6th June 2023
“You don’t need a lot to make something beautiful. Design and art are around us everywhere, from the floor to the buildings, to what we are wearing.” – student at Upper Batley High School.
If you’ve taken a walk around Batley recently you might have noticed the beginnings of our new Art Trail – thanks to artists Emmeline North and Tom Wood.
Launched earlier this year to brighten up the town after lockdown and inspire hope, we commissioned Emmeline and Tom to work with local students to co-create to large scale artworks together.
Working with Friends of Batley Station, Northern Rail and students from Upper Batley High School, Emmeline North has created The Joy Project a window mural in Batley Train station.
This project really developed with the work with the boys at Upper Batley High School. The students really embraced the workshop and the tasks set out to them by Emmeline. By having the students invested from the start, when it came to the day of unveiling the work with them and Friends of Batley station, it really felt as though the work was for them. It felt like the handing of a baton to the people of Batley to take and run with, to have pride in and celebrate.
Working with Redbrick Artists and Batley Girls’ High School, Tom Wood has created Tree of Life, a huge mural on the side of Redbrick Mill.
I think this piece of work is exactly what Batley needs, something colourful, hopeful and lively. Something celebrating something other than the past, what Batley was and but celebrating what Batley is: a forward-facing, resilient town, with a bright future.
The old artwork was put up in 1997 (one year after I was born!), so, to me, it has always been there, ever fading on the side of the mill.
To have now been involved in its revival feels monumental, something I had looked at time and time again, that in my lifetime faded from colour to sepia to grey, is now vibrant, flourishing and a beautiful piece of artwork to admire and be proud of. I am very proud to have had a part in that.
I was also delighted that the students at Batley Girls’ High Schools felt the same way as I did: “The reason why it is on that wall and why it’s out there in the public, is so the community can share it and so it can belong to them as much as it belongs to us.”
Find out more about Batley Art Trail here.