New resource to inspire creative projects

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In summer 2016, Cultivate ran projects in three schools, under the heading of Exploring Nine Elms. This downloadable resource shares the approaches of these projects, providing inspiration for teachers, creative practitioners and cultural consultants to develop their own creative learning projects inspired by changing places.

Each project plan reflects the process of each of the three different practitioners who delivered the Exploring Nine Elms projects: Architect Wendy Smith, Designer Jasper Sutherland and Artist Anne Harild. The plans are fairly detailed but can be easily adapted to work for different age groups in different types of places, or to link to different curriculum topics. They are also designed to be open for teachers/artists or young people to apply to their own ideas, needs or curriculum subjects.

Exploring Nine Elms was one of the first Cultivate projects to test approaches for cultural learning workshops. Three creative practitioners across the fields of fine art, architecture and design led workshops with three different schools in Nine Elms (two primaries and one secondary) during June and July 2016. The elements we were piloting included:

  • testing the limits of the new Cultivate Planning Workbook, to see how it worked to help creative practitioners and educators plan and evaluate projects
  • comparing the approaches of three different types of creative practitioner, and how each could contribute to the needs of schools
  • reaching out to offer projects to schools that were interested in accessing creative learning focused on the local regeneration area
  • the participation of developers and local cultural organisations
  • exploring and sharing innovative practice in exploring places, careers, creativity, design and the built environment with schools and young people.

This resource helps fulfil this last element of our ambitions for Exploring Nine Elms.

We hope you enjoy it, and please do let us know if you find it useful.

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Cultivate is delivered by Enable Leisure and Culture for Wandsworth Council and the Nine Elms Vauxhall partnership, with coordination provided by Flow Associates, culture and education specialists.

Funded by A New DirectionWandsworth Council, Lambeth Council and Nine Elms developers and is one of seven projects in A New Direction’s London Cultural Education Challenge.

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Exploring a design career

Cultivate Routes is the strand of the Cultivate programme that supports careers education, focusing on creative roles and opportunities related to place-making. A big part of Cultivate Routes is a workshop that will be available for primary and secondary schools all around Nine Elms, led by creative and place-making professionals. The idea is that pupils can have a direct and friendly encounter with someone doing interesting, inspiring work, who can challenge them to try out a task they typically face in their jobs.

We have just piloted two of these workshops. One was led by designer, Fatima Khuzem, working with a Design & Technology class in Ark Bolingbroke Academy.

Fatima’s workshop in Ark Bolingbroke Academy was with a GCSE Design & Technology group. It focused on product design, and being mindful about the needs of users. Fatima first introduced her own route into design, starting with when she was a curious 16 year old, the same age as the participants. She went through the stages of her career development, aiming to show the diversity of different roles, mindsets and work settings in a design career. These different places included university projects, a design studio, a large company and being a freelancer. She is currently studying for a masters’ degree at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, in a course called MA Narrative Environments. This uses storytelling and imagination to create experiences and solve problems for people. This was helpful to show that you can continue your studies at any point in your career, not just at the start. Although a product designer, she showed how her different roles have used other design methods or skills such as Spatial Design, Service Design and Graphic Design. For example, developing signage and wayfinding for an airport draws on all three.

Several of the pupils commented that this diversity of routes into work was new learning for them; “that it’s easy to change in a creative career”.

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Fatima introducing her work

The main part of the workshop was a practical activity that set them a challenge to design a product for an imagined person, who has a problem in a certain setting. Fatima gave groups a person, a problem and a setting, from a random set of prompts. The students played roles in pairs, one a designer, one the user, questioning them about their problem. The people included a dyspraxic young person, a lonely 50 year old and a busy parent, so this first task called for lots of empathy and good questioning techniques. The next steps were to write a design brief (i.e. to identify the need and commission a solution), to ideate (to generate ideas), to select the best ideas and also to combine or flip them, to get feedback from the user, and then to sell their idea in a visual presentation. In the ideation stage, they were encouraged to think like an artist, or like a younger child. In the final stage, they were asked to think like a business person.

As an example, one group invented a rotating cycle storage rack for a train station, that would allow bikes to be stored quickly to speed up the commute.

