Creative Pathways is a is a partnership between and Derby City Council that enables young people from across the city to enhance their design and fabrication training through a creative learning programme. Students from EL are engaged in public realm solutions and structures in the form of "Engineered Artworks" with all the artworks funded by local developers, sponsors and supported by local communities to improve the identity of their places.

"Working with Derby Public Art has been embraced by Engineered Learning's students, enabling young people to actively participate in developing and taking ownership of their own environment, not only developing new skills to support their own futures, but also leaving their mark for generations of the future to enjoy." Dan Read Engineered Learning.


Creative Engagement

Alvaston & Chellaston

This is the first phase of the Creative Pathways scheme and is sponsored by local businesses Aldi and Merril College and delivered to you by Sustrans and Derby City Council. The ‘Engineered Artworks’ have been designed by the students of Kingsmead School and Engineered Learning, in partnership with the community, Specialist fabricators Arc Creative were appointed to refine the design, construct and install the artworks that are due to be installed this summer. Please take a look at the how the structures were developed by the students in the pages below.

Additional structures are currently being designed for the Dunelm Pride Park area.

The map shows the proposed locations for installations along the canal cycle and pedestrian path. (National Cycle Route Route 6).

Final seating and planting structures fabricated by Arc Creative using Core Ten steel

Final seating and planting structures fabricated by Arc Creative using Core Ten steel


A little about the companies involved.

Engineered learning: Constructing the future!

Engineered learning is the brainchild of the companies’ founder and director Dan Read. Engineered learning provides work experience for school pupils aged under 16, and can eventually lead to qualifications in welding and steel fabrication. In specially tailored programs, the students learn not only practical skills and safety management, but also teamwork and dedication.


Sustrans: Shaping our way home!

Sustrans is a UK charity that promotes healthy, happy and environmentally friendly travel to and from the home. Concerned with the issues around walking and cycling to work and school, improving pathways and signposts and bringing.....


the community together.

Facilitating art projects along Derby’s foot and cycle paths is one of the key ways Sustrans has had an impact on our daily journeys. Arts worker Brendon McDowell was appointed by Sustrans to lead the community engagement and build on the ideas already generated in workshop sessions at Engineered Learning.



The three students involved in the project, were introduced to the scheme with a site visit to the Wilmorton site. After this there were 6 workshop session where I worked with the students to come up with concepts and create prototypes. The students also worked on the prototypes and other concepts outside of these sessions.

"It was a great pleasure to work with the students and staff at Engineered Learning. There was some great ideas generated by all and impressed by the quality of the welding, cutting and grinding. As you can see from the photos there were many ideas and concepts that were tried, some more successful than others." Brendon McDowell, Sustrans consultation and arts-worker. 



We had several community engagements, not only along the Cycle path but also at local events. Including St. Mary's church fair and the Alvaston Park summer community event.

There were a total of 9 community engagement sessions, each one drawing on average 15-20 members of the public passing buy. Both the Alvaston Park Summer event and St Mary's Church Fair was more like 20-30. Many people did not want to give there contact details but lots of people took flyers and discussed their fears and wishes with us. In the early consultations it was clear that the greatest need was for more seating. But also that people where interested in different aspects including the possibility of bike rings planters and Bins.

Below are all the quotes we have received:

“Maybe you could do something about the rail ways or canals”

“The canal used to run right through here (Wilmorton park)… A seat inspired by canal boats… that looks good”


“good to see something that will be useful”

“looking forward to seeing which one gets chosen”

“Really like the Lancaster bomber idea, reflects the history of the area well… The engines were developed on the research facility on London Road”

“Brilliant, keep up the good work...good luck”

“O yea I've seen this on Facebook… I like the canal idea fits with the history of the path”

“I like that more conventional seat, the one with the train wheels… although if planters are attached I reckon they'll be used as rubbish bins and ash trays”

“Good to see project for the young guns to get involved with”

“I like the canal boat idea, topical for the area”

“Bike racks would not be as useful here, as cyclists are mostly passing through”

“Benches are nice to have a place to rest, relax and enjoy the weather if its a nice day”


“Tell the students they’re great”

“Which ever one is chosen it needs to be hard wearing, as the bench there was broke last week”

“Need more benches for people to sit one along here”

“There are already benches in the park... maybe down by Aldi… Or further back up the path near the intersection with Allestree Street”

“The path needs to be split for pedestrians and cyclists”

“kids would love the canal boat one”

“If its near Aldi bike rings would be really useful then, but not half way up the path, maybe by the park.”

“Welding bring back memories of when I did it as a youngster, great to see the new generation learning skills”

“I'm getting to the age where I am in need of somewhere to sit”

“Can I give you money for the scheme”

“That's a good development (of the canal idea) I like the plants” (A resident who we saw at 2 of the community engagements)

“The rubbish here (Aldi/Kiwi park) doesn't always get cleared and the council grass cutters just mow it into the ground”
“Could there be a bin as part of it?” (A local resident near Aldi who is concerned about litter and would be happy to empty the bin rather than see litter)

“Can we colour in each sheet? This is fun we get to chose where it goes ?”


Developing concepts

Aeronautics Inspired

Derby has a rich history of research production in the aeronautics industry. Specifically the development and production of the Merlin engine used in many of the fighter planes and bombers during WW2. The concept developed was based on the tail end of a Lancaster bomber, which was readily evolved into a spacious communal seater that can be produced in several sizes. Additionally, planters based on rotor­ blades could be added to the outer wings.

Sketch idea of Lancaster seat

Sketch idea of Lancaster seat


Railway Inspired

Derby also has a rich history of research and development in the rail industry. The research facility on London road being very close to one of the proposed sights. 

Sketch idea using the wheel structures as supports

Sketch idea using the wheel structures as supports

This design was developed from the quarter wheel prototype. The students felt a simpler seat design may be more acceptable. The design could then be completed with surface design reflecting more railway themes.

This was one of the designs from EL followed the consultation for areas nearer to the railway

This was one of the designs from EL followed the consultation for areas nearer to the railway


Canal Boat Inspired

The Canal boat concept was developed due to the history of the cycle path this concept was very popular with the public. As you can see the bench is a large seater with incorporated planters. One clever feedback idea was to create drainage on the seat that self watered the planters. The back panel can be left decorative or have the addition of cycle ring, notice board and or maps.

Sketch idea of boat planters

Sketch idea of boat planters

feedback from consultation days

feedback from consultation days

The poll
On the later engagements we conducted a poll to get peoples reactions to the prototypes. The resounding favourite was the canal boat concept, which is also backed up in the quotes section. Both the Lancaster bomber and train inspired concepts received similar amounts of votes. The Lancaster bomber however seemed more popular when we were talking to people.

Poll results
Canal Boat: 60
Lancaster Bomber: 22
Train Inspired: 19


Drawing Competition!

A drawing competition was created to generate ideas for colour schemes and final embellishments to the three developed prototypes. Here are some of the entries. What they might look like in place!

Three designs where developed into prototypes and are currently being finished at engineered learning. There are a number of more raw parts prototypes that have been created including a quarter train wheel and a rotor blade inspired planter.