Future Makers names Ben Parry as lead artist for Arts Council project

When we established Maker’s Yard in our Trent Basin scheme, we wanted to support the creation of a community space with a strong focus on promoting circularity. Our first tenant was Future Makers, a creative hub for entrepreneurial artists, designers and makers, on a 9,000 sqft plot in the heart of Nottingham. The culmination of years of research & development, the one-of-a-kind project launched a groundbreaking initiative in 2023: the Waste Plastic Studio. 

Earlier this year, Future Makers announced that thanks to generous funding from Arts Council England, talented artists were shortlisted to lead the project. This artist would be tasked with turning waste plastic into a community sculpture, creating meaningful art from recycled materials from the site. 

After an international response to the lead artist open call, the four artists shortlisted came from all corners of the UK, with varying experiences in working with recycled materials. 

After shortlisting, a panel of independent experts were assembled to decide the winner. The panel included the eco committee at the Bluecoat Academy Aspley, as well as Blueprint CEO, Samantha Veal and igloo Creative Director, John Nordon.  

Ben Parry was named as the winner of the lead artist accolade. Ben’s work spans art, ecology, urbanism, and social change. His artistic practice includes large scale public sculpture, exhibitions and collaborative, community led projects. He has consistently explored themes of waste, recycling, and pollution. 

The Waste Plastic Studio aims to redefine the role of plastic waste by turning it into a valuable resource for art, innovation, and sustainability, breathing new life into discarded material and turning it into a valuable resource through means of creative expression and environmental consciousness. 

The result of the art will be an outdoor public sculpture at Future Makers, funded by the Arts Council England, designed to provoke thought on the role of plastic in everyday life and get the local community thinking about sustainable design. 

Samantha Veal, CEO at Blueprint said: 

“We’ve been working with Future Makers for four years now, and we’ve seen this innovative sustainability project go from foundational planning to now engaging with the community and producing exactly what the team set out to do – turning waste plastic into art. 

“The Waste Plastic Studio ethos of repurposing materials and community engagement aligns similarly with how Blueprint develops its projects, so our partnership has been very holistic.” 

John Nordon, Creative Director at igloo added: 

“Future Makers and the Waste Plastic Studio go hand-in-hand with igloo’s Footprint approach. Through the work at the studio and this new sculpture that Ben will be working on, Future Makers are changing the narrative around plastic waste, inspiring the Trent Basin community.”  

For more about Future Makers, visit their website: https://www.future-makers.co.uk/ 

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