Colourful transformations are beginning across St Pauls. The culmination of a two-year co-design-and-build collaboration between The Architecture Centre, St Pauls Learning Centre, St Pauls Adventure Playground, Talo and the local people of St Pauls.
Artist team Graft have begun painting murals at three community hubs. The designs are inspired by the local community, selected from over 50 recipe submissions describing soul foods that represent the diverse communities of St Pauls.
Georgina Bolton, Project Lead for The Architecture Centre, who has produced the project in collaboration with local partners explains,
“We want to inspire people to walk and cycle through St Pauls whilst transforming local social and community businesses and creating places to gather and play. In our first phase of work at the start of lockdown, we planted trees, now we’re onto phase two - painting murals along the ‘Green Way’ inspired by local recipes and cultural soul foods. The final phase will feature infrastructure changes to connect existing community hubs to their green spaces and creating places for communities to gather, eat, park bikes and enjoy nature. Explore the route this Autumn to take in the vibrant murals and transformations at St Pauls Adventure Playground, St Pauls Learning Centre and the Halston Drive Community Room.”
Local architect Shankari Raj has been working with local people on the project, working with them to think about how these community spaces can be better connected through design.
Shankari Raj explains: “The Green Way Project is an amazing opportunity to connect creativity with capital development, for local artists and communities to create permanent changes to the local area. Inspired by food as a common language that nourishes and connects us - this project has the power to bring us together even when we are apart.
The route encourages pedestrians to take a less polluted route through St Pauls ‘‘The Green Way’ - in a time when engaging with green spaces and their value has never been so important.”
The project started back in March 2019 with 12 months of community workshops and events, including street side engagement with young people along ‘The Green Way’ route. In a ‘Making it Work(shop) local communities joined forces with local architects, planners and urban designers to co-design ideas for meaningful public realm improvements to their local neighbourhood.
The Architecture Centre then led successful fundraising for the project around ‘The Green Way’ vision. Continuing the engagement with local communities the partners launched a ‘What is Your Soul Food?’ online competition through Spring 2020 which saw over 200 people enjoying and sharing recipes with neighbours in lockdown.
The recipes submitted during the digital campaign have gone on to inspire permanent artworks on the Green Way which reflect and celebrate the diversity and culinary heritage of the area. The three recipes selected are Amina’s Samosas, Glen’s Akee and Saltfish and Tara’s Dolma.
Local recipe winner Tara Miran comments: “I love the many different food cultures you see in St Pauls. To have my Kurdish Dolma recipe as a permanent feature in the local community is a recognition of my culture. Having this Dolma recipe for all the community to see and share feels like an act of love and acknowledgement for my Kurdish
roots. It is a celebration of the love for food amongst the different communities of St Pauls and I’m looking forward to cooking the other recipes represented at the other sites.’
(Tara’s Dolma recipe will be featured at Halston Drive Community Room).
Graft’s mural designs feature the winning recipes and include ingredients such as vine leaves, palms, banana leaves, hibiscus, chilli peppers and sweet chestnuts. The designs also use a colour scheme part designed by the children and young people of St Pauls (ages 5-12 years).
This project connects community creativity with capital development and design, whilst celebrating the role of food in the district of St Pauls by encouraging local Bristolians to take pictures of the recipe murals and bring them to life in their own homes.