Northstowe's heritage-inspired sculpture is here!

“A Symbol for Northstowe” – a sculpture by local artist Chloe Leaper – was unveiled at the Northstowe Community Centre Celebration on Saturday 30th September 2023.

It was fantastic to see an estimated 450 members of the Northstowe community at the event, which was organised brilliantly by Northstowe Hub!

Artist Chloe Leaper with a member of the community who participated in workshops to design the mosaic, and with Paula Bond and Mari O'Neill, Directors of Northstowe Arts. Photos: Marc Mann, SkyTech Cambridge

The design of the ceramic mosaic and metalwork sculpture has been developed with residents of Northstowe, Longstanton, and Willingham, through open access workshops, school workshops, community rooms for older people, and faith groups. Inspiration has come from across the centuries, including the remains of Roman shrines and roundhouses found in Northstowe, mediaeval field furrows, RAF Oakington runway, and the systems of archaeological trenches dug before development in Northstowe began. Much of the material for the mosaic element of the sculpture is original Roman pottery fragments found during archaeological investigations in Northstowe – tying the old and the new together in this piece of public art for a new community. 

The sculpture is the ultimate output of the Northstowe Heritage Art Project and was commissioned by Northstowe Arts CIC. The project was made possible by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Homes England, Cambridgeshire County Council and Northstowe Foodies, and by working alongside project partners Homes England, Cambridgeshire County Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Longstanton & District Heritage Society. It was brilliant to also work alongside so many other partners in the community through this project, including Cambridge Archaeological Unit whose team contributed so much to our understanding of the materials used and stories uncovered.

The Celebration event was a fantastic opportunity for local residents to visit the Community Centre and meet many of the local groups and organisations who will be using it for their activities over the coming months. As well as Chloe introducing the sculpture to everyone, we were delighted to be able to welcome back Syrah Arnold with an exhibition of work created for the wrap of the Community Centre:

Artist Syrah Arnold with members of the community who participated in workshops to create artwork for the Community Centre. Photos: Marc Mann, SkyTech Cambridge; Mari O'Neill.

The evening culminated in a quiz, with Quiz Master (and trustee of Northstowe Hub, and presenter on Cambridge 105 Radio) Matt Webb. There was a jazz jamming session featuring musicians from our Creative Get-Togethers during the break:

Jazz Jammers from our Creative Get-Togethers sessions, led by multi-instrumentalist David Runciman (here on drums!). Photos: Marc Mann, SkyTech Cambridge.

It was fantastic to share the event with so many other Northstowe community groups and organisations. Here are some photos of just a few:

Lots of the various community groups and organisations who took part in the Community Centre Celebration. Photos: Marc Mann, SkyTech Cambridge.