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I Belong Here

Playing Out’s artist in residence, Amy Rose, devised a mass chalking event that involved 1000’s of visitors and 100’s of boxes of chalk to celebrate the launch of this new ‘people’s museum’ for Bristol.

Playing Out was commissioned by Mshed – ‘Bristol’s Museum, Bristol’s Story’ – to playfully engage the public in the outdoor dockside spaces immediately surrounding the launch.  They wanted to give people a genuine sense of belonging and ‘ownership’ of the new museum.

To achieve this, Amy worked closely with poet Miles Chambers to extend the impact of ‘I Belong Here’, a poem about his experiences as a young black man growing up in Bristol. The poem expresses how a young man’s experience of his city’s spaces and people influenced and inspired his development and sense of place:

“I belong here walking down Corn Street on a weekend eating Ackee and Salt fish, from Jenny’s Caribbean Wrap.

Watching the smoochers pulling themselves out of the blues parties. The clubbers pushing them selves through the first hours of the morning.

Catching the early workers making a fresh start.”

Extract from ‘I Belong Here’ by Miles Chambers

Words from the poem and from writings collected from the public on the same theme were chalked onto pavements surrounding the museum site.  These words offered intimate ‘pathways’ that playfully evoked personal and emotional relationships to places leading to Mshed. Over 4000 visitors throughout the weekend were invited to use hundreds of boxes of chalk to ‘make their mark’ in the biggest pavement chalking event Bristol has ever seen.


Here’s what people said:

“This is my favourite bit!”

Member of the public

“Thanks so much to Amy Rose and her team. The chalking on M Square added so much to the opening launch events, and engaged members of the public of all ages creatively and playfully.”

Dr Anna Farthing, Bristol Museums Galleries and Archives


Playing Out can organise mass, participatory chalking activity for specific contexts and aims.  Please contact us to discuss your needs.