- Date: 15 November 2011
- Artform: Visual arts
- Area: South West
Back to Black and White, a youth arts project which has already seen success is being rolled out among Swindon schools.
Over the summer 1,000 people attended an exhibition curated by young people aged 11 to 16, who have been working alongside digital artist Dani Landau. Inspired by Swindon photographer Albert Beaney's collection of 40,000 photographs of residents from the 1940s-70s, students took photos of people, tracked down some of those who were photographed by Beaney, and used images both past and present in their exhibition.
The exhibition was covered extensively by local and regional media, including BBC Points West. Visitors' comments included: 'Fascinating. This demonstrates the nature of working class family life.' and, 'One of the best community events Swindon has had in the last 20 years.'
The Youth Forum members hope the project will create better relationships between younger and older members of the community. Sixteen year old Harley Drew said, 'It's fun working with others and giving something back to the community.'
The project is a partnership between Swindon Youth Forum, Culture Swindon's Create and Artsmad teams, and the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery. The project received a £25,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund's Young Roots programme.
The Youth Forum members, who are all studying for their Arts Award, will work alongside Dani Landau as peer mentors to take the project out to four Swindon schools. Working with local community groups, students will talk to people about their past experience of Swindon. 130 young people will be supported as they curate their own individual exhibitions in their schools. In January, a final exhibition will bring together the work from the five groups.
Dienka Hines, Culture Swindon's Education Manager, said, 'This project celebrates Swindon's heritage past and present, through 5 original exhibitions and a showreel on the BBC Big Screen, reaching a total of 6,200 people. Back to Black and White is an example of an exciting arts heritage partnership where high quality artists and state of the art media technology is used to inspire and engage young people and communities in their heritage, history and sense of belonging. The young people's photography will create a lasting archive which reflects on Swindon's diverse communities today.'