September 14, 2020

People United’s Kind Places & Spaces project explores the positive impact that creative art & design can have in community spaces. We’re particularly interested in looking at how these creative interventions might spread positive messages, bring people together and encourage communities to think or behave in a pro-social way. You can find out more here.

Bernadette’s project Blue skies, jetpacks and hope is just one of the brilliant projects we commissioned as part of the Kind Places & Spaces initiative. We hope that you enjoy it, and we’d love to hear what you think in the comments box below.

If you’d like to see these posters in your own area, please get in touch with People United. We hope to develop our Kind Places & Spaces initiative and would love to trial Bernadette’s posters with you in your town, city or village – we’ve even got ideas for making them bigger, more immersive, and interactive!

Bernadette Russell: Blue skies, jetpacks and hope

Playful, homemade billboards that invite you to consider tour hopes for the future and take the first steps towards that brighter tomorrow.

(c) Bernadette Russell 2020

Bernadette Russell is an author, storyteller and artist.  Her proposal pivots the text-based adverts we regularly encounter on the street by asking the public a series of ‘big’ questions that encourage reflection and debate –  and hopefulness.

Her  series of hand-drawn billboard posters offer stories of kindness, creativity and connection, ancient wisdom, inspiring questions, and tales of those who have triumphed over adversity. She wanted the posters to encourage the viewer to dream and then to take the first steps towards a brighter tomorrow.


(c) Bernadette Russell 2020

I had the chance to do some field research where I live. The handwritten quality of the posters and the fact that they ask questions stopped people in their tracks- most public signage is “telling or selling” and these are “asking and inviting”. – Bernadette


Bernadette’s design digitally places her posters onto bus stops and billboards, which she did with the help of Sadie Cook (design/photo) and Gareth Brierley (photos).

(c) Bernadette Russell 2020

We asked Bernadette how she thought people might react if we could install her amazing posters in a town. She said:

“I think if the posters were installed in a public place, people would be prompted to take time to consider the questions, to think and to talk to each other, and to tell their stories to each other. In the words of the great Ben Okri “stories can conquer fear… they make the heart bigger” – so part of my intention is to get people to talk with each other about their experience of lockdown AND their hopes for the future, to be vulnerable with each other in a way that increases the chance of a deeper connection by sharing stories and ideas, which these images and words provoke.”
– Bernadette Russell


What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Tell us in the comments box below…

Bernadette has recently published a new book ‘How to Be Hopeful: Inspiring Ways to Find Hope – and Hold Onto It’ . It’s a toolkit to rediscovering hope and empowering you to help create a kinder world. Our CEO read a preview copy and has been singing its praises. She says “Bernadette shines a light in the darkest of  corners, showing us how to find  and nurture hope everywhere, even in grief. It’s a handbook for our times that I’ll return to again and again” You can find out more here.  BernadetteRussellWrites  @BetteRussell  @bernadetterussell


Kind Canterbury is funded & supported by:

Arts Council England logo and text "Supported by Arts Council England"Canterbury City Council Logo

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