The Stoke-On-Trent Trent City Centre BID in partnership with the ADHD Foundation Neurodiversity Charity and many local businesses are bringing an uplifting and iconic public art installation to Stoke-on-Trent City Centre in July 2022.

The Neurodiversity Umbrella Project is a national arts installation which raises the awareness and understanding of our cognitive and learning differences, and celebrates the intelligence, talents and employability of every human being.

A vibrant canopy of hundreds of colourful umbrellas suspended above high streets and public spaces, it is designed to represent 1 in 5 people whom are neurodiverse and recognise the many positive strengths and abilities that comes with learning and thinking differently.

It will be displayed at multiple locations across the UK with Stoke-On-Trent City Centre being the first city to champion a Poetry & Digital Arts Engagement Programme funded by the Arts Council England.

This is an innovative engagement programme where life, art and technology collide. Professional artists at DYSPLA, digital creators at Carse & Waterman and published poet Jason Conway will be working with local schools and community youth groups to co-create Neurodiversity themed poetry. The presentation of this co-creation will animate the high streets of the City Centre and beyond with an Augmented Reality [AR] activated poetry trail, [AR] comic characters, a Text Art wall mural designed by We Are Culla, and a virtual gallery of poetry by young people.

The engagement programme will embrace Children & Young People’s creativity and the positive strengths they bring to help their community and city uplift and thrive through poetry and digital culture.

It is part of the ADHD Foundation – Neurodiversity Charity’s wider campaign to create social change and improve career paths and life chances for neurodiverse individuals by recognising and harnessing the positive skills and contributions that they can bring to a workforce and the wider society.

Richard Buxton, CEO of Stoke on Trent City Centre Bid said: “We are immensely proud to be hosting such a breathtakingly beautiful art installation that collaboratively works to uplift our City Centre whilst raising awareness for ADHD and the Neurodiverse community.  The Poetry and Digital Art Engagement programme is an exciting opportunity to both educate and engage our local community and we are confident the outcome of such a collaboration will captivate an enormous number of visitors to our City Centre.”

umbrella-project-sot-july-2022A free launch event will be taking place on Piccadilly, Stoke-on-Trent City Centre on Saturday 16 July, 10am with an opening address from the ADHD Foundation’s CEO, Dr. Tony Lloyd, bespoke dance performance by The Crescent Academy, Spoken Word recital by street poet Gareth Williams, and meet the Augmented Reality characters on their debut beneath the Umbrellas.

The launch will coincide with the Stoke BID’s flagship event the Better World Festival, with a full programme of music, speakers and family friendly workshops.

The Poetry & Digital Art Engagement Programme includes:

Micro [AR] Poetry Trail – An addition to DYSPLA’s Words Not Walls series. Discover [AR] activated micro poetry performances co-created with students at Intuition School.

Potteries Shopping Centre shopfronts – until end of July

3 empty shopfronts in the City Centre, sites to be revealed – until 1 October

Umbrell AR – A series of animated AR characters co-created by Young People from YMCA and digital creators at Carse & Waterman/ Framescape

Alongside the Umbrella Project on Piccadilly – until 1 October

Word Art Mural  – We Are Beautifully Unique – Poetry themed on Neurodiversity by school children and professional poet Jason Conway on a mural creation designed by We Are Culla. 

City Peace Garden, Marsh Street – legacy piece 

Virtual Umbrella Gallery – A QR Code sits beside the mural taking you to a virtual 3D exhibition on the ADHD Foundation website where the original poems are displayed along with work created by neurodiverse students from Pinc College on self-identity.

Online and can be accessed from City Peace Garden

Please visit the ADHD Foundation – Neurodiversity Charity website https://www.adhdfoundation.org.uk/ or contact ivy.wongtebbitts@adhdfoundation.org.uk for further details.

The installation will be in Stoke-On-Trent City Centre from 16 July – 1 Oct 2022.

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