ABOUT
What we are doing
Why we are doing it
Who we are working with
FROME
The Mural
Creating the Mural
The Opening Event
What people said
NORWICH
The Mural
Creating the Mural
The Opening Event
What people said
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BRISTOL
The Mural
Creating the Mural
The Opening Event
What people said
LONDON
The Mural
Creating the Mural
The Opening Event
What people said
BACKGROUND AND RESULTS
Background to the Project
Context
Who is involved
How we do it
The results of our work

Frome

In Frome we worked with people with learning difficulties in partnership with Openstorytellers. Participants were living in different locations in Somerset: Dallimore Mead (Nunney), Northcroft (Cheddar), Street Farm (Draycott), or in their own homes. The mural is installed in Victoria Park, Frome.

The Mural

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The mural is in three sections, based on themes from the workshops:

1. What makes us happy

This section of the mural shows blue sky, yellow sand and blue sea. On the left there is a big smiling face. In the middle there is the outline of a big red heart with four silhouettes of people inside holding their arms out towards each other. These people are clearly taken from photographs of real people. On the left of this there is a woman running on the beach, also taken from a photograph. On the right there is a smaller red silhouette of someone horse riding towards the outline of a house with four windows, a door and a garden path. In the sea there is a stick drawing of someone with long yellow hair.  There is another drawing of a person swimming and of a dolphin.

This section shows the things that make people happy. Some images are based on photographs of people acting out the times they are most happy:

Some images are taken from original drawings:

Other images are used to show what people described through discussion:

2. What we hope for

This section is all on a pale blue background. At the top there is a silhouette of a bus. A dark blue silhouette of a driver wearing a cap stands next to the bus, with arm outstretched welcoming people on board. This figures stands on top of cloud with the word 'hopes' written inside it. In the middle there are figures of a man, woman and child holding hands. Next to this is a purple figure singing in front of microphone. To the right there is a person playing drums. This one shows a simple line drawing on top of a silhouette of a real person. At the bottom there are multicoloured lines with circles on top.

This section shows the things that people hope for in their lives. Again some images are taken from photographs, some from original drawings. The hopes included:

3. The difficulties we face

This section is against a grey background. On the left there is a picture of a hand and the word 'barriers'.  Next to this there is a picture of bus crossed out, with a person standing at a bus stop looking down the road. At the bottom there is a man receiving wages with one hand and giving back his benefits with the other hand. Next to him there are symbols for male and female public toilets, with a wheelchair user crossed out. At the bottom right is a silhouette of a person crouched over with his hands over his ears. At the top right there is a woman with her hands over her face, next to her there is black silhouette with her back turned.

This section is against a grey background. On the left there is a picture of a hand and the word 'barriers'. Next to this there is a picture of bus crossed out, with a person standing at a bus stop looking down the road. At the bottom there is a man receiving wages with one hand and giving back his benefits with the other hand. Next to him there are symbols for male and female public toilets, with a wheelchair user crossed out. At the bottom right is a silhouette of a person crouched over with his hands over his ears. At the top right there is a woman with her hands over her face, next to her there is black silhouette with her back turned.

This section shows the barriers that people described in their lives. Again some images are taken from photographs of participants acting out the issues. Some people wished to be recognisable in the picture.

The issues shown include:

People at the bigger residential centres involved in this work have use of a minibus. This makes it relatively easy for staff to get all residents to the same place. It becomes very hard when people follow their own personal preferences. This is increasingly hard as transport and other services are being cut. People living in their own homes in rural areas described particular difficulties getting out. It is ironic that the rhetoric of personal choice is being used at the same time as cutting services.

Creating the Mural

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Four people are standing round a table, two men and two women. The man at the front of the pictures has a grey t shirt, short hair and is wearing glasses. Behind him is a bearded man with a light blue jumper on.  He is also wearing glasses. At the far end of the table a woman is walking round. She has wavy dark hair and is wearing a black t shirt. At the other side of the table there is a young woman wearing a cream coloured hairband and matching long sleeved jumper. They are all looking at pieces of paper on the table with drawings on them. The drawings are not really visible. In this picture four people are busy painting on boards laid across tables. The peoples' faces are not clearly visible as they are bent over the boards. There is a man and a woman working on the board at the front, and a man and a woman working at the back. Another woman is standing with a camera. The board at the front of the picture is painted with a pale blue background and a large red silhouette of a face. The board at the back is painted in 3 stripes  dark blue at the bottom, yellow in the middle and pale blue at the top.

The Opening Event

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An official opening event was held to which participants invited anyone they wished to see the work and understand the messages. The event was well attended, with representatives from town, county and national government, as well as service providers, people from other residential centres, friends, family and local community.

Participants sang songs and explained their messages.

Here is a video of the making of the Frome mural, and the opening event.

Text only description of the video

This photograph is taken from just in front of the murals facing the audience. It is a very sunny day.  There is a crowd sitting under the shade of trees in the park. A group of 5 participants is standing at the front performing to the audience. There is equipment for amplifying the sound to the left of the performers. This photo shows two wheelchair users in front of the Happy section of the mural.

This photo shows a man wearing a suit, holding a microphone. He is standing in between the happy section and the barriers section. David Heath, MP for Somerton and Frome.

What people said

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We had very positive feedback from:

  1. Elected representatives
    The artwork is a real success, it has a strong message and it's beautiful. It also adds a splash of colour to a rather gloomy building. Please send my congratulations to all involved.
    Deputy mayor Pippa Goldfinger, July 2011
    It is very important that those issues were brought up. I do not automatically think disabled access when I plan an event or consider how something will impact on people with learning difficulties or physical access problems. It does need to keep being brought to our notice. Tiresome but the reality of it.
    County councillor Maggy Daniel, July 2011
  2. Participants
    I'll really miss this work. I've enjoyed it so much.
    Thank you, I really liked doing it.
    I'm so proud of it.
  3. Members of the public passing by
    I'll be very proud to show people when they come to the town
    Brightens up the area and catches your eye
    Brilliant
    Good to have in the park
    Brightens up the area.
    Deserves respect
    Whoever did it was very clever
    Makes you stop and think

Press for the opening event

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Text only version of press articles about the opening event

From the Somerset Standard:
Article titled 'Victoria Park mural to be unveiled'

Article titled 'Park mural puts barriers to life in the spotlight'

Article titled 'Disabled create art for park'