Metal Billboard

Home > Projects > Metal Billboard

PETERBOROUGH ‘Metal Billboard’

Inspired by the quote from Anton Chekhov in 1888, that ‘the role of the artist is to ask questions’, the project Metal Billboard has commissioned 10x 48-sheet billboard posters to be sited in the centre of Peterborough and on main arterial routes, in the month of September 2014. Each billboard will incorporate a question provided by a leading cultural commentator, including comedian Phill Jupitus, singer/songwriters Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy and Mark Stewart from The Pop Group, poet Mark Grist and authors Paul Morley and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. The questions posed range from the humorous to the thought provoking, and often relate to real issues that the city or the world is facing. For example, themes like migration, finance, war, and animal rights are all explored.

The questions acted as inspiration for new art works created by ten visual artists who were selected from a national call-out. Two of the artists chosen were local to the city – Jason Duckmanton and Lee Mason. All the artists spent a week in the city in June researching the history of Peterborough, visiting local landmarks and projects, and talking to people to inform their designs. Throughout September, to coincide with Peterborough Arts Festival, their designs will be displayed on billboards sited on key routes into the city; at Thorpe Road, Bourges Boulevard, Westgate, Lincoln Road, and Oundle Road.

The aim of the project is to turn the city into an exciting outdoor public gallery that stimulates reflection and conversation. Metal are very keen that as many people as possible get involved and join in the conversation. There are a number of ways both online through social media and via public discussion and debates where you can contribute. We would love for you to join in the conversation, either by visiting one of the Metal Billboard debates, our  billboard base camp, or joining the conversation through social media using the #MetalBillboard on  Facebook or Twitter .

The 10 Billboards will be in situ  throughout the month of September, along with a series of programmed talks and debates.


Billboard Programme


Sunday 31st August, 2pm: Artist led walking tours of Billboard sites. Meet at Chauffeurs Cottage

Sunday 31st August, 5pm: Billboard artists in conversation with curator Simon Poulter at Chauffeurs Cottage

Tuesday 2nd September, 8pm: ‘What makes a good role model?’ with Michael Reid, Peterborough Philosophy Group at Chauffeurs Cottage

Wednesday 3rd September 7pm: Screening of award winning film ‘Black Fish’ questioning ‘Why do animals exist?’ at Chauffeurs Cottage

Saturday 6th September, 10am: ‘Are you worth it?’ with Michael Reid, Philosophy in the Park at Buttercross Tea Rooms, Central Park.

Thursday 11th September, 7pm: Choreographer Mehmet Sander talks about his work and considers ‘Can you fall up?’ at Chauffeurs Cottage

Monday 15th September, 7pm: Peterborough Playwrights writing workshop exploring the Billboard questions at Chauffeurs Cottage

Tuesday 16th September, 6pm: Susan Jones (Artists Newsletter) and Pauline Tambling (Creative and Cultural Skills) consider ‘What’s an artist worth?’ at Chauffeurs Cottage. (supported by Chamber of Culture)

Thursday 18th September, 7pm: Sarah Boiling (Audiences Agency), Gill Nichol (Lights Going On) and Alex Hugo (Vivacity) consider ‘When was the last time you visited a gallery?’ at City Gallery, Priestgate. (supported by Chamber of Culture)

Thursday 25th September, 7pm: Economist John Deval and activist Chris Erskine consider ‘What role does love play in economics?’ at Chauffeurs Cottage


‘When was the last time you went to an art gallery?’

Phill Jupitus is an English stand-up and improv comedian, actor, performance poet, cartoonist and podcaster. He has been a team captain on BBC Two’s popular music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks since its inception in 1996 and also appears regularly as a guest on several other panel shows, including QI and BBC Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.


Scott Spencer is an accomplished graphic designer/illustrator based in Liverpool. He studied Fine Art at Hull School of Art and Multi Media Design at Liverpool University. In addition to his design work for clients, Scott often collaborates working closely with other creatives like poets, musicians and designers to create print and digital artworks, video and set designs.

Scott Spencer


‘What happens next?’

Paul Morley is an English writer, journalist and music producer. He wrote for the New Musical Express and has since written for a wide range of publications. He has also been a band manager and promoter as well as a television presenter. He achieved genuine notoriety as co-founder, with Trevor Horn, of ZTT Records, and electronic group Art of Noise. He was the first presenter of BBC Two’s The Late Show, and has appeared as a cultural commentator and music pundit on a number of other programmes including The Review Show.

Richard Cramp studied Fine Art at Wimbledon School of Art (2004). He lives and works in London. His practice is influenced by architectures, structures within societies, science fiction; and the processes and materials used in construction. He produces installations, sculptures and photographic works that comment on utopian ideals, capitalist issues, and society’s formed coping mechanisms in a world in flux.

Richard Cramp


‘Are migrants not human?’

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a Ugandan-born British journalist and author, who describes herself as a “leftie liberal, anti-racist, feminist, Muslim, part-Pakistani, and … a very responsible person”. Currently a regular columnist for The Independent and the Evening Standard she is a well-known commentator on issues relating to immigration, diversity and multiculturalism.

Edén Barrena studied Fine Arts at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, spending her last year in the ABK-Stuttgart, Germany. She is currently doing a Printmaking MA at the Royal College of Art. Her practice deals with the face conceived as a form rather than portrait, researching alternative ways of interpreting reality through deformation and abstraction. She is currently exploring the possibilities of the ‘instant’ drawing as a tool for capturing the moment in a project with OCAT (Contemporary Art Terminal) in Shanghai, China.

