Did the introduction of art into new town development have a significant positive effect on the locality including:
- reduced crime rates
- positive economic indicators
- social cohesion
- health indicators
- life chances – mobility indicators
WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF ART INSTALLED IN NEW TOWNS?
- support environment
- who were the artists? Boyson, Henderson, Chimisky, others?
- education – how did locals respond?
- paper over mistakes
- compensate for ugly architecture of slab concrete blocks
- a revolutionary or even subversive element
HOW DID 21ST CENTURY ARTISTS RESPOND TO NEW TOWNS
- Rise up and Build installation
- Grafitti artists
- My own work
MATERIALS What materials did the artists and the builders use? Did the architects want materials to be used for both artistic and building purposes? Any locally sourced materials ? For example decorative concrete blocks outside the Skelmersdale Library, and decorative subway entrances in Digmoor leading to the factories. GEOGRAPHY Skelmersdale Development Corporation inherited coal fields and former brick works and significant post industrial waste – slag heaps. Did this encourage them to think artistically in their creation of an Utopia? POPULATION Were the new towns build for locals – dispossessed communities from completely different areas? Skem has a history of the alien community, from the thousands of Welsh miners brought here to mine, to the North Liverpudlians from Scottie Road brought here to industries such as Courtaulds, Thorns and Dunlop. Did any of the art or buildings recognise the inheritance of the Liverpudlians – see the Parade shopping arcade, and the central shopping centre at the Digmoor estate was built like the entrance to a football stadium. Was this sensitive recognition of the background of the new inhabitants – or a disagreeable joke?
Digmoor Parade, key hole architecture Skem style. The bollards you can see are not images painted on the wall behind, but the real surrealist thing.