The Tongham Underpass Mural was a project that allowed students to gain GCSE level accreditation in addition to their existing school curriculum. This was delivered as part of a public art project.
For the first time in UK, artists at Signal collaborated with curriculum development consultants Beyond Knowledge to develop accreditation through the medium of Street Art. Signal and Beyond Knowledge created education innovation by combining a professional public art project with the school curriculum to enable students from two secondary schools to gain GCSE equivalent accreditation.
The result: a community-driven street art project in a pedestrian subway that helped 16 participants achieve a BTEC Level 2 in Visual Arts in just 10 weeks with a 100% pass rate! And the subway, used by pupils from both schools, is now a graffiti-free space with a vastly improved look and feel.
Our tailored BTEC project is now used as an attractive and practical way for students to achieve accreditation through the medium of street art.
Artists from Signal and Beyond Knowledge staff supervised and taught 16 talented year 10 and 11 art students from two schools. The material satisfied Level 2 qualification requirements, and covered a range of street art techniques, application and history, plus general art and design.
The Level 2 BTEC was delivered over 40 contact hours, after school and during the half-term break.
The learning activities included:
producing written materials
a 60m public mural, delivered as a group project
While the BTEC could be delivered on its own without a mural project attached, the experience for the participating students was greatly enhanced by providing creative input to a real street art project within their community.
With certain adjustments to the delivery plan, this approach is suited to:
young people 14-19 of all levels
students in pupil referral units
students at risk of being excluded
If within a pupil referral unit, it is recommended the course be delivered over an academic year. Media and ICT components can also be added.
Designed and managed by Signal, this project forged a successful partnership between Beyond Knowledge, Guildford Borough and Surrey County Councils, Surrey Youth Development Service, and Ash Manor and Connaught Secondary Schools.
“The Signal team were excellent to work with. The students were so motivated with the project it was fantastic to see! Working on such a large scale has taught the students not only about this type of artwork, but about their own strengths and capabilities. It has been a great experience for all involved.” Clare Maddision, Head of Art, Ash Manor
“I have now worked with Signal Project on four separate murals… In my experience, the artists from Signal Project have been fantastic at engaging the young people in the whole process of creating these stunning pieces of public art… I would rate Signal Project as one of the best and most professional organisations offering this service.” Gareth Palmer, Youth Development Worker (Arts), Surrey Youth Service
“Thank you for such an awesome experience! I would love to do it again!” Kira, participating student
“I have learnt lots about ‘Street Art’. I gained a lot by seeing this type of art through different eyes. It was great to work with different people, knowing we would all produce one large mural at the end.” Hannah, participating student
The Samuel Lewis Estate ball park mural was designed through workshops and drop-in sessions with around 20 young people from the estate, aged between 5 and 16.
A mural was required within the games area on a well-kept and respected residential housing estate in South East London. To ensure that the final piece reflected the interests of the young people that use the area, workshops with professional graffiti artists were held to encourage the young people to work creatively with ideas that would form the foundation of the mural design.
The ideas generated in the workshops were developed into a coherent sketch that complemented the site and other existing mural work.
Signal used a layering process to develop the mural; the wall was filled and primed, then a bold sequence of base colours applied. The young people were encouraged to paint ‘freestyle’ on the base colours with a complimentary paint palette. The freestyle graffiti was then used as a textured backdrop to the main mural design.
The design was outlined and participants then helped work on the final mural. The work was professionally finished leaving elements of the freestyle graffiti showing through.
“It was a delight to work with the artists of Signal project. They had a great rapport with the young people and brought in lots of material to engage them in. The artists combined high quality professionalism while being patient and open with the young people and were able to bring out lovely creative results with them.
Signal had a thorough knowledge of all things technical and I rest assured that the final result will be long lasting and give immense pleasure to both residents and visitors alike. I look forward to working with Signal Project again and highly recommend their work and approach.” Sarayu Shah, Community Projects Officer, Groundwork London
Through workshops, small and large public murals, and an unprecedented intergenerational regeneration scheme, Signal has contributed to delivering tangible local authority outcomes, including substantial funding uplift, across a whole county.
Signal has built up a broad portfolio of over 26 projects delivered across Surrey County Council since 2004 working with diverse groups across the community. The projects include numerous one-off graffiti workshops at youth clubs, large public murals and longer term activities that gain participants GCSE equivalent qualifications.
