Join the Flagged up walk this weekend
Deborah Weinreb is the artist running the Neighbourhood Arts project, Flagged Up, in Horfield and Lockleaze. Join her and these two communities for the launch walk this Saturday 10 October.
the project aims to draw attention to some wonderful green spaces that many Bristolians are not aware of
Social artist Deborah Weinreb has always been fond of the Horfield and Lockleaze areas.
For her Bristol 2015 Neighbourhood Arts project, she wanted to work with the people of Horfield and Lockleaze to give residents of the two areas a better sense of community, while lifting their spirits day-to-day.
From the very beginning, it was clear what the locals wanted: a project that would define a route between Horfield Common and Stoke Park, something that would encourage people to visit the latter – a “beautiful chunk of the wild,” as Deborah observes, “that not many people know about.”
This is how Flagged Up came to be.
The installation comprises twenty-six banners dotted along the route connecting Horfield Common to Stoke Park (via Gloucester Road, Wessex Avenue, Lockleaze Road, Constable Road, Gainsborough Square, Cameron Walk, and Romney Avenue).
Each banner bears a message, with images on both sides.
These range from colourful neon footprints to hot air balloons and photos of meadows.
give residents of the two areas a better sense of community, while lifting their spirits day-to-day
The banners are strongly inspired by sustainability and Deborah is a firm believer in the idea that “if we develop the way that we behave with each other, then it’s a natural progression that we develop how we behave towards the planet.”
For Deborah, green thinking and acting are inextricably linked to community spirit.
It’s no surprise then that several of the banners were created in collaboration with the local community.
Once the project was confirmed, Deborah talked to lots of people in the community, read all the notice boards, and joined several community events in which she delivered workshops with the help of other Green Capital artists.
These workshops were designed to include people from as many different parts of the community as possible – from toddlers and parents to retirees and older community members.
One of the techniques used to produce some of the images was leaf printing.
Painting with leaves and twigs (“basically, stuff that can be found around”), was not only a very accessible way to create art, but also one that encouraged the participants to look around them, to explore their surroundings for materials that could be used.
The desire to get people to pause and look around is, in fact, a major aim of the project.
Deborah recognizes that we are all involved in our daily lives, each trying to meet our own challenges.
“We get caught up into a tornado of our-day-to-day,” she observes, “and we forget about building a spirit of community.”
She hopes that, over the coming months, the banners will go some way towards changing that, but for Deborah, the most important thing to come out of the project so far has been the realization that there are an astounding number of community-minded people out there.
She has been particularly inspired by the wonderful initiatives organized at Horfield Community Orchard, Stoke Park Estate, Horfield Common, and Manor Farm to name a few.
People also need to be reminded to engage with the world around them, so the banners are there as “impulses for thought”, flagging things up.
The messages they carry range from the obvious (“Bee friendly”, “Love colour”) to the abstract (“Felt”, or “Appreciate Endless Beauty”).
Some of the banners are meant to be obscure, but as lots of people will be seeing them on a regular basis, on the way home from school or work, they will develop their own interpretations, and draw conclusions about their meanings.
At the same time, on a fundamental level, the banners are there to lift the spirits of the community by cheering up the streets and celebrating the two neighbourhoods.
Deborah hopes Flagged Up will go some way towards putting Lockleaze and Horfield on the map in a positive way.
Like many areas of Bristol, the communities have had their challenges, but by connecting Horfield Common and Stoke Park, the project aims to draw attention to some wonderful green spaces that many Bristolians are not aware of.
Stoke Park, Deborah observes, “has ancient woods, it’s got history, it’s got wild spaces, it’s got animals…It’s just fabulous.”
In addition, Flagged Up aims to draw the two communities together by generating more crossover between their respective populations.
To celebrate the installation of the banners, Deborah will lead a walk following the marked-out route, with some surprises along the way.
In the spirit of welcoming the community, there will be soup for people when they arrive – whipped-up by the local youth club – as well as home-made bread rolls – baked by the local school’s domestic science class.
There will also be mementos for those joining the walk, a way for them to take home a small part of the project in miniature.
To find out more about joining the walk visit the Facebook event page.