Shining a light on the Thornton Estate

A housing estate in Hull has been transformed into a brightly-coloured work of art this week, as part of a Hull 2017 project.

I Wish To Communicate With You has been spearheaded by the social enterprise Goodwin Development Trust, and has seen residents of the Thornton Estate working closely with an international artist to turn their homes into an awe-inspiring art installation.

Developed from an initial concept by Italian artist Silvio Palladino, the installation has involved the majority of the Thornton Estate’s 600 residents, living in 240 homes. Over the course of 2017 the project will grow and gather pace, to include neighbouring buildings like William Booth House, Adelaide School, the Danish Church and the Hull Royal Infirmary.

Artist Silvio Palladino has taken inspiration from Hull’s connection with the sea and the colours of international maritime flags – used to communicate between ships – and has brought the project to life with lighting design consultant James Bawn and the people of Hull.

Palladino works with residents to choose their colour, then tinted filters are fitted into the communal lighting areas and coloured sheets are stuck in the window panes of each property.

James Bawn said: “The process is simple but the effect is nothing short of spectacular. When darkness falls, the whole blocks light up and can be seen for miles.”

Sharon Darley, quality of life manager at Goodwin Development Trust, said: “I Wish To Communicate With You is about raising aspirations, self-confidence and improving the quality of life for a community blighted by bad press and negative assumptions. This will be the enduring legacy from the project and local residents will have a more positive understanding of and interest in arts and culture as a result of participation.”

It is brilliant to be involved in such a positive project and it makes me feel really proud to live here.

Resident Robin Watkin added: “When we heard Hull was going to be City of Culture, to be honest, we didn’t think it was for us. But this project is all about inclusion. It has connected us to our immediate neighbours but it is also a way of waving a big hello to the rest of the city who are welcome to come and visit our estate to see it for themselves. It has even made it onto the national radar, which we never could have imagined, putting where we live on the map. It is brilliant to be involved in such a positive project and it makes me feel really proud to live here.”

I Wish To Communicate With You is one of 60 new projects to receive funding through the Hull 2017 Creative Communities Programme, which is being delivered in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund, a Principal Partner of Hull 2017.

Henri Duckworth, executive producer at Hull 2017, said: “I Wish To Communicate With You is a fantastic project that is bringing local people together and getting them involved in the creation of a piece of public art right on their doorstep. How many people can boast that they live in an illuminated multi-coloured installation?”