“A dose of soothing trees to make the path a little brighter.” (Keely Mills)
If you haven’t yet come across us, Peterborough Presents is an Arts-Council funded Creative People and Places programme with a mission to bring great art to your doorstep. Over the last three years, we have delivered an experimental and entertaining spectrum of great art. From the pop-up beats and symphonies of the Music Takeover, to the chilled creativity of De-Stress Fest to the downright weird and epic Diwali vs The Zombie Walk.
This year, we have been inviting people to join us on a series of walks. Not any old walk, of course. We’ve done poetry walks, memory walks, smell walks, Easter Egg hunts and coming up we have a photography walk and a storytelling walk. So why the sudden interest in nature and the outdoors?
The reason: is home. Instead of city centre projects, we have taken our work out to three areas of Peterborough: North Bretton, Millfield and Hampton. In each area, a local community panel worked with the Peterborough Presents team to commission a project to take place in their community. A sense of pride in the place they call home was a big factor in their decision-making and each of the projects seeks to make that place a more attractive and stimulating environment to live. What better way to do that than through the arts?
It’s likely you will have come across Katy Hawkins and her Bretton Greens project over the last few months. Katy has been working tirelessly with the North Bretton community to encourage residents to respond to hidden, forgotten and worn-out places through themed walks. Colour, birds and play have emerged as significant elements to be resurrected by the community and so formed the basis for three creative workshops under the expert guidance of David & Gareth from Nene Park Trust, architect George Lovesmith and artist Isabella Martin. By the end of the sessions, participants had contributed their ideas and designs for creative interventions for Bretton. We’re looking forward to casting our vote for the best garden, bird box and play space at the Bretton Community Festival on 8th July.
Over in Millfield, Paper Rhino has been busy collecting stories, memories and heroes to turn into a striking mural on the Lincoln Road. Again, the community were looking for new ways to make a difference to their environment and to feel proud of where they live. Take a walk down Lincoln Road later in the year and see what you think.
And finally, what is under that “tump” in Hampton? Tom Fox and Eastern Angles Theatre are determined to find out! Whether it’s through the camera lens or a story at the water’s edge, residents are invited to take a fresh walk down a familiar path to uncover a Folk Tale for Hampton. (shhh..the giant will rise from the tump on 16 September).
It was great to read about Karen’s experience of working with artists on the Green Festival and its Planet B initiative. I think our artists are equally excited to be helping residents reframe their home environments as places to nurture, to care for and be proud of.
Fiona Brice is the Programme Manager for Peterborough Presents.