A Town Where Children Take The Centre Is A Town For Everyone
Bolton School Creative Arts

This April, the 'Town of Children' project will take place in Bolton - everyone’s invited! The former library site in Crompton Place will open as a hub for Creative Innovation for the remainder of 2024. Town of Children is a project where young people initiate a community conversation about positive social change in their town. Young people, teachers, and the wider Bolton community are invited to share ideas and explore changes, combining skills to transform the place into an innovation centre, contributing to a more vibrant, inclusive and creative Bolton.

Bolton’s youth-led arts collective, Creatives Now, is collaborating with international artists BASECLAN to offer an extraordinary month-long programme in April. Together, the collectives will take over the former library site, proposing creative challenges within the community and facilitating place-making workshops, action-painting, experimental intelligence, film-making, and creative health activities. A mural, ‘Bolton, Town of Children’, will be created during this period, designed and produced by artist and creative director of BASECLAN, Victor Seus, in collaboration with the people of Bolton. 

Bertine Bielderman, Creative Producer of BASECLAN, emphasises the pressing need to infuse public spaces with experiences of play and collaboration. She states, 'It's an urgency to enable people to reconnect with each other creatively to empower their community.' This initiative not only presents an opportunity for artistic exploration but also serves as a unique chance for the town's community to engage in discussions about the cultural change they wish to see. This comes at a crucial juncture as Crompton Place is slated for demolition, providing a chance to add public voice to what comes next.

‘Town of Children’ community events begin on April 2nd with a community design thinking session in Crompton Place. The community is invited to contribute ideas to the plans set to unfold in the new creative hub for Bolton. This event is followed by a mural development session on April 8 and a creative place-making event on April 11.

From April 3–6, youth art and design workshops including action painting will take place. On April 2nd, young filmmakers will get the opportunity to participate in a masterclass with Italian director Simone Turinese. The events of Town of the Children will be filmed by this team of young filmmakers and presented at the Bolton International Film Festival in October.

For teachers, there are two Experimental Intelligence workshops on April 9 and 10, exploring the question, ‘How can we inspire children to uncover their talents and connect to their town?’

Throughout the second half of April, the public will witness the gradual appearance of the mural in Bolton town centre. The celebration culminates on May 4th with an afternoon of community conversations, interventions and the unveiling of 'Bolton: Town of Children'. Apply to join these transformative events at www.townofchildren.com.

In a recent press release, Bolton Council Leader Cllr Nick Peel, expressed enthusiasm for renewal, stating, 'The redevelopment of Crompton Place is a once in a generation opportunity at the heart of the regeneration of our town centre, and I am sure everyone will join me in welcoming this major update. Shopping will always be an essential part of Bolton’s identity. But as more people shop online, modern town centres have to be about more than just retail. We are working to create a more vibrant destination where people want to live, work, study, eat out and enjoy our many cultural venues.’ Regeneration projects like this are backed by Council strategies to attract more visitors, hold more cultural events, and make the town centre a safer and more welcoming place.

In June, Creatives Now will present a Great Get Together event for Bolton as part of the Jo Cox Foundation’s national project. Young people are invited to design and deliver the event by joining Creatives Now in their regular weekend sessions. They are also inviting young people to participate in a youth trustee cultural leadership programme. To enrol in the organisation’s regular Saturday studio group, participate in film workshops, or signal interest in Creatives Now’s youth cultural leadership programme, contact them at [email protected] or visit their website www.creativesnow.org.

Creatives Now is a Bolton Cultural Education Partnership project delivered by representatives from Bolton at Home and Bolton School. The Easter offer is produced with funding support from Bolton Council and Arts Council England via a Greater Manchester Creative Health Region #BeeWell initiative with Curious Minds.

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