“I enjoyed learning about how to reach and join a product design path and what comes after education. I also enjoyed the designing aspect.” Pupil

“I found out that working together and collecting other people’s opinions and ideas are useful in designing something.” Pupil

“There are an abundance of things you must consider when designing – especially the user.” Pupil

This workshop encouraged open thinking about the role of designer, the diversity of mindsets and situations you find yourself in. The teacher observed that the students were all engaged, listening and on task, and that they appreciated seeing lots of examples and discovering a wider context for how design is applied. She was pleased that the session explored transferrable skills and the importance of collaboration. She also gave some practical suggestions about injecting more pace into the session, and insisting that everyone makes a drawing. The students struggled to come up with questions for Fatima, so future participants may need more thematic prompts to know what to ask, especially as the workshop leaders will be strangers to them.

Fatima found the session useful too. It helped her reflect on her own career and see how one can design your own life using design methods, and was interested to learn from the responses of the young people.

She realised that the workshop would be even better with some examples of local companies or design practitioners working in the Nine Elms. Our aim is to add more stories of people working in or based in the regeneration area to the People Who Make Places series on this website, so do get in touch with ana.ospina@flowassociates.com if you have a story to tell.

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A group gets down to work, designing a product to solve somebody’s problem

Cultivate is delivered by Enable Leisure and Culture for Wandsworth Council and the Nine Elms Vauxhall partnership, with coordination provided by Flow Associates, culture and education specialists.

Funded by A New DirectionWandsworth Council, Lambeth Council and Nine Elms developers and is one of seven projects in A New Direction’s London Cultural Education Challenge.

A taste of Chocolate Films

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Children at St Mary’s school working out camera angles for their film scenes

Cultivate Routes is the strand of the Cultivate programme that supports careers education, focusing on creative roles and opportunities related to place-making. One in every six jobs in London is in a creative sector, and this is likely to grow, so it’s important for children to know what is possible in their own futures. A big part of Cultivate Routes are workshops that will be available for primary and secondary schools all around Nine Elms, led by creative and place-making professionals. The idea is that pupils can have a direct and friendly encounter with someone doing interesting, inspiring work, who can challenge them to try out a task they typically face in their jobs.

We have just piloted two of these workshops. One was led by Reece Lipman, a film-maker with Battersea-based Chocolate Films, working with a class from St Mary’s Primary school.

The St Mary’s children found out about the different roles involved in making a film, then undertook an activity introducing them to pre-production tasks, how to craft a story and techniques for shooting. Their task was to make a film with only 5 shots, which had to fit within a genre such as romance. They began by watching a film called For the Birds, analysing all the different camera angles and what each shot revealed and concealed. They then explored how a typical story has a basic structure where a hero encounters an obstacle on a journey. Working in teams they made their own storyboards based on this. They used cardboard frames to contain their actions within their scenes, and posed behind them for each of their 5 shots. The session concluded with questions for Reece about how to become a film-maker, and some reflection on what they had learned.

When asked what they enjoyed, most said they liked having a go at acting and getting their hands on a camera. Some said they enjoyed the elements where they were listening and watching, for example, learning from Reece about film-making and analysing the shots in a film. Some liked the team work: “I enjoyed acting and watching movies and getting together and doing things we would not usually do.”

When asked what they found out, most mentioned the practical learning about story structure and technique, but many also commented on the life and role of being a film-maker, for example, “…being a film maker is much cooler than I thought it would have been”, “there are different stages in film life and you don’t just do it all at once” and “no matter what you get you have to make it into something you love.” Framing this practical activity within an awareness of what it could involve to be a film-maker in future seemed to work well to situate their learning, and empowered them to consider themselves as potential creatives.

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A scene captured through a frame

Feedback from the teacher Luke Doyle was positive, “the day was an excellent opportunity for the children to learn about the available careers and to get hands on.” He felt the pupils produced some good work, and it was especially good to see boys really enjoying making romantic narratives. He had contributed a lot to the content of the workshop to ensure that it would meet literacy outcomes. He suggested that future workshops should be designed to have less talk from the front, and more practical activity.

