PRIME Design

A collaboration between Take A Part and PRIME Skatepark

Take A Part and Prime Skatepark collaborated on an initiative for young skaters in Plymouth called PRIMEdesign - a free community project using skateboarding to engage young people at secondary school in a programme of creative activity. It worked with a core group of participants in a sustained way between Autumn 2021-Autumn 2023.

You can see the final evaluation report from the project here and see more about the project via their Instagram.

Whilst developing their skills on the park at Prime, participants engaged in a parallel programme of workshops relating to skateboarding’s rich visual culture. They worked with artists in Plymouth to learn a range of creative skills including illustration, graphic design, screen printing, repeat pattern, collage, carpentry and zine making that support their individual development and deepen their engagement with skateboarding. As well as learning how to design and produce their own graphics, merchandise and events, they also learnt one of the greatest lessons of skating: the confidence to take a DIY approach and make things happen for yourself. The skills in the project were accumulative and complementary, layering knowledge as the programme unfolded.

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In 2021 the PRIMEdesign community group were commissioned by Plymouth Culture to develop two skateboard related art projects in the city centre. These were commissioned through the High Street Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme. The idea was to celebrate how the city centre’s conservation area has been the epicentre of Plymouth’s skate culture since the 1980s. Using Civic Plaza as the focal point of the installations, the first was a mural by artist Chris Alton in 2022 incorporating drawings the group produced during workshops. The second commission was a series of skateable sculptures titled ‘Drift Tricks’ developed through workshops led by artists and skateboarders Dani Abulhawa and Bedir Bekar (who is also one of the UK’s foremost skatepark engineers). They were co-designed by Dani & Bedir with young people from the group based on discussion about street skating, modernist architecture and public space. They were meant to be installed at Civic in early 2023.

During the 18 months of planning numerous examples of similar projects in other cities, including Southampton (in Guildhall Square with Southampton City Council and John Hansard Gallery) over summer 2023, have demonstrated the positive impacts of the skateboard community on improving public spaces. In spite of this, and the unwavering support of Plymouth Culture and many individuals in the Council, not to mention the 40 year precedent of Civic as the primary site for this community’s activity; after extended negotiations the project team was unable to reach an agreement with the council's Highways Department for sign-off on the installation of the Drift Tricks sculptures, meaning they could not be installed at Civic as planned. Having encouraged young people and the wider skateboarding community to engage in public life, this has been a disappointing setback. We are, however, delighted to announce that you can now visit and see the sculptures being activated at Prime Skatepark until the end of January 2024.

We have big plans for Drift Tricks in 2024, hopefully this will include Plymouth City Council revisiting plans to bring Drift Tricks to Civic in the future. You can read the full statement about the Drift Tricks piece, including the wonderful support for the project that Skateboard GB have shared, here.

Through the 18 month programme there was also the opportunity to create skate merchandise as part of the project, to “Go See’ other cultural skate projects and create their own DIY zines.

You can check out Zines created via the project here and here.

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