New street art trail to celebrate Batley opening up after lockdown

Batley is opening up after lockdown and to celebrate, a street art trail coordinated by Creative Scene is set to launch later this month.

Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 7:00 am
Artwork at Batley Train Station by Emmeline North

With new artworks and murals created by leading artists, the town will be telling its stories with new art works on walls, banners and through a new app.

Batley Train Station is the first site on the route of The Batley Street Art Trail, with a vibrant new collection of painted art works filling the doors and windows of the station and platforms.

The official launch will take place at the station on Friday, October 8 from 1pm–4pm. All are welcome.

This project is funded by Kirklees Council and part of its #HEARTyourtown initiative in North Kirklees.

Coun Will Simpson, cabinet member for culture and Greener Kirklees, said: “The creative sector in Kirklees has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic.

"We are proud to be supporting artists to take a lead in brightening up our towns as we open up after lock down through the #HEARTyour town project.”

The launch event will be a party occasion and will include students from Upper Batley High School giving a tour of the art works, and with live music by walkabout street band The Skiband, tea and cakes by Friends of Batley Train Station with some welcoming speeches at 1pm.

Emmeline North has created "The Joy Project" - twenty-six individual and unique designs that fill the window and door panels at Batley Train Station.

In the summer, she worked with school students in Year eight (aged 12–13) at Upper Batley High School to introduce them to wood block printing and pattern workshops. Her striking paintings make reference to the town’s architecture and the contours of the hills around the town and the River Calder.

Objects found around the site - including bedspring coils, as well as textile patterns - create a rich patchwork of colour and shapes that capture the diverse local cultures.

She said: “I love the idea of turning art galleries inside out by creating installations that can be enjoyed in everyday life.”

Tony Baxter, regional director at Northern, said: “We are delighted to partner with Creative Scene and the Friends of Batley Station as part of the street art trail.

"It complements our broader station improvement strategy, and this colourful work is welcoming for anyone arriving at the station - something for everyone in the community to enjoy.”

Richard Isaac, regional community and sustainability manager, Northern Trains Ltd, has been closely involved in the development of the trail.

He said: “Now that the Covid rail recovery is gathering momentum, customers are returning in numbers.

"We are seeing a huge increase and people across the North want to explore and rediscover their local area.

"Batley is a great gateway to our network. The new artwork emphasises Batley as a fantastic welcoming gateway to a great place, with a rich history with lots of opportunities to see do and experience things in the town; and more importantly meet great people who reflect the culture and diversity of the North.”

Friends of Batley Train Station are a key partner. The group's chair and local councillor, Gwen Lowe, said: “We are very proud of our station and so happy to be a landmark location at the start of the trail."

Later in the autumn, the next new artwork will be unveiled on the large gable end wall of Redbrick Mill. "The Tree of Life" has been designed by artist Tom Wood who works out of the Mill at Redbrick Artists studios.

Tom has run workshops with Year seven pupils from Batley Girls High School using a combination of painting, drawing, digital art, and collage. The plan is then to develop the trail across town with new digital arts works that can be viewed through an app.

Nancy Barrett, creative director for Creative Scene, said: “Creative Scene developed the trail and worked with our fantastic partners and artists with an idea is to celebrate Batley and its people and mark a hopeful new start for the town in 2021.

"Hundreds of school children and local residents are getting involved in creative workshops to develop the designs and tell their stories of the town.

"From next year, you will be able to follow a trail around the town and interact with the artworks through their phones. We will be using the latest augmented reality techniques to bring the works to life with music, poetry, and animations.

"We are really keen to hear from local Batley business - big or small - who’d like to get involved and be part of the trail.”