The Art Project was generously funded by the Arts Council England and London Luton Airport Community Fund administered by the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation.
The Arts Project was led by the University of Bedfordshire’s Art and Design School, local school students delivering creative art workshops around the theme of protest. The aim was to display the art in the planned parade through Luton on the afternoon of Friday the 19th July. Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, not least of which was the weather conditions on the 19th July, the parade did not take place.
Hedley Roberts and Noel Douglas from the University of Bedfordshire were the project leads and worked with a number of Luton schools whose involvement is being co-ordinated by Gemma Kiff Head of Art at Bushmead Primary School. The workshops were based on the theme of protest. Ideas from movements such as Black Lives Matter will be used to help students design their own protest materials.
To maintain the link to the Peace Riots, the theme of ‘protest’ was used to develop tools for critical thinking and enquiry, advocacy and representation and exploring ideas of how to take informed action.
The protest theme decided upon was climate change.
Via the workshop events, this project enhanced the connection between the University and the town, stimulated interest in the Town’s history particularly amongst the mainly Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage school students to identify and encourage talent in the town.
The participants who attended workshops were able to use the resources of the University to produce their artwork. The art graduates themselves gained valuable skills in running workshops.
However, despite not being able to display the art works on the anniversary itself, the University of Bedfordshire continued with the project and built on the materials already completed with the schools and develop a further art installation. A large helium filled cloud was created within the same theme of climate change and to compliment the materials already created.
The completed installation was publicly displayed in the cultural quarter, the town square and at the University Campus on the 17th and 18th January 2020. The installation incorporated the earlier work of creating the masks and caps and the helium cloud.
Our Art Installation project have been recognised by the Luton and Bedfordshire Community Awards 2019, being awarded the prize for Community Arts Project of the Year.