Illuminating journeys in Walthamstow

A child pinning up a piece of artwork that reads Hope
Published: 10 October 2023
Filed under: Regeneration and Housing

The above image Credits are: from Rosie Taylor Photography

This summer, we’ve been working with Greenaway and Greenaway, and Wood Street Walls on an engagement programme with the Walthamstow community to shape public art along Hoe Street as part of the ‘Illuminating Journeys’ project.  

The creative project builds on previous engagement, including last year’s research on creativity and culture in Walthamstow. During the summer we worked with local groups and residents to shape mural artworks and light projections that will help wayfinding and navigation in Walthamstow town centre as part of the £17.2m Levelling Up Fund Culture for All programme.  

The Levelling Up Funding is going towards cultural and creative public space projects along Hoe Street, Walthamstow High Street, and St James Street to liven up the town centre and encourage more people to spend time in the area to boost business for local shops, bars and restaurants, and the famous Walthamstow Market as our cultural scene grows.  

We met and connected with around 70 participants of different ages, abilities and backgrounds for creative workshops, reaching out to residents and members of the community in care homes, holiday clubs, refugees and asylum seeker communities. We also held a session focussing on women and girls, giving space to those who sometimes feel unsafe or harassed on the streets, and a dedicated workshop for businesses in Hatherley Mews for a mural that will help attract more visitors. 

A hand with scissors making a collage and a piece of art

The workshops included conversations about the meanings and relevance of words, creating collages, pattern making and colour choices, and looked at journeys and thought about how to navigate shared spaces through a creative process.   

One participant created a pattern with the word ‘Hope’, they said: “No matter how dark the situation is there is hope. We felt it in Covid, when we were isolated, we had hope that we could come out of it. And we did, we changed and come out of the darkness better and more thoughtful to each other.” 

The engagement programme also brought residents together, giving people an artistic way to express themselves and a feeling of ownership in helping to shape the murals, as well as learning more about where they live and their neighbours and artistic techniques. 

Another word that held meaning to residents is ‘Create’, one participant said: “Being creative is really important. Being creative is my happy place. Access to be creative is fundamental to human wellbeing.” 

A group of people sat down at a table making collages

Greenaway and Greenaway will work with four mural artists and refer to the creative feedback and words that resonated with residents to shape the mural designs, and how the space and patterns will work together to navigate along Hoe Street.

The mural project is subject to permissions and expected to complete by the end of this year to complement the growth of Walthamstow as a creative district with Council-owned spaces such as Soho Theatre Walthamstow, Chestnuts House, and Vestry House Museum.  

Find out more about the Levelling Up Fund in Walthamstow