Wanderland: Wildways – a project by Everyday (Wigan)

Steph Peet, Creative Project Coordinator, Everyday (formerly Wigan STEAM)

About the project

  • Project title: Wanderland: Wildways
  • Project dates: April – September 2022
  • Region: Greater Manchester
  • Partner organisations: Lancashire Wildlife Trust (Carbon Landscape Partnership)
  • Funders: Wigan Council
  • Website: www.everydaywigan.org.uk

Project summary

In partnership with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust as part of the Carbon Landscape Partnership ‘Wanderland’ programme, the Wildways project commissioned four artists; Jayne Seddon, Sally Gilford, Joe Ford and Natalie Linney to deliver site specific projects intended to connect children, families and schools with their environmental and ecological issues within their local green spaces in the Wigan Borough. The artists were each commissioned to deliver school workshops, a family event in their chosen green space and one group celebration event at Pennington Flash, Leigh. The group celebration event invited the schools involved with the project and the local community to engage in free workshops whilst celebrating the work that had been created, bringing people, art and nature together. 

it combined art and nature into one organic, collaborative, wholesome project

Steph Peet, Creative Project Coordinator

Project description

Greater Manchester based artists Jayne Seddon, Joe Ford, Sally Gilford and Natalie Linney were commissioned to work across four schools (Britannia Bridge Primary School, Bickershaw Primary School, Leigh St Johns Primary School, and Platt Bridge Community School) and four green spaces (Bickershaw Country Park, Amberswood Nature Reserve, Pennington Flash and Wigan Flashes) to produce site specific projects that would engage members of the community with their local green spaces through creativity. The selected green spaces in the Wigan Borough were part of LWT’s Carbon Landscape programme and a successful bid to gain National Nature Reserve status in 2022, recognising their importance as former coal-mining industrial sites now transformed into valuable natural resources.

Each artist delivered in-school workshops, CPD sessions for teachers, and events for families in their chosen green space. The project culminated in a celebration event at Pennington Flash, during which all artists delivered workshops and invited people they had worked with throughout the project to celebrate what they had created together. 

Partnership working: Development and Delivery

Wildways was conceived by The Turnpike CIC prior to the organisation’s closure in 2021, and was then developed, coordinated and delivered by Wigan STEAM (now known as Everyday) in partnership with Lancashire Wildlife Trust (LWT). Once the artists had been commissioned, Wigan STEAM facilitated the schools partnerships and managed all communications between the commissioned artists and LWT. Wigan STEAM and LWT shared responsibility for marketing for the project – Wigan STEAM actively promoted the events and shared more in depth news about it, whilst LWT hosted and shared the events on their online platforms in order to draw on their wider audience. All communications regarding site permissions and transportation of equipment were managed by LWT, and was a key element of the success of the partnership.  

Schools workshops took place in primary schools. Some artists chose to deliver full days of activity in class whilst some chose to visit their school over a number of weeks for after school activity. In order for the pairing between artist and school to be as successful as possible, we did not prescribe what form the activity needed to take other than it should total around 5 “sessions” – decisions were made between artist and school whilst considering what would be of maximum benefit to both parties. Alongside workshops with students the artists also delivered CPD with teachers. Teachers participated in the same activities that were delivered with students, but with additional context from the artists so that they could gain an understanding of the creative processes involved and how they might be delivered with children and young people. The aspect of the project was intended to instil confidence in teachers to continue delivering creative activities beyond the project. 

The family events were open to all, free, and could be booked online. The schools involved also sent letters home to further promote and invite students who’d participated in activities at school. We had a great uptake in terms of bookings and attendees, and engaged with many people in the green spaces who just happened to be present during the events. We were extremely lucky with the weather, we had barely any rain and most events took place on sunny days which definitely helped with the attendance and enthusiasm around the activities. 

Wildways artists and their projects

Jayne Seddon was the lead artist for Wildways, and worked primarily within Pennington Flash’s bird watching huts. Jayne Seddon’s project gave participants the chance to have a go at specimen drawing and closely observing natural, found objects by using a smartphone microscope. Jayne helped people to observe leaves, flowers and feathers so they could draw or trace their own interpretation of them. Jayne encouraged people to draw around their specimens using line drawing, using a magnifying glass to detail the close up lines and to try out pointillism. Jayne also invited people to create cyanotypes which is a slow – reacting photographic printing formulation. Jayne’s school sessions with Leigh St Johns Primary School took the form of a six week after school club. 

