A New Direction was commissioned by Westfield to manage a two-year creative programme, The Story of Stratford, as part of the development's broader public art programme.
At 1.9 million sq ft, Westfield Stratford City was set to be the largest urban shopping centre in Europe and the prestigious gateway to the Olympic Park. The project documented the progress of the Stratford City development, from a building site in 2009 to an operational retail centre upon its opening in March 2011, and explored how the history and subsequent regeneration of Stratford would change the lives of the students and their families.
The project involved visual artist Helen Marshall who worked with participants from local schools - Colegrave Primary School and Stratford School in East London.
The project was designed to connect local young people with the Westfield Stratford City development to encourage them to participate and own the changes that are happening around them.
Local artist, Helen Marshall worked with the the Art teacher and Year 10 pupils from Stratford School, and teachers and Year 4 pupils from Colegrave Primary School over the year 2010/11, producing inspiring art works inspired by the physical transformation of the area.
In July 2011, A New Direction presented a free family-friendly exhibition of creative work produced by young people and lead artist Helen Marshall, celebrating The Story of Stratford.
Young people and families were invited to an open, interactive workshop with Helen Marshall to create their own artwork focusing on the changes taking place in Stratford.
The workshop was entirely interactive with participants creating large scale photo montages, collages, drawing and portraiture.
The pupils at Colegrave Primary School continue their relationship with elderly residents at Holden Point, through new project 'Stratford Explorers' a connection that was developed through this project.
The Story of Stratford programme provided a means for local young people to be able to connect with their environment and learn more about its past, present and future during a time of major regeneration activity within Stratford.
John Burton, Director of Westfield Stratford City: 'We commissioned 'The Story of Stratford' public arts programme as a means of local young people being able to connect with their environment and learn more about its past, present and future during a time of major regeneration activity within Stratford. Working with Helen Marshall and A New Direction, the young people have taken part in a series of arts-based programmes ranging from archaeological digs to photography projects, and have learnt a great deal about Newham and its history.'
The work produced can be seen on the Story of Stratford website - www.storyofstratford.com