1 mile squared (1mile2) was a global arts and ecology project that inspired communities to explore the cultural and ecological diversity of their neighbourhoods through artistic engagement. The programme involved 42 artists, 18 ecologists, 14 creative organisations and reached over 13 500 people in 10 countries.
Melanie was invited to lead 1mile2 Smethwick in the Black Country – the first of the UK Square Mile projects, in collaboration with Visiting Arts. Smethwick sits between Birmingham and the Black Country and used to be an important centre for industry during the industrial revolution, but since that has faded, a vibrant multi-cultural community has developed around the old canals – now used for leisure only. Some of the activities participants took part in included nature walks, guerrilla art and creating a finale mini sculpture trail.