You Are the Journey: North Staffordshire was a £10,000 Arts Council funded open-call commission in response to the environmental, social and economic changes taking place in North Staffordshire. Working with cell ‘phone text messages and thermo chromic inks and in partnership with bus conductors, ticket distributers and ticket manufactures, the final outcome resulted in over 700 000 interactive bus tickets released on the First Group fleet of buses leaving the Hanley and Adderley Green depot (2009). The project explores the way modest and disposable forms of public art can prompt reflection, or curiosity, on the part of the traveller, during, or after, a bus journey. Using old-fashioned ticketing processes, the project exploited tactile and recto-verso qualities by printing messages on the back of each ticket, which are only revealed upon rubbing its surface.
A video documentary by Behjat Abdulla highlights the impact of You Are the Journey in the programme. My essay ‘You Are the Journey: Public Art in Your Pocket’ (in: Winchester School of Art Research Anthology, 2009) supports this research into socially engaged practice. The investigation considers the function of transport tickets as a conceptually important way to produce meaning, employing the use of print on the thin paper of a transport ticket as support for the actual form, which is the social interaction.