The Sixth Form Bolton students unveil heritage-filled art project at Manchester’s Trafford Palazzo

Talented art students from The Sixth Form Bolton have witnessed their work in the spotlight during a public art reveal at Trafford Palazzo, in TraffordCity.

Working in partnership with Peel, owners of TraffordCity, 10 first-year Art students from The Sixth Form Bolton completed a 3x3 square metre piece of artwork over a six-week period.

The mixed-media art mural which celebrates the heritage and history of TraffordCity can now be admired by visitors to Trafford Palazzo, located on the ground floor by the Metrolink.

Completed in June 2023, the contemporary piece is embellished with hand-drawn and hand-made elements, digital art, textiles and painting, designed to reflect Trafford Park’s diverse heritage, also highlighting the role it continues to play in our city today. The artwork includes personal touches including The Sixth Form Bolton Deputy Principal Sandra McManus’ father, who was born and bred in Salford and features in the art work three times. He is seen as an apprentice aged 15 at Metropolitan Vickers in Trafford Park, and as a sergeant in the Boys Brigade, if you look closely you can even see his passport photo for his bus pass.

The students followed a research process that ensured TraffordCity’s history became visually interweaved into the mural. This touched on the former deer park which once occupied the area, in addition to the placement of a map that was intentionally crafted in the sky of the mural.

For many students, this was a first insight into working on a professional brief as a team, as well as overseeing the creative process from start to finish. The commissioning of this piece also aimed to demonstrate to the students that there are opportunities to establish a career in the art sector and make a living as a creative.

The very talented future artists that collaborated on the project included former Ladybridge High School students Alisha Ahmed and Hana Akhtar, former Essa Academy students Mah Rukh Abbas Kossar and Ammarah Pariejwala, former Harper Green School students Sublime Tehamba and Tia Wakerley, former The Lowry Academy students Kirsten Edgar and Sophie Hulme, former Bolton Islamic Girl’s School student Hadiyah Kotwal, and Jade Evans from Little Lever School.

Robert Coyle, Teacher of Art at The Sixth Form Bolton, said:

“This project has been an incredible experience for both the students and teachers of our department at The Sixth Form Bolton. It’s been so enjoyable to watch the students grow in confidence and develop the skills required to succeed in a professional environment. We would like to thank Peel for providing our students with this opportunity and opening their eyes to different paths available within the art and creative industries. The mural is something that the students can always take pride in, wherever they wish to take their next steps.”

Sandra McManus, Deputy Principal at The Sixth Form Bolton, is delighted:

“What a fabulous piece of artwork; the students have produced a piece that depicts the social history of this important site from its heyday as an industrial park of huge magnitude and employment to the social, retail and leisure development that the area is today, not forgetting its physical geography and environmental importance. Seeing my dad, along with other previous workers and residents of the area on the artwork, leaves a lasting legacy of them for their families. It really brings historical the social fabric into the piece.”

Speaking on behalf of Trafford Palazzo, Kate Holland, Marketing Director at Peel said:

“We are delighted to unveil the long-awaited mural for display at Trafford Palazzo. The art department at The Sixth Form Bolton have been a pleasure to work with and are a shining example of why we continue to partner with people and projects in our local communities, to create meaningful impact. I am excited for Trafford Palazzo visitors to feel captivated by the mural just as we have, which will ultimately be a reminder of what TraffordCity has represented for generations.”

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