“I am writing to say how wonderful it is to work with Signal Project Limited. The work that you carried out with the council on the Sunbury Cross project as part of the Cultural Pathfinder was excellent. The Council received national recognition for this work and it also helped support young people. I do know that one or two people went on to college to study Graphic Design. The project attracted nearly £500,000 in external funds and has certainly improved this area.
I must also say how wonderful the project in Stanwell has been. It has brought communities together and the art work is outstanding. Spelthorne Borough Council looks forward to working with you in the future.” Liz Borthwick, Assistant Chief Executive Spelthorne Borough Council
Commissioned through various council departments, our work is designed to integrate and meet the Local Area Agreement objectives of multiple agencies working in partnership across the borough.
As a result, our larger projects have been instrumental in securing investment for the area significantly above the Council’s initial outlay. Our work has proved particularly relevant in these areas: Children and Young People, Safer and Stronger Communities, and Housing, Infrastructure and Environment.
We have worked with and/or been funded by:
Multi Agency Partnerships
Highway and Street Maintenance
Fear of Crime Initiatives
Initiatives to Engage Disaffected and Vulnerable Young People
Local Regeneration Schemes
Secondary Education Accreditation
Local Education Authority Initiatives
Youth Development Services
Environmental Planning Services
Arts and Cultural Events
Youth Justice Services
Engagement Initiatives for People with Learning Difficulties
Signal’s working relationship across Surrey has continued to improve and develop over the years, with projects becoming more ambitious and more expansive. The Stanwell Project involved 900 members of the local community, and the Tongham Subway Mural was an opportunity for 16 young people to fast track through a BTEC Visual Arts equivalent to one GCSE, with a 100% pass rate!
“Since we started working in Stanwell the area has attracted a great deal of interest from other organisations and agencies, which has triggered a funding programme in excess of £250,000. …it was the work the Signal Project team did in the community that highlighted the area’s need and many of the issues. I am delighted to report the funding has been directed across all age groups, which is testament to the intergenerational approach of the project.” Mandie Wilde, Project Coordinator A2Dominion Group
“I have worked with Signal Project on four separate murals… the artists from Signal Project have been fantastic at engaging the young people in the whole process… The young people come away feeling excited about the new skills they have learnt.” Gareth Palmer, Youth Development Worker (Arts) Surrey Youth Service
Workshops for all ages and abilities, delivered inside or outside using a wide range of materials and techniques.
We have delivered tailored workshops for nearly everyone. For corporate away days to cub scouts to the Over 50’s Club. At prisons, schools, village halls, 5 star hotels and retirement homes. On the street, in club houses and in school playgrounds.
There is an increasing awareness that street art projects are an effective method of reaching and engaging people. They are also great community building exercises, and linked into larger projects we have involved all abilities and all ages from 5 to 95.
Our workshops include CRB checked artists and all materials required, but our services can also incorporate the following:
Consultancy & project management
CRB checked youth and support workers
Spray paint free workshops
Safety masks and protective gear
Reference and art materials
Fume extractor fans and outdoor shelters
Workshops with artists in different mediums
Environmentally friendly alternatives
Documentation – film, online and stills
Workshops can be one-off, a series, or form part of a larger project, from a small mural to communitywide engagement.
Meaningful and successful inclusion is our primary concern so we create tailored workshop to suit the interests of each group. Often we are asked to think of different ways to engage people, from graffiti cake decorating to large murals. That’s fine by us, we like different.
Workshops we have run include:
Individual name boards
Take-home art pieces (good for everyone)
Small murals (good for team building)
Visual brainstorming (good for corporate away days)
Story exchange (good for intergenerational groups)
Our experience delivering series of workshops over along time scale has found that many participants put in a huge amount of work but do not receive accreditation.
To address this Signal is now working in close partnership with Education consultants Beyond Knowledge to develop tailored accredited curriculum projects around Street Art and other creative disciplines, including digital media.
Working either inside or outside school hours, we can deliver additional accreditation to the existing school curriculum, which benefits both the students and the participating schools.
Our most recent tailored accreditation was the BTEC Level 2 Visual Arts Award (equivalent to one GCSE), which was delivered to 16 art students over 40 contact hours with a 100% pass rate.