Reece reflected on the challenge of meeting the children’s needs for learning in literacy, while also delivering the brief of giving children an insight into a creative career. We will look at ways to adjust this pilot workshop to ensure that this balance works as well as possible for primary children, delivering what teachers need while also extending the experiences of children.

Cultivate is delivered by Enable Leisure and Culture for Wandsworth Council and the Nine Elms Vauxhall partnership, with coordination provided by Flow Associates, culture and education specialists.

Funded by A New DirectionWandsworth Council, Lambeth Council and Nine Elms developers and is one of seven projects in A New Direction’s London Cultural Education Challenge.

People who make places: Fatima Khuzem

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Hello to Fatima Khuzem, thank you for contributing your story to People Who Make Places.

How do you describe what you do when someone in your family asks?

I am a product and spatial designer, and I use creativity to make/build things that can help address or solve problems.

What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

A project for Mumbai airport. The sheer scale of it was very exciting and it was the first of its kind that I worked on. It was designing all their passenger experiences in the arrival and departure zones – including all the physical things that went in it.

What aspect of your work gives you the best feeling?

Seeing the result of a project and talking to people that share the same sentiment.

What keeps you awake at night?

How I can balance having a lucrative career while doing the things I believe in and love. Also whether I will be a good mother.

What does your work now have to do with what you studied, if at all?

What I studied and continue to study act as stepping stones to refine myself as a person and in my work too. I still continue to be a designer like I studied to be. I use the same tools and knowledge but use them for all kinds of different things now.

What advice would you give to a young person interested in a career like yours?

My first advice would be that, there is no alternative to hard work. Doing anything different means having to fight for it. Secondly I would advise young people to start doing and making, as design and creativity is in everything. The easiest first step to take would be to start looking at people and things you find inspiring and try and replicate them. Keep a scrap book!

People Who Make Places: Anne-Héloise Dautel

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Hello Anne-Hélouise Dautel! Thanks for contributing to People Who Make Places:

First question, how do you describe what you do when someone in your family asks?

I create and design spaces and buildings for people by sculpting and manipulating the light, volumes, etc. We all live in an ‘architectured’ world which has been designed and ‘dictated’ by planners and architects and I would like to sensibilise people to their surroundings and Architecture in general. Architecture is like a playground for me, or a laboratory where I manipulate volumes and materials, combine them, try to understand what the client’s wish is. Architecture should be a profession and a career of continuous research and personal development.

I have been working in the UK as an Architect for more than 4 years. I am currently employed and have been working in a Architecture firm based in Central London for nearly 2 years. Before that, I used to work in a Belfast based firm specialised in Conservation work. That Northern Irish company sent me to China for a 3 1/2 month business trip in Shenzhen in order to create a partnership with a Chinese local firm. I had the chance to work on masterplans on scales much bigger than anything I have worked on in Europe. I also had the opportunity to do some architectural research in the Architecture School of Bhopal in India while being part of a students exchange programme between Bhopal and Queens University of Belfast.

What is the most interesting project you have worked on?

A 5.3 hectare regeneration masterplan in Bangor, sea-side town in Northern Ireland. The final proposal includes a cultural, leisure and arts hub and theatre, located in the town centre, as well as shops, restaurants, offices and hotels – all of which acting as a catalyst for regeneration in the heart of the town. Its apartments and hotels put its residents first and will ensure this vibrant and diverse place has an enduring legacy. I have worked with the local residents closely to determine their needs and define the programme and space.

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What aspect of your work gives you the best feeling?

Working with and for people.

What keeps you awake at night?

When I feel like I could have performed better and did not give the best of myself.

What does your work now have to do with what you studied, if at all?

I studied Architecture in France and Northern Ireland and am now an Architect.

What advice would you give to a young person interested in a career like yours?

I would warn them of the complexity and difficulty of this profession. From Uni to a professional environment, your work will be criticised. You need to be truly passionate about Architecture when working as an Architect.

People Who Make Places: Chelsea Moore

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Hello Chelsea! Thank you for contributing to People Who Make Places.

How do you describe what you do when someone in your family asks?

