In January 2022 we were awarded £159,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to carry out an exciting intergenerational heritage learning project in partnership with Arch Creative and Shaun Knapp. The project explores the irreverent and rebellious Punk youth subculture and it’s legacy, and will lead to a major exhibition at Leicester’s New Walk Museum and Art Gallery and Soft Touch Arts from 27th May – 2nd September 2023. Parts of the exhibition will then tour to Nottingham’s Backlit Gallery and Northampton Museum who will feature their own local Punk history. This project follows on from the successful 2019 Mods: Shaping a Generation project run in partnership with Arch Creative and Shaun Knapp, which attracted 30,000 visitors from across the UK and boosted the local economy by £1.7 million
The project is protecting heritage at risk by collecting interviews, memories and loan items from local Leicester Punks and key protagonists of the national scene. Young people involved with Soft Touch Arts are at the heart of the curation team, working alongside Soft Touch, Arch Creative and Shaun Knapp to learn about the Punk youth subculture and sharing their ideas to help shape the design for the exhibition. We have also offered 3 paid curation and film production internships for young people and linked with Leicester University and De Montfort University to offer a range of student placements and volunteering.
Young people are at the heart of the project
Between September ’22 and April ’23 we’re also involving around 250 young people across the city to present their ideas on what Punk means now and to explore parallel social and political themes such as Rock Against Racism/Black Lives Matters, feminism and the Me Too movement, LGBTQ+ rights and activism and new social and political challenges such as the environment crisis. We are delivering a series of creative projects in partnership with schools, (New College Leicester and Ellesmere); Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth College; De Montfort University Arts Design & Humanities and Computer Science and Informatics departments; Curve Young Company and through open recruitment. Young people are being supported to express their creativity and responses as they learn about the subculture from those that were there, and produce fanzines, graphics, art, film, music, fashion, textiles, hair and make-up styling ,and more which will feature in the exhibitions.
Major Features of the exhibition
The exhibition will feature Roger K Burton’s exciting collection of original Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren clothing, Jamie Reid’s mural telling the story of Punk and local loans of clothing and ephemera from Leicester Punks, with young people’s work central to the exhibition sitting alongside the nostalgic content. Punk: Rage & Revolution will be an ambitious, exciting and immersive multimedia exhibition that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.
Punk Cultureclash Festival Weekend
To tie in with and enhance the exhibitions a Punk and Counterculture festival weekend will take place between 18-20th August 2023 with local music and arts venues, outdoor events and shops, bars and restaurants programming their own Punk or youth subculture themed events. The aim is to increase footfall to the exhibition and bring economic benefit to the city by providing a one of a kind counterculture festival for Leicester.
We would like to thank our project sponsors BID Leicester, PPL PRS Ltd and Leicester City Council and our internship sponsor De Montfort University.