The new William Morris Design Line is a local community-focused design route through the streets of Walthamstow. Inspired by Morris’s statement ‘art made by the people and for the people’, this first year focuses on the local community coming together to celebrate creativity, resilience and inspire future young creatives. The Line is produced as part of Urban by Nature, a creative programme from lead partners William Morris Big Local and Wood Street Walls, supported by Creative Civic Change which uses the arts and creativity to create meaningful civic change.
This unique design route uses local street art as a social fabric connecting areas, creative organisations and partners together with new design collaborations and interventions. Each design theme and intervention weaves a creative journey through the area, taking people along the main roads of Wood Street, Forest Road and up to Blackhorse Road. The artist & designer Fandangoe Kid collaborated with a group of creative and fashion students from Waltham Forest College to explore themes of unity, change and design as a form of activism. They explored the language, statements and typographic design ideas around positive change and the future through Zoom workshops during lockdown. Fandangoe Kid, said: “I can't remember a time when engaging in politics felt more important. The piece is about gathering young people's voices, speaking out and pushing change forward. Every young person I have worked with to develop the narrative for this piece has said that there is no longer a place for apathy when it comes to politics, we have to push change forward together now and 2020 has been exemplary of this – things are urgent; we can't afford to stay silent, any of us.”
The launch event attracted funders, local business partners and the leader of Waltham Forest Council, Cllr Claire Coghill.
Claire said: “Being the first London Borough of Culture last year really allowed the creative community of Waltham Forest to come together and showcase its incredible talent and this project involving Waltham Forest College students and the local community is a clear reminder that culture is still at the heart of the borough.”
College Principal, Janet Gardner said: “I am delighted that students from Waltham Forest College have been able to take part in this exciting project, working with leading artist Fandangoe Kid, the production team and key community partners. We greatly value the voice of our young people and are proud that they have created an uplifting and powerful, large scale art installation called ‘Stairwell of Dreams’ on the iconic college steps”.