Eden Barrena


‘Are you worth it?’

Neil Hannon is a Northern Irish singer and songwriter, best known as the creator and frontman of the chamber pop group The Divine Comedy, a band who have achieved critical and commercial success throughout the past 25 years. Hannon is considered one of the last ‘crooners’ in the pop landscape and a masterful lyricist.

Paula Benvegnú is a product designer and art director of a London based design studio. The studio focuses on bespoke sculptural furniture designed to commission in addition to a range of products retailed through galleries and shops. She has a broad career history of working for design agencies in both Madrid and Buenos Aires.

Paula Benvegnu



‘What’s an artist worth?’

Mark Grist is a poet and battle rapper based in Peterborough, who rose to prominence when his rap battles became an internet sensation with over 3 million views. Following a career as an English teacher, he formed Dead Poets, a double act that fuses spoken-word poetry with hip-hop, with fellow Peterborough MC Mixy. Mark has most recently been seen on TV in Mr. Drew’s School for Boys.


Laura Keeble is a sculptor and painter who creates ‘un-commissioned’ site specific installations often in the public realm. Her work is both playful and radical employing covert tactics, and using symbolism and familiar objects in unexpected places to encourage the viewer to pause and reflect. She studied Fine Art at South East Essex College.

Laura Keeble


‘Why do animals exist?’

Kate Garner is an English photographer, fine artist and singer. She first came to prominence as one third of the 1980s avant-garde, pop project Haysi Fantayzee. Garner then returned to painting, photography and video, launching a successful media arts career. Garner has photographed many musicians and celebrities with her work appearing in the American and British versions of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Elle. Kate is also a strong supporter and champion for animal rights and welfare.

Lee Mason is a self-taught designer and digital illustrator based in Peterborough. He has over 15 years’ experience of working in the design industry, leading projects for clients large and small. Lee is currently putting plans into action to focus more on his artwork, exploring his passions for drawing, animation and film making. Visit:

Lee Mason



‘Can you fall up?’

Mehmet Sander is a Turkish choreographer living in Istanbul. He formed his dance company in 1990 and toured extensively internationally over the next decade. His work, often described as ‘brutal’, challenges perceptions of what is dance. Associating his pieces more closely to the fields of architecture and physics rather than performance and music, Sander’s movement is about space and time, explored through collaboration with physical forces such as gravity, inertia and velocity.

Helen Schell is a visual artist based in Newcastle, UK. She specialises in work about space exploration and the science of the cosmos under the auspices of Space Agency. The artwork takes the form of vast paintings & drawings, smart materials costumes and glass installations. She has devised a series of space art projects at the London Science Museum, Centre for Life, British Science Festival, The Arts Catalyst, and World Monument Fund. This has included an education project with NASA & currently with ESA. She is an ESERO-UK Space Ambassador for the education wing of the European Space Agency.

Helen Schell



‘For how much longer do we tolerate mass murder?’

The Pop Group is a British post-punk band from Bristol, formed in 1977, whose dissonant sound spanned punk, free jazz, funk and dub reggae. Their lyrics were often political in nature. They have been cited as an important influence in the development of alternative music in the 1980s and particularly the ‘Bristol sound’ of bands like Massive Attack and Portishead. The band is touring the UK in October 2014.

Alan Dunn studied at Glasgow School of Art and The Art Institute of Chicago. He was curator of The Bellgrove Station Billboard Project (Glasgow 1990-91), lead artist on the tenantspin project (FACT, Liverpool 2001-7) and recently produced the 10xCD opus The sounds of ideas forming. Through these projects Dunn has developed collaborative work with Bill Drummond, Douglas Gordon, Yoko Ono, Philip Jeck, Pauline Oliveros and Brian Eno. He currently lives and works in Liverpool and lectures at Leeds Metropolitan University where he has just completed a PhD on sound art.

Alan Dunn



‘What role does love play in economics?’

Jude Kelly OBE is a theatre director and producer. She has directed over 100 productions including at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, the English National Opera, and in the West End. She is currently Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London, Britain’s largest cultural institution. In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4

Jason Duckmanton received a BA (Hons) in Illustration from the University of Lincoln in 2007. Since then he has worked as a commercial illustrator and graphic designer whilst also exhibiting his artwork in local galleries and participating in street art festivals. Jason is based in Peterborough and a partner of the design co-operative Paper Rhino. Paper Rhino’s latest project has been the public art regeneration of the Peterborough Cowgate underpass in collaboration with Blok Collective.

Jason Duckmanton



‘What is necessary here?’

Sally Tallant is Artistic Director of Liverpool Biennial – The UK Biennial of International Contemporary Art. From 2001-11 she was Head of Programmes at the Serpentine Gallery, London where she was responsible for the development and delivery of Exhibitions, Architecture, Education and Public Programmes. She has curated exhibitions in a wide range of contexts including the Hayward Gallery, Serpentine Gallery, hospitals, and schools as well as public commissions

Jessie Brennan is an award winning visual artist who lives and works in London. Her practice explores the representation of places, informed by their social histories and changing contexts. Brennan graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2007. Recent exhibitions and projects include: Progress, The Foundling Museum, London (2014); Interchange Junctions, HS Projects, London (2014); Adrift on Life’s Tides, Rochester Art Gallery, Kent (2013, solo); Coup de Ville, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium (2013). Jessie is also an educator and visiting lecturer at a number of universities in the UK.

Jessie Brennan


Download a map of where the billboards were located here.





Related Events

There are no related events.