‘Exploring Nine Elms’ was a series of site-specific creative workshop commissions, initiated and managed by the Cultivate team, as part of the wider Cultivate Programme.
It was the first project to be initiated by the Cultivate team, forming an important part of the action-research we are carrying out as part of AND’s ‘London Cultural Education Challenge’.
In May of this year, three creative practitioners across the fields of fine art, architecture and design were appointed to lead workshops with three different schools in the Nine Elms area – two of which are primaries, and one a secondary.
Between June and July 2016, the workshop leaders worked with groups of young people from St John Bosco College, John Burns Primary and Chesterton Primary School. They worked to a brief developed by the Cultivate team with input from ReachOutRCA, to deliver creative projects relating to the regeneration of Nine Elms.
• Architect Wendy Smith worked with year 10 GCSE Art students from St John Bosco College to explore masterplanning of the whole Nine Elms area, in particular New Covent Garden Market, and to create architectural sculptures of their ideal intervention in the place.
• Jasper Sutherland, a communications and engagement designer from Make:Good explored and co-created play structures with a class from John Burns Primary. They are looking at a riverside site and working to a brief based on five themes chosen by the class. The children consulted with children in the nursery at their school about what they wanted from a play structure.
• Anne Harild is a contemporary artist who worked with a class from Chesterton Primary to explore sculptural forms and ideas in architecture, to understand how forms interweave, looking at a site near Chelsea Bridge.
Each of the workshop leaders employed a unique creative approach to the commission, using the tools of their particular discipline. However, there are a number of shared principles that Cultivate has asked them to take into account, such as how the project can help young people to feel more connected to the changes that are happening in their area. One aim of this project was to get some feedback from the workshop leaders, teachers and young people on the Cultivate Planning Workbook, its Quality Principles and learning outcomes.
The young participants benefited from the experience of developing a site-specific project in collaboration with a creative professional, whilst learning about place-making and the design process in the context of their local area. Each group has shared the outcome of their project with the rest of their school at a special sharing event, and in turn the workshop leaders are creating teaching resources based on their projects.