Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Enterprise Awards 2013

Cultural Impact

An illustration of quaker womenSpecial credit to John Atkin for the image

The social benefits of public art

Academic expertise
School of the Arts
Lead academics
Readers in Fine Art – John Atkin and Mel Jordan

Readers in Fine Art – John Atkin and Mel Jordan – have long been preoccupied with the relevance and importance of public art in relation to public engagement and urban regeneration.

Over the years, this interest has led to their engagement in a variety of projects exploring art’s social and cultural impact, including commissions from Kent County Council; New Art Gallery, Walsall; the Collective Art Gallery, Edinburgh; and the Liverpool Biennale.

These projects have not just been about creating public art, they have also explored new models of participatory art practice – engaging the public in the decision-making process as well as the physical production of the artwork.

John Atkin was Lead Artist in the interdisciplinary design team that steered notaroundabout, Ashford’s £15m award-winning shared space urban regeneration project. Residents and accessibility groups worked alongside the artists, architects and highway engineers involved to ensure that the innovative design met local needs.

Mel Jordan’s work on Futurology: The Black Country 2024 explored the relationship between socially engaged art practice and culture-led regeneration. The project operated as a forum, teaming artists with young people to examine the social, economic and political conditions of the area in order to imagine their future.

View notaroundabout case study

View Futurology: The Black Country 2024


  • In the notaroundabout shared space accidents resulting in personal injuries and involving pedestrians have dropped by 50% and 83%, respectively
  • Ashford’s redevelopment has stimulated economic growth in the town
  • Futurology transformed the way young people involved thought about their area and the potential for change
  • Presenting the outcomes of Futurology achieved influence on public policy debates

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