Digital Arts & Creative Technology

Town of Crewe Recreated in Minecraft

A Digital artist has been working with young people in Crewe to create the town in Minecraft.

Gemma May Latham has hosted CreweCraft workshops to encourage the youngsters to find out more about the town’s heritage using plans from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, and forming part of Cheshire East’s Shift Digital programme, the project involves young people working in groups using archive maps and drawings.

With specialist support from Cheshire Archives, CreweCraft explores heritage by matching up architectural drawings with photographs and then creating Minecraft builds from them. The Salvation Army citadel and the original Odeon cinema have already been created in the workshops at Crewe Library.

Gemma said: “I started working with a small core group, aged between nine and 14, in May and this work will continue in September.

“It is a great way to get young people to talk about their heritage and encourage them to think about the history of their town.

“It opened up all sorts of conversations – when someone suggested putting a KFC in the centre I had to point out that there wouldn’t have been a KFC in Crewe at that time. It gets the youngsters to think about what their town would have looked like and brings the old plans to life.”

She added: “Crewe is facing a once-in- a-lifetime level of change brought about by HS2 reaching the town by 2027.

It is essential that young people understand the past and then play a significant role in designing the future of their own town.”

The completed Minecraft maps and resources, including photographs, video and archive material from the CreweCraft project will go on display at Crewe Library from December.

For more information on the Shift digital programme and to book forthcoming events, visit www.shift-digital.co.uk.