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Box on the Docks’ winter season celebrates unheard voices and communities

Bars and restaurants may not currently be able to open but MediaCityUK ploughs ahead, commissioning 23 local artists to deliver its winter season of Box on the Docks following the phenomenal summer success of its public art and dining concept.

Despite current lockdown measures, Box on the Docks, delivered in partnership with Hemingway Design, prepares to return and once again transform MediaCityUK not only into  a striking public art display and haven for safe dining but a mouthpiece for insightful, real-life stories told by older people and marginalised communities.

‘A Grand Life, Heard’ by Heard Storytelling aims to bring generations together this Christmas by celebrating the true stories told by Salford and Manchester’s older residents who candidly share their life lessons in a series of audio recordings.

Once lockdown has lifted, visitors will enter a unique pod reminiscent of a Grandparent’s living room, to take a seat, get comfortable and listen to the significant moments they’ve chosen to record for you – their joys, regrets and life lessons. And now the organisation is calling out to other members of the community to share their stories and pearls of wisdom.

If you are an older person who may have a story from a significant moment in your life that you’d like to share then get in touch via The stories can be recorded in a Covid-safe fashion from your own home and may go on to be included in the project.

Further information on the Heard Storytelling project can be found in the following video by co-founders Colette Burroughs-Rose and Caroline Dyer – here.

Colette Burroughs-Rose, Co-founder of Heard Storytelling said: “Heard Storytelling exists to make people feel heard. The impact of the Covid-19 crisis has been particularly difficult for older people, as many have had to shield from the outside world. Against this backdrop of increasing isolation, we wanted to collect and share these important voices to bring people together to listen to each other’s lived experiences. The power of true storytelling and its ability to create community and connection is more important than ever in these uncertain times.”

Reflecting this theme, Salford-based Manchester Street Poem are returning to Box on the Docks with a new concept surrounding the magic of Christmas – ‘MSPs Winter Trees’.  Heart-warming messages of hope penned by those who feel they have lost their voice will adorn the walls of the pod accompanied by a sound track exclusively designed by founders of Manchester Street Poem, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith from British electronic music group, Underworld.

Karl Hyde, founder of Manchester Street Poem said: “Christmas rarely looks like it does in the TV adverts and this installation is intended to promote the view that the magic of Christmas resides in people. It’s the small things, those acts and gestures that cost nothing, but can make all the difference. Within the box we will create trees, covered with Christmas cards filled with messages of positivity and kindness.”

With the Winter season’s emphasis on community, Box on the Docks have commissioned MediaCityUK based Carbon Creative to transform a shed into a striking Salford Food Bank collection box to support local families in need. Throughout this year the valuable service delivered food parcels to over 6,000 families and demand is set to increase over the coming months.

Kate Hadfield from Carbon Creative said: “Many of the artists selected have chosen to celebrate the people of Salford and the stories of those who live and work within the City. They share heart-warming messages of hope through these challenging times. Box on the Docks is a fantastic commitment by MediaCityUK to support two of the most-hardest hit industries, the arts and hospitality.”

Once lockdown has eased, Box on the Docks will open to the public to enjoy socially-distanced dining within the comfort and safety of 30 self-contained deluxe sheds and greenhouses each uniquely decorated by specially commissioned Salford-based artists. The new commissions include large painted murals, woodland scenes, phosphorescent designs, digital sound recordings and even a vibrant Love Chapel.

Further artist commissions and information about Box on the Docks will be announced in the coming weeks, including a virtual gallery of all artworks.

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