritage Society.
Working with the Friday Club in the local pub in Old Wolverton we discussed residents past lives, looked at maps and changes in the area and recorded moments of significant shared history by the group. It was these exchanges and the importance of these personal, domestic recollections that led to the idea of texts being etched on the posts in the new residential site. This resulted in a period of workshops and reminiscence gatherings to reflect on the old play area known locally as the ‘The Pancake Hills’ and the ongoing sense of community and the significance of old pathways and memories still very much in the minds of local residents. It was established that it would be good to share these thoughts with those who were to move into the area. This resulted in two steel signposts with a collection of remembered phrases and words, lazer-cut into the signpost arms and located in the new residential area. A poetic thought signalling the convergence of past and present thought and interaction across a specific area.
In addition we worked with a wonderful group of pupils from the Slated Row School, and visited the building site with them to look at the new buildings taking shape, and considering their own homes and lives in the local area. We worked with them to take photographs, make models and transfer ideas from sketches to final works. This work also formed part of their Bronze Arts Award Level 1 and was also exhibited both at the School and at the new Housing Estate for new residents to see.
Commissioning agent: Barratt Homes Northampton as part of a planning agreement with Milton Keynes Council.
Client/Developer: The Barratt Company
Construction: Broxap in collaboration with brook & black and The Barratt Company
Budget: Total 50K
Photos: brook & black
Acknowledgments: A special thanks to the project management given by Isabelle Lines-Slatter and Louise O’Reilly, and of course to Head of Art at Slated Row School for enabling us to have such a wonderful time working with the students and supporting them in achieving such a wonderful project and in assisting in the Bronze Arts Award.