Developers of the £1bn  Middlewood Locks Manchester have awarded a full Masters Bursary worth £7,560 and commissioned a major project to University of Salford student Claudia Alonso.

The Visual Arts graduate who is currently a University of Salford Art Collection Graduate Scholar won a competition to design artwork in the large communal areas of the first 6 residential buildings housing 571 apartments at Middlewood Locks.

Scarborough International Properties is due to commence apartment handovers this Summer and wanted to commission exclusive art for permanent display in the expansive spaces within each lobby area. It partnered with the University of Salford, inviting students and recent graduates to enter the competition.

The finalists of the competition who are BA (Hons) students for the Visual Arts, Fashion, Image Making and Styling and Graphic Design courses exhibited their work last week during the School of Arts & Media Annual Degree Show. The display remains open for public viewing at The New Adelphi Building on the University of Salford main campus throughout the Summer.

The winner Claudia submitted a series of double exposure photographic images taken with a medium format film camera from 1960 using black and white film, then coloured in Photoshop. Her images respond to the place and the identity in the area with the development of a new Salford neighbourhood and she created colourful images reflecting the place and how to connect with the future community and cohesion with the area. Her artwork colour palette has vibrant and harmonic colours, to reflect energy and joy, with a sense of modern and the essence of the past.

On receiving the award she said. “As a recent graduate I was really lucky to get a scholarship and a studio this year. The very generous Masters Bursary from Middlewood Locks will allow me to keep having a studio and the use of the University facilities for two more years. I am developing my professional career as a technician in photography at the University of Salford and the Masters will give me that extra experience to become a better artist and technician. There are always opportunities while you study and so those connections are really significant for networking which is really important in the art world.”

The judges included Simon McCabe, Joint Chief Executive, Sandra McCabe, Nicola Wallis Sales & Marketing Director all of Scarborough international Properties, Paul Dennett City Mayor of Salford, Georgina Baines Planit ie and Sam Ingleson Associate Dean, School of Arts, Salford University.

Nicola Wallis said, “The communal spaces at Middlewood Locks have been designed in a way to encourage residents to socialise and be part of the wider community. Each entrance lobby has a designated feature wall for artwork and we wanted to commission something special that had a connection to the heritage, and would be a talking point for years to come. It was a natural progression to work with the team at the University of Salford and all of the entries were exceptional with very interesting well thought out concepts.

Simon McCabe continued ‘All of the entries were very strong however the winner Claudia’s work stood out because of its observational qualities and clever application of different techniques. While talking to her we established that her studio looks onto Middlewood Locks and she has been watching the construction process for the last few years. We congratulate Claudia on winning the competition and wish her well with her ongoing studies at the University of Salford.

We also made the decision to commission Alena Donely who was also shortlisted, to produce a separate piece of artwork for our new show apartment launching this Summer at Middlewood Locks.”

Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor, said: “: “Salford is fast becoming an exciting centre for creative industries in Greater Manchester, and I am delighted to see our developer community in the City of Salford connecting and collaborating with the artistic talent on its doorstep at our University. This project is a fantastic expression of the University’s Industry Collaboration Zone approach and will enable students to add value to a live development project of significant scale, helping to prepare them for the world of work, improving their employment opportunities, whilst also offering a unique platform to showcase their work to the new community at Middlewood and beyond.”

Middlewood Locks is a unique new development combining city living, green space and a range of commercial opportunities with offices, shops, bars, restaurants and a gym. The 24.5 acre development, located where the two great cities of Manchester and Salford meet, promises to deliver a vibrant new waterside neighbourhood with 2,215 new homes in buildings purposely designed to promote community engagement.

The development is currently the largest regeneration project in the North West and one of the biggest in the UK. It was promoted by former Chancellor George Osbourne as a critical part of the Northern Powerhouse.

Construction of the project started in 2016 with an anticipated seven-year phased build programme and the first customers will move into their new homes in Summer this year.


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