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Wythenshawe Forever!

Wythenshawe Forever! was an artist-led environmental project located on a Manchester housing estate characterised by social exclusion, deprivation and huge levels of resilience.

In collaboration with community radio station (Wythenshawe FM) and the MERCI environmental centre, the project interrogated attitudes toward climate change through a combination of artist led activity and the development of community agency and social capital.

UHC worked with local residents to develop and deliver a series of artist-led projects centering around the ‘power station’; a thirty foot installation housing workshops and activity. The project culminated in the ‘Party Without Pollution’ in July, 2007. This unique community festival was powered by the energy saved and generated throughout the project, making Wythenshawe the UK’s first town to have its own totally carbon neutral free festival.

More than 800 visitors attended the event, which featured the world’s only bicycle powered photocopier, a solar powered cinema, a chip fat fuelled sound system and a free organic restaurant. The restaurant was stocked by the project allotment, cared for by children from St. Paul’s High School. UHC has continued to run the allotment as the ‘Food Factory’ project and it has provided opportunities for local people to examine health and food sustainability in their communities.

Wythenshawe Forever! created a unique local funding model; due to its proximity to the airport, projects situated in Wythenshawe are habitually funded and branded by a handful of local businesses. However, this project provided the opportunity for local people to create, drive and power their own events.

Commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs