Last weekend saw the public prosession of Isabel Lima’s Gresham Wooden Horse from Middlesbrough Institute for Modern Art to a site on Union Street on the Gresham estate which we helped design with Isabel, Tilt Workshop and Engineers at Structural and Civil Engineers.
The Gresham Estate is a large urban site that was largely demolished as part of of the now abandoned Housing Market Renewal Initiative (HMRI) or Pathfinders scheme between 2002 – 2011. Hundreds of homes were demolished as part of the project on Tessside (and across the North and Midlands). Following the sub-prime crash of 2007-2008 and subsequent recession, these sites where then left vacant and empty.
Gresham’s Wooden Horse is a project that brings together disparate communities living in Gresham, central Middlesbrough. The project is inspired by the ancient Greek myth of the Trojan Horse, built by Greek soldiers as a means of infiltrating and taking control of the city of Troy. Lima uses this symbolism to stimulate collective action among Gresham’s population.
Gresham’s Wooden Horse is a vehicle for residents of Gresham, old and new, to establish a sense of ownership of their neighbourhood, enabling a collective process of reimagining the area’s identity. Through a series of summer workshops led by Lima at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art’s technical facilities, a group of local people – Gresham residents from distinct cultural backgrounds – have been building a wooden horse.