I am a designer and maker, specialising in creating set builds, installation art, scenic art, sculpture and costume. I work mostly in paint, fabrics and scrap materials that I source from Scrapstores around the country. Throughout my freelance career, I have actively sought out opportunities for creative events ranging from public events and festivals, and evolving my experience and passion as a workshop facilitator and maker for children’s theatre and community projects. I always find this a tough one, especially trying to describe what I do in one sentence because I do lots of different projects all the time.

What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

There are many exciting projects I have worked on that I have loved equally, but the one that probably stands out is a self-funded and crowd-funded project called Son Caméléon. This was the first multi-disciplinary project produced by the art collective I run, Tangleface Arts, also being the project that brought us together as a collective which is why it is special to me. It was created in 2014 and has since toured music and arts festivals and events around the UK for three years running. Son Caméléon is an art installation that comes to life when in use – it is ultimately a pedalling stage that looks like a chameleon. The build itself ignites a childish sense of awe; a giant Mumma Caméléon emitting music, pedalling through the landscape accompanied by her chameleon offspring (these are performers dressed up in chameleon costumes that we made). Once Mumma Caméléon finds a suitable feeding ground, she parks up and welcomes you into her world of delights, fending off the enemy with her colourful displays of both live acoustic music and DJ sets. Son Caméléon comes with promenade-style performance, interactive games, handmade goods and prizes, as well as bookable art workshops bespoke to each event.

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What aspect of your work gives you the best feeling?

Being hands on and making! I also massively enjoy facilitating workshops as this gives me great joy and pleasure passing on my love and skills set for art onto others, and I really enjoy working with other people – most of my work consists with collaborating.

What keeps you awake at night?

Being a freelancer means that my work brain is always switched on, so I guess if I am kept awake at night it is always because I am either thinking of my tasks for the next day, worrying if I have enough time to get everything done or the opposite of that and worrying when my next job will come in. It is definitely no 9-5 and can be extremely stressful but I wouldn’t want it any other way as it gives me a huge amount of freedom too!

What does your work now have to do with what you studied, if at all?

I studied Fine Art at university so my studies have definitely fed into what I am doing now. If I never went to the university I studied at (The Arts University Bournemouth), then I would never have met the people who I now run Tangleface Arts with and actually most of the people I collaborate now with on commissions. Fine Art was hugely conceptual, which I think has broaden my imagination and ideas, allowing me to not only be a maker but be a designer also, and it has given me skills amongst many different art mediums, which I definitely apply to my work now.

What advice would you give to a young person interested in a career like yours?

I would advise them to gain as much experience as possible and get involved with as much work as they can even whilst studying. Going to university was great and is where I met most of my colleagues now and I had the most incredible time, but gaining experiences is just as important – a client has never asked me what degree I did and what grade I got, they are most interested in the experience I have gained. I would also say to not be shy and instead chat to as many people as possible and be passionate about what you do – again the majority of my jobs have been from word of mouth and people I have met along the way, either on previous jobs or through friends and colleagues passing on my information. Never underestimate your talent and worth! And keep chasing your passion, don’t give up!

Call for freelance creatives

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Architect Wendy Smith with students from St John Bosco College

Do you want to help inspire and inform young people about creative freelancing? Work more with schools? Share your knowledge and experience?

 
If you work in a creative field, chances are you struggled to find careers information at school, outside of the ‘normal’ routes. Cultivate Routes is a new project based in Wandsworth, that aims to raise young people’s awareness of a wider range of creative careers by bringing freelancers into primary and secondary schools to work with teachers and to tell young people about their work and career path.
 
We are looking for early-ish career (up to 5 yrs) independent practitioners working in a creative, cultural or place-making related field (e.g. Product Design, Architecture, Landscape, Exhibition Design, Retail or Interior Design or Heritage) to take part in an ongoing programme of half-day careers inspiration workshops at schools in Wandsworth or Lambeth. A small fee is available to cover expenses and a planning meeting with the school would also be required in advance of the workshop.

We’d particularly like to hear from cross-disciplinary and collaborative freelancers with a successful ‘portfolio’ career.

