World Youth Congress delegates worked in Dundee on a project to transform a run-down communal area and football pitch on a housing estate. They were assisted by youth workers, professional artists and local young people in creating a vibrant, innovative and inviting spray-painted mural on surrounding walls.

Styles varied from jungle landscapes to architectural constructions, with the odd dash of comic genius. Young people with little or no previous experience of this type of project combined effectively with adults who had many years of practice at graffiti art. One of the most impressive sections was a vividly multicoloured seascape illustrating an awesome assortment of aquatic animals.

Although we didn’t see the situation at the start, it was obvious that the difference was clear by the end of the final day. The Hilltown community can now enjoy the new decoration and they are hoping for further improvements – the possibility of converting the current concrete pitch into a more suitable sports surface is being investigated.

After a hard day’s graft, the delegates and locals tested the newly-cleaned football pitch with a short match. Three days of sweeping seemed a worthwhile investment since all the glass and dangerous debris had been removed.

Kerry McGowen, a local youth arts worker participating in the activity, said: “Hopefully the council will see all this effort has been put in to regenerate the area and will give some money for more improvements.”

A fascinating story from the project involves two young Polish men, both students on holiday in Dundee. A bizarre and lucky coincidence occurred when, having been evacuated from a local shopping centre, they “smelt the paint” and followed the scent to discover the delegates hard at work. One of the brothers, Kristof, has worked at home with a youth art group called SPECTRUM and has over nine years’ experience of graffiti creation.

The only slight blemish on proceedings was Thursday morning, when the WYC party arrived to the news that part of the wall had been vandalised the previous night. Thankfully the damage was entirely superficial and did not become a major setback.

Clan Co-ordinator Ben Hunter summed up the project: “Before it didn’t look good or appealing; now we’ve made a huge difference which hopefully will continue to be enjoyed by everyone in the area.”

Published @ www.scotland2005.comclick here for original.