Personal Views: Responding to and Researching Public Art in Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes was built in the 1970s as a new town for the future. Public art was integral to the development and identity of the town from its inception. As a result, Milton Keynes now has an extensive collection of public art. Since the mid 1990s, the Council's public art policy has shifted towards commissioning site-specific work, resulting in artwork often created in consultation with the local community.
Personal Views is a two strand public arts research project which used two different methodologies for investigating audience responses to public artworks. It combined an artist-led 'soft' research project, which encouraged Milton Keynes residents to look anew at the artwork in their city, with 'hard' academic research investigating questions of place and identity in relation to public art.
The project was commissioned by Milton Keynes Council, and had Milton Keynes Gallery, the Citizen newspaper and the Open University as partners. It was managed by public art commissioning agency, Artpoint.
The Art Comic Strip: Grennan and Sperandio (2001 - 2002)
Artists Simon Grennan & Christopher Sperandio were appointed to produce new work that would increase the people of Milton Keynes ' engagement with their city's public art. The project aimed to develop new audiences, to raise the profile of public art, and to engage the public creatively in the development of a new art work.
The Research Project: The Open University (2002 - 2003)
Prof Doreen Massey and Dr Gillian Rose, geographers from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Open University, were commissioned to develop an academic research project to complement the comic strip project. They developed a research proposal that considered the impact of public art, looking particularly at its influence on the use and perception of public space, at issues of identity and ownership, and at public art's own relationship with the identity of the city.
Read more about the research and to download the full research paper.