The Stanwell Project was a successful, inclusive art project that encompassed a whole community through various tailored creative workshops and small stand-alone projects, to culminate in a public mural & documentary that captured the history and essence of the area.
As part of the regeneration of a large part of Stanwell in Surrey, Signal was approached by national regeneration company A2Dominion in 2008 to design, manage and deliver an intergenerational art project in an area where there was a need to bring a community together. We decided that historical story telling was the best method of encouraging locals to bond and appreciate the history of the area.
With a core team of nine professional creatives and youth workers, Signal devised a flexible wide-ranging project that included 10 influential community groups to draw out the stories of Stanwell. We used various creative tools to engage the residents including customising remote control cars, intergenerational story telling, street art workshops, mobile phone/digital film making, painting sessions and creating wooden
cut-out animals. We also held various social events for the wider community to get involved at different stages of the project. See the full mural design here.
Designed as a positive legacy for the community as it went through the uncomfortable process of change, the main outcomes of the project were:
a better relationship between the developer and the community
a 60 metre mural on hoardings
a 40 minute documentary about the project and local residents
a potentially award-winning and press-worthy story for A2Dominion
Over 900 of the 2,500 residents of Stanwell took part in the project in some way, making it one of the largest of its kind in the country. As the Signal team were only to be in a Stanwell a relatively short time, we also sought to engage the relevant local agencies to kick-start more sustainable long-term initiatives in the area. As a result over £250,000 has since been allocated to the area, across all age groups.
“I write to say a huge thank you to you and your team for your help in delivering a successful project in Stanwell; we could not have done it without you. 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. I have been told that 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.
“The DVD has been much praised and talked about … and captured the soul of Stanwell residents. Viewers unfamiliar with Stanwell have commented on the sense of community that comes across … and the way that Stanwell is a good example of a sustainable community that evolves to accept the changes imposed upon it. We look forward to working with you in the future.” Mandie Wilde, Project Coordinator Stanwell New Start, A2Dominion Group
“The involvement of Signal in this project has been extremely well received by the community with good positive feed back from the residents of Stanwell and from people living in the surrounding area…The mural provokes comment and stimulates interest …and this will help Stanwell’s history… to be remembered, recorded and passed through the generations.” Cllr. Caroline Spencer, Mayor of Stanwell
“The idea of involving the whole Stanwell community was wonderful… The project involved all the 500 pupils at the school… I cannot fault the professional approach that the team had towards everyone, from the youngest to the oldest participant. The work is admired by all the residents, and people from the borough and further afield have been to look at the work.” Carol Davies, former Head Administrator Town Farm Primary School
A prominent public mural that has transformed a local eyesore into a welcoming landmark that has come to define the area and its history.
Kilburn is a northern London city ward thriving with life. Steeped in Irish ancestry the present day community reflects London’s vast multiculturalism. We came to appreciate the area and wanted to design a mural that would reflect Kilburn and its history. The Kilburn Tube Mural is located on a busy road serving as an artery into London from The North and outside the heavily used Kilburn Tube Station.
The 300m2 and 8m high mural spans four walls over property belonging to London Underground and two local authorities, managed by Kilburn Town Centre Partnership. Signal managed the project so that all council concerns were addressed.
Keenly aware of the issues around the public perception of graffiti, we deliberately downplayed this element by opting for an illustrative style, avoiding lettering and keeping to a uniform colour palette. We included historical content to offer the onlooker something beyond the obvious such as performers from Kilburn’s 1930s mouse circus, and characters from resident George Orwell’s Animal Farm. See the full design here.
We involved local graffiti artists by running workshops at local schools and youth clubs and consulting key community groups and historians before beginning the final design.
During the painting of the mural, we displayed information about the design and its historical and community relevance so that passers by had a better understanding of the project. This was a great cohesive tool in the community as many locals learned things about an area they had lived in their entire life.
The Kilburn Tube Mural was painted by renowned graffiti artists (Snug, Dane, Bleach, Busk and Tizer) with the assistance of a young local apprentice, involving many of the community in the consultation process. This was key to its success in being welcomed by locals and regular passers-by.
Signal secured match funding from the Arts Council England and Camden Streetscape to deliver the Kilburn Tube project – a public mural that was groundbreaking in its scale and prominence.
The biggest sign of the success of this project is that the mural has not been vandalised once since its completion in 2004, despite a footfall of millions past it every week.
This project was conceived, managed and delivered by Signal Project in 2004 and remains the largest permanent public graffiti art mural ever commissioned in the UK.
“On behalf of the Kilburn Partnership, I would like to thank you for your hard work developing and delivering the mural project at Kilburn Tube station over the last year. Local feedback on the design quality of the mural has been extremely positive – in fact (and I understand this is quite unusual for a public art project!) we haven’t received a single complaint or criticism.”
Caroline Bourne, Kilburn Town Centre Manager, March 2005
Kilburn Murals “…if we had to spend a few coins on any of London’s murals it would be these, created in 2004 by Signal Project as the largest commissioned work of graffiti in the UK… A splendid attention to detail, with many subtle references to local themes.”
Rating: 10/10 The best we’ve seen.” TimeOut London, Issue 1872, July 2006, Top Ten London Murals:
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