This is part of the Cultivate Routes project, the careers strand of the Cultivate programme. Schools are now legally responsible for delivery of careers advice and guidance, and need support to cover opportunities beyond their expertise such as creative industries and place-making. We consulted teachers on their needs. They wanted professionals to visit schools to deliver interactive sessions, setting their pupils a challenge that would give a taste of their work. We are running some pilot sessions and will continue to offer it throughout 2017, and possibly longer.

Please share with anyone you know who might be interested!

If you’d like to apply, please fill out this short form in a lively and succinct manner.
For more info, email ana.ospina@flowassociates.com or call 07732787423.

A Song For Nine Elms film launch

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UP Projects were invited to curate and produce a series of commissions as a part of Berkeley Homes’ new development: Vista, Nine Elms, Battersea. Lucy Cash was selected to work performatively with members of local community groups, schools and residents’ associations in order to co-create a film. Proposing the idea of song as gesture (between people, in response to an emotion, a provocation) she invited participants to contribute in diverse ways – via lyrics or their voices, or with an action.

The film which emerged out of the project is titled A Song For Nine Elms. Both the work with participants and the film itself explore the shifting landscapes of the Nine Elms development area through lyrics and songs dedicated to the land and soil which hold the history of the area. Lucy has worked with local residents and community groups including Griffin Primary School and the Doddington Community Roof Garden to uncover local stories that relate to the horticultural history of Battersea and the surrounding area as well as exploring heritage narratives, local stories and memories which celebrate Nine Elm’s diverse history.

The songs have contributed to A Song For Nine Elms, (25 minutes) by Lucy Cash which will be screened at StudioRCA, Nine Elms 2nd – 9th November 2016, admission free and drop-in welcomed. The private view will take place on Thursday 3rd November 2016, 7pm-8:30pm with a screening of the work, performance and refreshments.

RSVP holly@upprojects.com if you would like to attend.

Nine Songs for Nine Elms is a Berkeley Homes commission curated and produced by UP Projects as part of the wider cultural strategy for the Vista in Nine Elms, a mixed use development located next to the open spaces of Battersea Park and close to the River Thames.

The commission is part of the overarching Cultural Strategy for Nine Elms on the South Bank and the Cultivate programme.

 

Exploring Nine Elms

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Wendy Smith on an architecture walk with St John Bosco students

A press release about Exploring Nine Elms is available to download from here and an article about it can be found here

‘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.

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Pupils from John Burns in one of the shelters

• 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.

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Pupils from Chesterton Primary making sculptures of spaces

• 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.

 

Edible Avenue in Thessaly Road

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Thessaly Road is being transformed with art and planting as part of the wider ‘Edible Avenue’ project, funded by developers Vinci St Modwen, who are currently redeveloping New Covent Garden Market on Nine Elms Lane. Planting workshops with the community took place during the Chelsea Fringe Festival and London Festival of Architecture, led by award-winning art/horticulture collective, The Edible Bus Stop. More recently, parts of the flower market wall have been painted in bright colours in preparation for designs to be applied.

The designs for the wall are being developed through a series of art workshops with local school children. Year 6 pupils from St George’s Primary are working with artists Richard Field and Sophie Rigg to consider their role and responsibility in the community and consider what the area might be like after the development is complete. They will work collaboratively to design key features for the wall, such as apples for drawn apple trees, whilst further exploring the horticultural and social heritage of the area. These designs will be produced in practical workshops and affixed to the wall as part of the Edible Avenue SW8 and as a legacy of their learning. These workshops, taking place in the Autumn term, will form part of the Cultivate programme of cultural education activities for young people aged 7-19, a series of creative projects linked to the regeneration of Nine Elms.

Also contributing to the transformation of the wall is local resident and acclaimed street artist, Mr Dane. His work will be part of the installation on the wall and has been inspired by the work the children at St George’s have been doing. Watch this space for more exciting changes happening soon!

Edible Avenue SW8 is delivered by The Edible Bus Stop and funded by Vinci St Modwen; part of New Covent Garden Market’s Cultural Programme. It is a partnership with St George’s Primary School, Enable Arts for Wandsworth Council and Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership. It includes projects for Cultivate, London Festival of Architecture and Chelsea Fringe Festival.