Celebrating the history of skateboarding in Milton Keynes

Sean Smith (Pic by Leo Sharp)
Sean Smith (Pic by Leo Sharp)

Milton Keynes' place in the skateboard landscape will be celebrated at a new exhibition - MK Skate.

The city has played a key role in the development of skateboarding in the UK and since the late ‘80s and early ‘90s it has been regarded by many as the skate capital of the UK. It sits alongside the Undercroft at London’s Southbank and the Rom Skatepark in Hornchurch in Essex as one of the three seminal places for skating in the UK, and is the only city-wide in scale.

Tom Watts (Pic by Leo Sharp)

Tom Watts (Pic by Leo Sharp)

The exhibition, which has been funded by nearly £100,000 of National Lottery Heritage Fund cash, features documentation from leading skate photographers Wig Worland and Leo Sharp, themselves from Milton Keynes, as well as by Sidewalk Magazine journalists Ben Powell and Ryan Gray, and filmmaker, Lindsay Knight - all their work will be featured throughout the project.

It also tells the personal histories of the generations of skaters, both hobbyists and sponsored, who have grown up in the city, which are shared through an oral history prokect and through an exhibition of their personal collections featuring pro skateboards, stickers, ‘70s polaroids, ‘90s baggy jeans, VHS and cine film, zines, and a rare pair of trainers named after The Buszy.

The MK Skate on-street exhibition will be hosted in a series of underpasses throughout Milton Keynes, along Midsummer Boulevard at Malborough Gate, Saxon Gate, Witan Gate and Elder Gate. The on-street trail will highlight areas of the city which were significant skating spots, where skating pioneers and celebrities have left their mark on the city.

Milton Keynes’ shopping centre, centre:mk, will host an exhibition in one of their shopping units from the 27 September until 22 December. The shopping unit will transform into an exhibition of Milton Keynes’ history of skateboarding. The exhibition has been curated by personal collections loaned by local skaters from fashion, art, and decks to magazines. In addition, the exhibition will also display a range of documentary photos, archive cine and video footage from MK skaters from the past.

MK Skate will be accompanied by a week of half-term activities between the 28 October to 1 November. Workshops and events will be organised by photographer Leo Sharp, dancer Mark Calape, and artist Tom Guilmard. The workshops will allow young people to garner skills in deck painting, photography and street dance.

For more information please visit www.mkskate.org and follow the project on MK Skate’s Instagram page.