I’d already spoken to a lot of the staff and students at Warwick, but how to get out to the public was something different. During the pandemic, the project was put on pause. I decided to use the time for research. Sarah introduced me to Mike Tooby, a writer and curator at Bath Spa University and Ben Hayday, community officer at Warwick, as mentors and our conversations developed into a dialogue about how communities can feel and express ownership.
Part of Warwick University's mission is to be accessible to all, and part of the role of the mural is to make the building less ‘intimidating’ as a university building, to allow it to talk to a wider community.
We decided to initially engage with just one school and chose one in Canley – an area geographically close to the University, but culturally a million miles away. At this point, most schools were offering remote learning. Ben, Mike and I developed an interactive activity that looked at Murals - what they are, Coventry’s murals and particular, one that is in Canley, alongside some of the work in the Warwick University collection.
I was thinking about colour in the mural, and how to make it meaningful and asked the children to fill in shapes with different colours and respond to abstract questions: ‘What colour is Canley, and Why?’
The response was fantastic. It talked about nature and architecture which was evocative of the place. We decided to roll the activity out across Warwickshire through the University website, resulting in a palette of colours relating to the area.
Armed with the colours, I returned to the ceramic panels, to translate our palette to bright, impactful, coloured glazes.