In October 2019, Kirklees Council commissioned Beam to develop a Public Art Plan for Huddersfield Town Centre focussing on the 6 key regeneration areas.
This plan connects with Kirklees’ wider ambitions to improve the centre of Huddersfield alongside the developments laid out in the Huddersfield Blueprint.
Beam carried out extensive research and consultation with key stakeholders as well as holding an open community consultation day and managing an online public survey, the results of which directly influenced and shaped the final plan.
The research and consultation strongly indicated a need for the public art plan to promote inclusivity and celebrate Huddersfield’s diverse cultural heritage reflecting innovation and the
town’s forward-thinking nature. Respondents were passionate about Huddersfield’s heritage relating to industry, textiles, engineering, politics and music and felt that it was very important for public art to share these stories to strengthen the identity of the town.
Feedback indicated a desire for public art to stimulate interaction between people and their surroundings, encourage exploration, learning and play and to support shared intercultural experiences for all ages. There was strong support for the public art plan to include opportunities for engagement and co-production, commissions for local artists and organisations, support for local artist initiatives and to embed learning and mentoring opportunities throughout.
Over the next ten years Huddersfield Town Centre will come alive through a programme of temporary and permanent public art commissions that invite residents and visitors to – Smile, Explore, Unite and Create. Commissioned artists will take inspiration from Huddersfield’s rich heritage, diverse culture and unique landscape to produce high quality artworks that residents, visitors and audiences can enjoy through all the senses. The plan was designed to be a hands on, practical document and received cabinet approval in 2020.