Telling the story of skateboarding in MK

Tuesday 28 May 2019

 

MK SKATE - main picture
  • MK Skate, a new project exploring the story of skateboarding in Milton Keynes, has secured National Lottery Heritage Funding.
  • Skateboarding will make its first Olympic appearance at Tokyo in 2020.

Milton Keynes has played a seminal role in the development of UK skateboarding culture. During the 1980s and '90s it was the skateboarding capital of the UK and is still the lead city for street skating.

Exploring the relationship between MK, its unique design and architecture, and the growth of skateboarding gives fresh insight into how new towns build their own cultures, communities and histories.

MK’s important story remains unrecorded and is largely unknown outside of the skate community.  However, MK Council has secured £97,800 of National Lottery Heritage Funding in order to deliver a new project – MK Skate, which will celebrate MK’s contribution.

Launching as part of the inaugural ‘Festival of Creative Urban Living’ in September, MK Skate will include city centre trail, an exhibition and a book, as well as a permanent record stored for future generations in the city's archive and MK Museum.

Well-known first generation MK skaters will be invited back to tell their part of the story and share their skills and include:

  • Leo Sharp - an internationally published action sports photographer and one of the UK’s most prolific skateboard photographers. His career in skate photography spans well over two decades, with a good proportion of this spent working as full time Photo Editor at the UK’s leading skate magazine: Sidewalk.
  • Wig Worland - celebrated fashion photographer, who began his career photographing the early skate scene in Milton Keynes
  • James Jessop - a British contemporary artist who trained at The Royal College of Art (RCA) and lectures at City and Guilds of London Art School. His work is influenced by early New York City Subway art and pop culture.

Leo Sharp and Wigs Worland have generously offered MK Skate access to their large archive of skateboarding photography, whilst James Jessop will create a new artwork for the exhibition which will be gifted to the city.

The multigenerational community of local skateboarders will help tell this story by sharing memories, their personal collections and through oral history, film and photography.

Cllr Jennifer Marklew, MK Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture said:  “This is a unique and fascinating project, much like Milton Keynes itself.  It’s also timely that we look into our skateboarding history, given that skateboarding will make its first appearance as an Olympic sport next year.  Yet again, MK is ahead of the curve!”

Activity and events are expected to begin in the summer of 2019 for around 12 months.

Visit www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/culture or @CultureMK on Twitter to find out what’s on.