Words: Iola Shaw
Image: Morgan Wyman
Our environment has a huge impact – and seeing a representation of the cultural diversity and positivity centred in the area on a huge billboard on Tong Road will really make a splash for drivers as well as local residents this autumn.
A project everyone can get involved in to make this happen has just started.
Before the first workshop, I spoke to Morgan Wyman, from Wortley, who is leading this project and encourages more people to get involved. The follow up workshops will run on Fridays between 1pm and 3pm at the New Wortley Community Centre, within sight of the location of the final display.
Check the Facebook page for the next one. Attendees will be developing skills around design, photography, needlework and art, and you can join as a regular participant or drop in.
By September the artwork will be ready and voting to select the winning billboard display will be open to everyone – for more details about the group or voting go to https://www.facebook.com/NWBillboadProject.
You will be able to see the winning installation from 4 October for two weeks at St Mary’s Close, facing towards town down busy Tong Road.
The project has been funded by Leeds Beckett University as a public space intervention using urban design to have a positive impact and support the New Wortley Community Centre.
Morgan trained as a Landscape Architect. He was inspired to develop the project from his own experience getting involved in community activities as part of his rehabilitation from substance misuse.
He feels urban design has a huge impact, shaping the environment and the messages it conveys to you and the people around you, and ensuring that people feel involved in the design and creation maximises the impact it can have.
I asked Gary Burns, a Wortley resident who was arriving for the first workshop session, why he was getting involved. He told me:
“I have been inspired by Morgan and others. I didn’t used to get involved, I thought it was too late to change the way things were going, but now I know we can help people to be better and this will be an inspiration to others.”