Box on the Docks is back – celebrating Manchester’s unheard voices

'The power of true storytelling and its ability to create community and connection is more important than ever in these uncertain times'

Following the huge success of the public art and dining concept over the summer, Box on the Docks is back for winter.

And this time, MediaCityUK will not only be turned into a striking public art display and haven for safe dining, but also a mouthpiece for insightful, real life stories told by older people and marginalised communities.

‘A Grand Life, Heard’ by Heard Storytelling aims to bring generations together this Christmas by celebrating the true stories told by Salford and Manchester’s older residents, who candidly share their life lessons in a series of audio recordings. 

Once lockdown has lifted, visitors will enter a unique pod, reminiscent of a grandparent’s living room, to take a seat, get comfortable and listen to the significant moments they’ve  chosen to record for you – their joys, regrets and life lessons.

Photo: Heard Storytelling

“Heard Storytelling exists to make people feel heard,” says Colette Burroughs-Rose, co-founder of Heard Storytelling.

“The impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been particularly difficult for older people, as many have had to shield from the outside world.

“Against this backdrop of increasing isolation, we wanted to collect and share these important voices to bring people together to listen to each other’s lived experiences.

“The power of true storytelling and its ability to create community and connection is more important than ever in these uncertain times.” 

If you are an older person who may have a story from a significant moment in your life that you’d like to share, or know someone who would like to participate, then you can get in touch via

Photo: Heard Storytelling

In addition, Salford-based Manchester Street Poem are returning to Box on the  Docks with a new concept surrounding the magic of Christmas – ‘MSPs Winter Trees’. 

Heart-warming messages of hope penned by those who feel they have lost their voice will adorn the walls of the pod accompanied by a sound track exclusively designed by founders of Manchester Street Poem, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith from British electronic music group, Underworld. 

Karl Hyde, founder of Manchester Street Poem said: “Christmas rarely looks like it does in  the TV adverts and this installation is intended to promote the view that the magic of Christmas resides in people. It’s the small things, those acts and gestures that cost nothing, but can make all the difference.

“Within the box we will create trees, covered with Christmas cards filled with messages of positivity and kindness.” 

And Box on the Docks have also commissioned  MediaCityUK based Carbon Creative to transform a shed into a striking Salford Food Bank collection box to support local families in need.

Throughout this year the valuable service delivered food parcels to over 6,000 families, and demand is set to increase over the coming  months. 

“Many of the artists selected have chosen to celebrate the people of Salford and the stories of those who live and work within the city,” said Kate Hadfield from Carbon Creative.

“They share heart-warming messages of hope through these challenging times.

“Box on the  Docks is a fantastic commitment by MediaCityUK to support two of the most-hardest hit industries, the arts and hospitality.” 

Once lockdown has eased, Box on the Docks will open to the public to enjoy socially distanced dining within the comfort and safety of 30 self-contained deluxe sheds and greenhouses, each uniquely decorated by specially commissioned Salford-based artists.

The new commissions include large painted murals, woodland scenes, phosphorescent designs,  digital sound recordings and even a vibrant Love Chapel.  


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

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