Pupils from two special educational needs schools in Liverpool had the opportunity to create a mural inspired by a song they wrote and performed at Eurovision 2023 as part of a Being Human Festival event hosted by Liverpool Hope University.
Sandfield Park School and Alt Bridge Secondary School were invited to work with professional mural artist, Rob Fenton, at a workshop the University delivered in partnership with the ADHD Foundation – The Neurodiversity Charity.
Being Human is a celebration of humanities research through public engagement, led by the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, the UK’s national centre for the pursuit, support and promotion of research in the humanities.
As part of the workshop, the two schools created a large-scale street art mural sculpture inspired by the lyrics of their song, You Are Not Alone, which they performed in the Eurovision Village when Liverpool hosted the famous music event in May 2023.
“Together with the ADHD Foundation, we had the idea of trying to build some kind of legacy for the Eurovision project,” explained Professor Stephen Davismoon, Dean of the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Liverpool Hope University.
“We thought it would be a nice idea to take the lyrics of the song and make a mural out of it so that the end product can be displayed in both schools, or anywhere in the city.
“I was delighted to gain the support from the Being Human Festival. It is a prestigious festival and is incredibly diverse and accessible as well as including very high levels of academic pursuit, which is in keeping with our ethos here at Liverpool Hope.”
The event was the brainchild of Ivy Wong-Tebbitts, Project and Events Coodinator at the ADHD Foundation, who, as charity partner, were in attendance at the event to showcase the positive sensory impact through repetition of words and the well-being benefits of music.
“Music is a great tool for neurodivergent individuals to express their emotions,” said Arron Hutchinson, National Trainer at the ADHD Foundation.
“If you can’t find the words to describe how you are feeling music can help with that because it is a universal language.
“It specifically helps with emotional regulation and also anyone who has challenges in an overwhelming sensory environment.”
Liverpool Hope previously worked with Sandfield Park and Alt Bridge as part of the Sanctuary and Unity Through Song project during Eurovision.
Having received funding from EuroLearn, a school engagement programme curated by Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team specifically for Eurovision, the University worked with pupils to write and rehearse You Are Not Alone with a professional musical ensemble before performing on stage at Liverpool’s Pier Head.
The song was later released as a charity single in aid of a school which had suffered as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine, with the mural created at the Being Human Festival the latest legacy of this inspiring project.
Reflecting on the event, 14-year-old Charlie from Alt Bridge Secondary School, added: “I’m happy I had the opportunity to take part in this project. It was interesting because it’s something new.
“Doing art is very calming and relaxing and takes your mind off everything because it takes you somewhere else whilst you are doing it.”