THE sun shone brightly on Stalybridge Cultural Consortia’s summer arts event at Holy Trinity Church.
Over the weekend of July 23 to 26, the area around the Trinity Street building was transformed into a creative space where people of all ages were able to reconnect and experience “this place [of mine]”, a digital world created by FutureEverything in collaboration with young people and artists from across Greater Manchester.
Included in the pop-up programme of activities were Afro-Brazilian percussion workshops by Gobal Grooves, installations by Made by Mortals, dance classes, and group workshops designed to spark the imagination and nurture connections to Stalybridge through art and creativity.
By exploring an exciting digital environment, visitors could reimagine the future of towns and high streets as a whole. They saw new work by local artists, heard young people’s opinions, and even contributed their own thoughts and ideas for the future of Stalybridge.
Artist Izzy Bolt led digital workshops that explored community, identity and future citizenship, and what makes Stalybridge so special.
Groups working with her designed augmented reality (AR) masks/face filters and created a collection of 3D objects which captured all the colours, textures and patterns that make Stalybridge unique.
On Monday, the Sarah England School of Dance hosted a mindful dance class, where participants used masks to help them feel more freedom of expression and explore whether taking on a new persona changed their experience.
Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council’s executive member with responsibility for culture, said: “It was wonderful to see our vision for Stalybridge’s future so imaginatively interpreted through so many strands.
“I have spoken before of my belief in the power of the arts to challenge and inspire us, and that’s what we encountered from ‘this place [of mine]’. I look forward to more events of this kind as Tameside’s vibrant arts scene slowly but safely re-emerges after so many months of pandemic.”
Cllr Eleanor Wills, who is leading the Stalybridge regeneration project, added: “The summer programme was one of many exciting events we have lined up that will encourage people to come into Stalybridge and experience our picturesque, friendly and historic town.
“Events like this, Foodie Friday and the redevelopment of the derelict police station are just a few examples of the ways Stalybridge is moving forward and changing for the better.”
FutureEverything producer Chris Wright added: “After what has been such a challenging 16 months, it was enjoyable and liberating to be able to deliver an event like this in person, with real people in a real town.
“It was great to experience such a lively atmosphere and we were glad that sharing ‘this place [of mine]’ contributed to the success of Stalybridge Foodie Friday.”