For his Link + Shift residency artist Chris Alton worked with local residents to produce a series of public artworks which aimed to engage with Chelmsley Wood’s existing local myths, make new ones, create space for imaginations to be exercised and encourage conversation and collaboration.
Working in partnership with MAPA (Meriden Adventure Playground) and Three Trees Community Centre, Chris led a series of free, hands-on creative workshops. Sessions included creative writing in response to residents’ everyday experiences and designing flags inspired by the local landscape and landmarks of Chelmsley Wood’s past, present and future
Through the workshops MAPA’s Youth Night co-created a public artwork which took the form of a new set of flags for the area which have been flying at MAPA since Summer 2019. They perform the role of prompts, props, or backdrops that aim to encourage new interactions to occur in public spaces – the long-term hope is that the project and flags will help inspire future creative activity in Chelmsley Wood.
Installed as permanent public artworks at MAPA, the flags showcase, or are inspired by, the young people’s drawings of the river Cole, tower blocks, MAPA’s colourful fence and dandelion clocks, reflecting both the built and natural environment, and representing ideas of freedom, feelings of containment and cycles of nature.
Chris’ residency was the first project within Link + Shift, a multi-year programme of Artists Residencies and Artists Walks produced by Eastside Projects in partnership with West Midlands Railway and communities across the West Midlands Railway network.