Beware this Project! Colchester and Ipswich Museums

Colchester and Ipswich Museums

Amy Cotterill, 15.04.2013
Beware of this Project! was a collaboration between Colchester and Ipswich Museums, Colchester Youth Offending Team, NCP car parks and Brave Arts.

Its aims were:

  • To build the museums’ relationship with Colchester Youth Offending Team
  • To break down barriers between museums and young people
  • To see graffiti as an artform not an act of rebellion
  • To create a sense of pride and self confidence in young people
  • To decorate the space with images related to Colchester and its history
  • To advertise the museum in a new space and the museum in a new way to different people

During the three-phased project, the museum worked with young offenders to create street-art murals in two town car parks.

The murals depicted scenes from the last 2,000 years of Colchester’s history, including the Boudican revolt, the oyster trade and the success of local band Blur.  

The participants explored the local museums and their collections as well as the history and techniques of graffiti. They worked with street artists to plan, design and create the murals.

The time the young people spent on the project was counted towards their reparation hours, although some young people volunteered to do extra hours and one asked to continue on the project even though his hours were complete.

At the end of the project the young people gained self confidence and pride in their work. An unexpected outcome was that the young people looked up to the artists as role models and asked them for advice on various topics.

Participant quotes:

  • “It’s quite good this actually.”
  • “I really like this. It’s not as easy as he makes it look but it’s cool.”
  • “I’ve never been good at anything before but I am at this.”
  • “I’m quite proud of this actually. It was cool that I was able to design my own letters.”

Amy Cotterill is the learning and engagement officer at Colchester and Ipswich Museums