“Words on the streets” show at City Space, Winchester

Did you scratch your name on your school desk? Have you ever carved your name on a tree trunk?

People have been marking their place like this since Roman times, as you will be able to see in the next exhibition in City Space at the Discovery Centre, Winchester. This collaboration between Winchester City Museum and The English Project, includes historic graffiti from the Museum's collections, some modern and local graffitied objects, and recent work by local artists, students and youth groups which sum up their own sense of place.

The English Project is a small but growing group, based in Winchester, which celebrates the place of English in our heritage, and the variety of ways in which we use the language. With support from local councils and the Heritage Lottery Fund, it has run two successful English Language Days, and this show is the final event following the “Placing your Language” series, which kicked off on English Language Day in October 2010.

The show presents ancient objects bearing graffiti; work from youth groups in the City and beyond; and some specially created pieces contributed by local street artists and guests of the Winchester Churches Nightshelter. Two city pubs have loaned significant examples of more modern graffiti, including a school desk bearing the scratched nickname of a boy who went on to become rather important.  Visitors to the exhibition will be invited to contribute their comments on the value of graffiti and street art in expressing a sense of place, and can still add their own favourite local nicknames to the English Project’s database of over 3000 place names, collected since English Language Day.

Alongside the exhibition, there will be a showing on March 31st of the acclaimed Banksy documentary “Exit through the Gift Shop”, recently nominated for an Academy award. Tickets for this, and further details of the exhibition, which runs from March 12 to April 10, can be obtained from the Discovery Centre.