Communication Stations project unites city estates

Communication Stations, a project by artist Dom Heffer for Back To Ours.
Communication Stations, a project by artist Dom Heffer for Back To Ours.

Communication Stations, commissioned by Back to Ours, is a project that’s engaged and connected people from different neighbourhoods across Hull by, quite simply, making messages. Once written or drawn, they then get passed around the city like a large-scale game of Chinese whispers.

The brainchild of artist Dom Heffer, Communication Stations started in North Point Shopping Centre in April 2019 before moving onto Derringham, Orchard Park and Greatfield. Today, it returns to North Point to take up residency in The Living Room, the Back to Ours Bransholme Chat Shop that’s recently secured three years of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund. 

Dom says: “Since April, we’ve linked up with after-school clubs, community gardens, street play groups, lunch clubs – loads of people have been involved in the journey. 

“We’ve involved over 500 participants of all ages, from 18 months to 91 years old.”

And as for the answer everyone’s itching to know – where did the name Nigel come from? And just who, or what, is he?

Dom continues: “Over 150 messages from people across the city have come together to form ‘Nigel’, our ten-foot Satellite dish. He was named after a vote by members of St. Michael’s youth project who wanted to honour a sheep they’d recently befriended, also named Nigel.

“The message around Nigel’s circumference reads ‘Don’t count the miles between us’, and is the first line of a poem written by a ninety-one-year-old lady called Lily. Originally written for her husband, this line was painted by youth groups from St. Stephen’s Neighbourhood Centre, where Lily is a part of the lunch club.”

Back to Ours Neighbourhood Programme Manager, Tony Forrester, adds: “Back to Ours is all about people and removing barriers to great experiences – what better to represent this than a project that involves passing messages between areas and communities? 

“It’s great to have Nigel and other artworks back up at The Living Room where the project began last year, and I hope lots of people come to see how it’s progressed and what messages have been added.”

Nigel and other works made during Communication Stations are being exhibited in The Living Room at North Point until Friday 24 Jan, open Tue, Wed and Fri 10am-3pm / Thur 10am-5pm.

For more details, visit or follow the team on Facebook (@BacktoOursHull), twitter and Instagram (@btohull). 

[Christina Lewis – Back To Ours]