Just yesterday, we were honoured to have Louise Hickman, West Mercia Police Sergeant, and Michelle Thomason, West Mercia Police Community Support Officer, here to judge Telford & Wrekin’s ‘Anti-Violence Art Awards’. Both Louise and Michelle are heavily involved in West Mercia Police’s ‘Steer Clear’ youth knife intervention programme, something designed specifically to better engage their community youth with anti-violence awareness and education. As part of  this important programme and the Knife Angel’s visit to Telford this month, Louise and Michelle developed the town’s official ‘Anti-Violence Art Awards’, whereby primary and secondary school students were tasked with creating a piece of artwork inspired by the Knife Angel, its anti-violence message, and three keywords – compassion, community and courage.

Anti-Violence Art Awards Judging

Pictured (Left to Right): Clive Knowles, Chairman of the Ironworks; Louise Hickman, West Mercia Police Sergeant; Michelle Thomason, West Mercia Police Community Support Officer; Sarah McManus of the Ironworks

Just last month a 16-year-old was brutally attacked and stabbed in Telford Town Park, making youth engagement like the ‘Anti-Violence Art Awards’ critically important and particularly relevant. Primary school students were asked to design a new logo for the ‘Steer Clear’ programme and secondary school students were asked to create artwork that could form a part of the programme’s promotional literature. A total of 350 art pieces were created by local schools all across the Telford & Wrekin area, all depicting anti-violence and peace in one way or another. Alongside Clive Knowles and Sarah McManus of the Ironworks yesterday, Louise and Michelle judged all the art pieces and have now formally picked their winners.

The official awarding ceremony will be taking place on the 28th of March in Southwater Square, where all 350 artworks will be on display for the public to see. Certificates will be awarded to all participants to thank them for their efforts, as created and provided by the Ironworks, and prizes will be awarded to the overall winners. Prizes up for grabs include a laptop, £200 worth of Go Ape! vouchers, and sports vouchers supplied by various sponsors. Once the award ceremony is finished, Louise and Michelle intend to create a tapestry out of all the artwork, which will be indefinitely displayed somewhere of relevance in Telford.

Anti-Violence Art Awards Certificate

Pictured (Left to Right): Louise Hickman, West Mercia Police Sergeant & Michelle Thomason, West Mercia Police Community Support Officer

The creation of ‘Anti-Violence Art Awards’ will now form a part of the Knife Angel’s ‘Agreement of Conscience’, whereby all hosting towns and cities will be required to run an art awards programme of their own alongside the Angel’s visit. The brief surrounding each host location’s art awards will be largely up to them but must encompass youth anti-violence education and awareness. We can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!