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Selection of Participatory Projects


Exploring the Environment Exploring the Environment   Nature in mixed media Nature in mixed media
Sculpture Trail Finale - Our Sculpture Trail      

1mile2 is an ongoing global arts and ecology project that inspires communities to explore the cultural and ecological diversity of their neighbourhoods through artistic engagement.

Launched in 2009, the programme has so far involved 42 artists, 18 ecologists, 14 creative organisations and reached over 13 500 people in 10 countries.

Melanie was the lead artist for 1mile2 Smethwick in 2009-11, the first of the UK Square Mile projects, in collaboration with Visiting Arts, The Wildlife Trust, Hybrid and Ulfah Arts. Smethwick which sits between Birmingham and the Black Country, used to be an important centre for industry during the industrial revolution, but since that has faded a vibrant multi-cultural community has developed around the old canals now used for leisure only, the railway and a main road, which all cut through the area. The aims of the project were for Melanie and Paul Stephenson (senior ecologist for the Wildlife Trust) to collaborate and lead creative activities that enabled vital dialogue and knowledge sharing within and between cultural and geographic communities. Arif Mahmood, artist from Karachi, also worked with us via a residency for two months. The Square Mile website and blog were the platform for all our endeavors and we recorded everything we did here and connected with other Square Mile projects in the UK and the world.

Some of our activities over the three years included:
  • Nature walks along the old canals of former industrial Smethwick
  • Bringing groups of people together who would not normally engage with each other though drawing and nature based arts activities.
  • Exploring the local wildlife and High Street through mixed media art workshops
  • Guerilla art placed along the High Street and canal banks
  • The finale of our project a mini sculpture trail