Sally Gilford’s project was called ‘Smitten with Bitterns’, and activities centred on a campaign to ‘save the bitterns’ and raise awareness of the local bird wildlife. Working with Britannia Bridge Primary School, Sally screen printed fabric ‘Save the Bitterns’ banners with several classes over two days. For her public event, Sally invited people to forage for natural materials and try out gel printing to create intricate prints of found natural forms which they could keep to display at home. At the group celebration Sally screen printed wooden Bitterns, which could be placed within the natural landscape. 

Nataline Linney chose to focus on Bickershaw Country Park, and was particularly interested in the native moths that could be found in the park. Working with Bickershaw Primary School, Natalie took children to the park to collect flowers and leaves. On arriving back to school, students used the flowers and leaves to naturally dye previously prepared screen printed Bickershaw Country Park tote bags, using hammers and boards in a process called Hapa Zome. During this activity, Natalie invited students to undertake the same process but on some larger textiles. Using the pattern created on these larger pieces, Natalie created a pattern which was printed onto fabric and stitched to created moth wings that would be wearable for adults and children. At her family events, Natalie invited people to try on the wings and be photographed, as well as create their own miniature wings using the Hapa Zome process. 

Joe Ford worked with Platt Bridge Community School and delivered activities in Amberswood Nature Reserve. Joe sourced film cameras and took students on a walk to Amberswood, where they engaged with their surroundings through photography. Joe developed the photographs and later took them back to the school for the students to reflect upon and keep. She also replicated this process during her family event – participants enjoyed learning to use the film cameras and experimenting with photographing their surroundings. At the group celebration Joe displayed all of the photographs taken during the school sessions and family event, and invited people to write poetry about the imagery and take photographs home.

Activity pack

To further enable families to engage with their local green spaces through creativity we created an online activity pack. The activities outlined follow similar processes to those that the artists delivered during the project and can be downloaded here: https://www.wigansteam.co.uk/post/saying-goodbye-to-wild-ways


Overall the project ran smoothly and everyone involved with the project thoroughly enjoyed each aspect, from each school workshop, CPD session and activities that were delivered to the public within each greenspace. 

The monitoring and evaluation process were managed by Wigan STEAM, evaluation forms were given to all the students involved within the project and their teachers. At the public events, evaluation forms were given to adults, families and children in order for us to capture a range of viewpoints. By the end of the project we worked with:

SchoolsSchool ChildrenSchool TeachersFamily Events Group Celebration Event Total 

Feedback from project participants

‘It’s good for children whose parents can not take their children to events that cost money’ – Group celebration event (Grandmother) 

‘The walk around Pennington Flash really filled my heart, I’m going to come here more often’ – School Student

‘I am thankful for teaching me how to do art properly and taking me into the nature 10/10 day’- School Student 

“This is exciting isn’t it, we don’t ever see anything like this is Pennington Flash” – Group celebration attendee (Parent)

“My daughter’s school report said that taking part in the art workshops at school has brought her alive” – Parent of child participant in school workshop with Jayne Seddon 


When looking at the project as a whole, I think what we would change is who managed certain things. For example, it would have been more beneficial if Wigan STEAM had managed the Eventbrite instead of our partner LWT, as we managed the social media and were in direct communication with the artists. Another change we would be to send permissions for the green spaces earlier to the Council as this took a while to be processed and this caused delays at some points of the project. 

When debriefing with LWT after the project had ended, they re-stated their commitment to creative projects like this, reflecting that as an non-arts specialist organisation it works out better for them to collaborate with arts organisations who have access to a pool of artists and have the experience and knowledge to work with artists on large scale events. They stated that going forward they will always call upon arts organisations who have that access and knowledge. I found this to be a useful insight into how organisations such as LWT can approach partnership working on projects like ours, where the main aim is to bring art together with another theme or specialism.  

In the end, Wildways successfully brought together a lot of people; it combined art and nature into one organic, collaborative, wholesome project that benefited not only those that participated but also the partners and artists by expanding our understanding of the ways we can interact with, work within and view our local green spaces.