Humble ballot boxes transformed into art

Simon Copley plays a couple of the transformed ballot boxes.
Simon Copley plays a couple of the transformed ballot boxes.
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IN less then six weeks time voters across Yorkshire will be using them to securely cast their ballot.

But young people and artists from across Ryedale have been putting ballot boxes to a very different use.

A ballot box designed by pupils at Thornton Dale CofE School, called 'Drop A Vote'.

A ballot box designed by pupils at Thornton Dale CofE School, called 'Drop A Vote'.

Rather than scrap the Ryedale Council’s outdated metal ballot boxes, democratic services manager Simon Copley and creative economy officer Yvette Turnbull decided to turn them into works of art and music instruments.

Young people from the district worked with musician Billy Hickley, a fomer cast member on West End show “Stomp!” to turn boxes into percussion instruments with the project culminating in a concert.

Other boxes were handed over to local artists and school pupls and the results can be seen in an exhibition which opens tomorrow at the Ryedale Folk Museum.

Mr Copley said: “The idea of the workshops wasn’t just to do art and music but to talk about voter registration and getting involved in the democratic process.

“As well as having a conversation about democracy the young people involved have found it boosts their confidence and helped their social skills.

“This has been a much better way of capturing the imagination than sending someone into a school to give a talk or put up a poster.

Some of the boxes featuring in the exhibition date back to 1929, meaning they were used in elections where women had the chance to vote on the same terms as men.

The fight for women to secure the vote in this country and the ongoing battle for democracy by people around the world are major themes of the exhibition.

Ms Turnbull said: “Day to day we don’t think about democracy but when people do think about it through a project like this there’s a great deal of gratitude we live in a country where we get to have our say.”