Art from the people

A new Walthamstow mural of local community worker Steve Barnabis
A new Walthamstow mural of local community worker Steve Barnabis features along the route of William Morris Design Line

Lawrence Walker from William Morris Big Local introduces a new design trail connecting creativity, stories and activism

A collective of local organisations is inviting people to explore a new design route in Walthamstow this month, as part of London Design Festival.

William Morris Design Line (WMDL) is a programme of collaborations inspired by buried history and modern-day politics, staged in the streets and hosted online. Inspired by Morris’s statement – “art from the people, for the people” – the week-long event starting on Saturday 12th September sees the local community coming together to celebrate creativity, resilience and inspire future young designers.

Produced by community organisation William Morris Big Local and street art project Wood Street Walls under a partnership called ‘Urban by Nature’, WMDL is a platform of ideas and inspiration relating to design, shared through public installations, events and family activities. The team of residents behind it hope to shine a spotlight on local people doing exciting things in the fields of art, design and social justice – telling stories about how people-powered movements are affecting change and building community with creativity.

The route itself follows the main roads of Wood Street, down Forest Road, and up to Blackhorse Lane, with small deviations on side roads to find new and existing street art from Wood Street Walls, as well as other surprises. The programme is in development and will appear online via a dedicated website.

Some of the highlights of the week-long event include the unveiling of a striking new piece of public art, working with future young designers from Waltham Forest College and artist Fandangoe Kid, and exploring themes of unity and activism.

An exhibit will open a window into the social history of craft and reveal a local connection to a world-famous family known for 20th Century furniture making.

Inspired by the ‘Mini Morris’ project developed during lockdown by local artist Sean Rodrigo, children and families are invited to go on a ‘Morris Hunt’ along the route, ending with an exhibition of artworks.

With Blackhorse Workshop and youth group Blackhorse Responders, we will also host a workshop and talk with Extinction Rebellion, exploring activism and open-source design. The group will also be working with industrial designer Liang-Chung Jen on repurposing hardware to create new forms of design.

A key aim for the programme is to support independent businesses with passing trade. They need our love and cash. The intention for WMDL longer-term is to work with a wider range of partners and sponsors to build out the maiden year into a rolling programme and yearly event to inspire more creative civic change.

People are encouraged to reach out to Urban by Nature with programme ideas for future events and creative happenings. I look forward to seeing you en route!

For more information about William Morris Design Line, taking place 12th-20th September:
Instagram @williammorrisdesignline
Visit wmdesignline.com