Towards the end of my school career, I was sent by a craft, design and technology teacher to a screen-printing studio, based in an old Rochdale schoolbuilding, called Peopleprint. Perhaps as an outlet for my hormone-fuelled energy or, maybe, just so he could get some peace.
I spent two weeks in an Aladdin’s cave of posters, T-shirts and gloriously noxious-looking inks. Most inspiring to me, however, was the open-door policy it operated: local schools, pubs and community projects were encouraged to come in, create their own designs and actually do the screen-printing, paying only for the inks.
The feeling of creative empowerment and possibility between the most random selection of miscreants was one I’ve never seen bettered (or been able to match). I found a haven there, and went back every school holiday. The people who ran it gave unconditional encouragement and positivity to all who passed through.
I remember it still, and try to promote the same kind of working culture every day. One of those who spearheaded it, Andy Burgoyne, has since sadly passed away. But in my post-school limbo, he gave me a set of pencil crayons and told me to piss off to college and keep drawing. Cheers, Andy.