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‘Weavers’ – an alternative map for Peterborough

‘Weavers’ is a new alternative map created for Peterborough, an illustrated map from the viewpoint of those who live, work and play in the city. You may have spotted the map displayed in Queensgate while shopping or at Peterborough Train station whilst on your travels.

Weavers, is an alternative map of Peterborough and public artwork created by artist and illustrator Aïcha El Beloui. The artwork is currently on display at Queensgate Shopping Centre, near the Westgate entrance (John Lewis entrance) and at Peterborough Train Station in the Waiting Room on Platform 1.

In 2019 arts organisation Metal invited Moroccan artist Aïcha El Beloui to visit Peterborough and spend time meeting local residents and exploring the city. As an artist and illustrator, Aïcha is particularly interested in architecture and maps from the viewpoint of those who actually live, work and play in the place. She is keen to represent the unwritten narratives of a place / city.

Peterborough is a city that has undergone many transformations. It is a new town which has a history stretching back to the Bronze Age. It is now one of the fastest growing cities in the UK and is made up of a series of distinct different townships linked by a network of parkways. It is also an incredibly green city. It is known by many as the place they pass through on the train from London or the place you visit to renew your passport. Everyone’s knowledge and visual map of Peterborough is different. It is based on where you live, how you travel (walk, bike, car, train), who you meet, what you do, your daily journey to school, to work, to the shops, to the gym.

Over several visits in 2019, Aïcha visited secondary schools, and worked with youth groups, gardeners, artists and activists from across Peterborough. She talked to them about ‘their’ city. She asked them to draw their mental maps of the city and she drew hers. She walked for hours and toured by car – which is when she discovered Peterborough’s tangle of park ways! The result is ‘Weavers’ a brand new art work for the city, a magnificent alternative map.

“I had the privilege to be guided in Peterborough by its inhabitants through walks, talks, rides, and meetings. I was generously invited into the movements around and within the city. Weavers pictures the diversity of narratives and threads making Peterborough. A place whose history is written in its streets, buildings, and infinite sky; but also carried and shaped by the different people and generations forming its population. Weavers is also an illustration of the emotions and the energies generated by the city: leaving, staying, coming back, cultivating, exploring, and inhabiting the urban change before being part of it. I am very thankful to everyone who offered a little part of their Peterborough wholeheartedly and enthusiastically.” Artist Aicha El Beloui

The map showcases some of the highlights and beauty of Peterborough from the residents itself, the positivity and joys of the city with locations such as the Lido, our endless green spaces, ease of access to the fen countryside and many who call this place home.  

This finished artwork is now on display and can be seen in Queensgate Shopping Centre, near the Westgate / John Lewis entrance and in the Waiting Room on Platform 1 at Peterborough Train Station.

Why not pop along and see if you can see ‘your’ Peterborough illustrated in the map or if any of your favourite locations have been depicted.

We would love to see your alternative maps for the city, use the hashtag #Weavers to share your visions or favourite Peterborough locations and why!

Supported by Queensgate Shopping Centre, LNER and Peterborough Train Station

For more information about the map visit:  

About Aïcha El Beloui

Born in Casablanca, Aïcha El Beloui is a trained architect working as an illustrator, creative director, and graphic designer. Responding to a need to express the invisible urban experience, Aïcha uses research, interviews, drawing, and animation to represent the unwritten narratives present in urban human habitat through its habitants; works produced are displayed in public space.


About Metal:

Metal is an arts organisation working across art forms (theatre, music, dance, visual arts etc). We provide artists with the time, space and support to develop their ideas, take risks and create bold new work – whilst also thinking about the city in which they make it. This often results in artists working alongside other professionals and communities to create discussions, publications, small scale events and largescale festivals. Metal has spaces in Peterborough, Liverpool and Southend-on-Sea; and is funded as a National Portfolio Organisation by Arts Council England.

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