Finding Morph – London’s first accessible art trail

Sculpture depicting Morph in a yellow suit covered in braille, with sunglasses and a cane

Have you met a Morph yet? If you’ve been to central London in the last month, we’d be suprised if you’d missed him. An army of six-foot-tall sculptures of the much-loved animated mischief maker are taking over our most significant sights. There are 56 uniquely painted Morphs (plus 23 mini-Morphs) to discover on the UK’s first step-free art trail. Hosted by Whizz-Kidz, the leading charity for young wheelchair users, each sculpture has been designed by a talented artist telling a vital story about accessibility and inclusion. 💙

We should warn you. Finding Morphs can be addictive. Our camera roll is already filling up with the selfies we’ve taken each time we get a moment with a Morph! 🎨

🔍 Check out the Morph sculptures around London (until Sun 20 August 2023)

🗺️ Download the app and trail map to help you locate them all

️️️️📸 Share your meetings with Morphs on social media using the hashtag #MorphsAdventureLondon

What was the inspiration behind the design for your sculpture?

️The inspiration behind the design was to be seen. As a blind artist, the stigma attached is one of “ahhhh, isn’t it nice you’ve got a hobby!’, but I’m a professional and want to be seen as such. This Morph looks like me in my braille suit. Representing the importance of braille and showing the beauty of braille allows people, especially children, to learn this tactile language. Plus, my sculpture has a white cane, which is further representation, and allows visually impaired children to interact with Morph and be proud that Morph is just like them. Blindness needs to be shown not hidden, and the conversations that my Morph has already sparked proves that he is a talking point.

Why is accessibility important to you?

Accessibly is the forefront of my artistic practice. Being the only braille artist in the UK, I go into schools to teach braille, and then those children get to ask questions about sight loss that adults rarely feel comfortable enough to ask. Educating children through art, inclusion and braille should be everywhere, including other cities around the world. My aim is to bring braille into the 21st century.

What’s your favourite station, line and mode of transport?

When I go to London, I do my research about which tube lines and connections to make and I learn those routes. So, I use the Victoria line a lot, as I travel into Victoria station, and also the City and District line to get to where my gallery is. What I wish is that those huge signs around the underground that tell you the stations be in braille. My favourite mode is the bus as it’s my thinking time, as I’m not worrying about getting run over.

What is your favourite hidden gem in London?

I don’t go to London often, but on a recent trip my friend took me to Leake Street Tunnel, which is one big evolving graffiti exhibition! As an artist, I find that really interesting. I even left my mark there with my braille signature – it was legal!

‘Morph Whizz Kidz Argonaut’

What was the inspiration behind the design for your sculpture?

The inspiration for my Morph design came from the young people I worked with in the workshops. They didn’t want anything maudlin, they wanted something that had edge! So, I used their artwork to create badges, which adorn the surface, and I created a surface design which reflected my own art practice. For instance, my Morph proudly displays leg calipers and wears arm supports.

Apart from your design, which other sculptures are your favourite on the trail and why?

Unfortunately I was ill for the launch, so have not seen the trail yet, but I love the ones where there is a message, such as the one by the braille artist. Its really encouraging to see art made by disabled artists on display at such high prestige events.

Why is accessibility important to you? 

I’m a wheelchair user, so it is something which affects every aspect of my life. I have to plan everything I do, down to the last detail. It makes life hard sometimes, but I am proud that my work with Changing Places Toilets has seen that there are now more accessible toilets in place.

What’s your favourite station, line and mode of transport?

I travel to Kings Cross a lot, and think it has a certain magic, due to its connections to film history. I find train stations strangely romantic as they are places for meeting and saying goodbye.

What is your favourite hidden gem in London?

I love the bits of the roman wall you can see, and side streets which are almost out of time. In my opinion, London is beautiful, and I love going to the galleries and accessing fantastic restaurants around the city. I live in rural Lincolnshire so the ’smoke’ is always exciting for me.

‘Blaze a trail’

What was the inspiration behind the design for your sculpture?

The words that I’ve painted on my Morph are from the last line of my book Odd Dog Out: “Blaze a trail, be who you are”. The message of the story is that it doesn’t matter what you look like or what other people think of you. The best thing that you can be is yourself. I thought this was the perfect message to express to the people of London via the medium of a large, plasticine man. 

Apart from your design, which other sculptures are your favourite on the trail and why?

I love Olaf Falafel’s Magritte Morph (“It’s Raining Morphs! Hallelujah!” located outside Tate Modern). Magritte is one of my very favourite artists and so is Olaf. So I’m happy that those two worlds have collided. I also love Sandra Russell’s “Pearly King Morph”, not only because he’s beautifully painted, but also because he’s the nearest Morph to mine. So we are neighbours.

Why is accessibility important to you? 

I believe that everybody deserves the right to experience what our towns and cities have to offer, regardless of any health conditions that they may have. We need to do everything we can to make sure that public spaces are exactly what they claim to be – spaces for the public. And that means spaces for everybody. Creating a fully accessible world would mean that we can all feel empowered and included, and absolutely everyone can play an active role in society. 

What’s your favourite station, line and mode of transport?

My favourite station is King’s Cross/St Pancras. I had a front row seat when the buildings and surrounding area were being redeveloped – I worked at The Guardian at the time, which is just around the corner, so I would watch it change before my eyes on a daily basis. Because of that, I feel a kind of ownership of the area, which sounds strange but, actually, I do think that cities do belong to their inhabitants. They are part of us and we are part of them. 

My favourite mode of transport is the tube, and my favourite line is the Northern line. I think it’s unfairly maligned. It has always served me very well.

What is your favourite hidden gem in London?

I have two. Firstly the Reading Rooms at the British Library. Not only are they very peaceful and very quiet – good for when writing a book – but they are also absolutely beautiful. A part of every single one of my books has been written in those rooms.

Secondly, I’m going to say Shuttleworths (AKA the Theatre Bar, AKA The Phoenix Arts Club) underneath The Phoenix Theatre on Charing Cross Road. I feel like you need a bit of local knowledge to know of its existence, but once you do it’s always a great place to meet friends and have a brilliant night out. 

Our work with Whizz-Kidz

Whizz Kidz’ Kidz Board

For several years, TfL have worked closely with Whizz Kidz sharing an interest in making transport in London as open and accessible as possible. Whizz Kidz are members of our Inclusive Travel Forum, helping us improve our network by increasing accessibility, from new bus routes to step-free train platforms.

Young people from the charity have helped us train our drivers and tested new ramps to make it easier for wheelchair users to get on our buses. Whizz Kidz’ Kidz Board, a group of young wheelchair users at the heart of the charity, are committed to making transport more accessible, and we’re proud to work with them to achieve that goal.

Accessible journeys with us

Visit our website to find out how we can help you when traveling on our network.

♿ Plan a route with step-free access

💙 Discover our free travel mentoring scheme

🧑‍✈️ Our staff are trained to assist and support you throughout your journey

Visit our travel tools webpage to find details about our journey planner, TfL Go app and how to plan an accessible journey

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