Exploring Vauxhall

Local young people in Lambeth have been ‘Exploring Vauxhall’ with creative professionals. These Cultivate projects have been developed in dialogue with developers who are working to improve the area over the next ten years. We are supporting Lambeth Council and developers with their community engagement aims and young people to learn creative skills.

Based at Vauxhall Community Gardens Studios , artist and erstwhile Arctic explorer Vicky Long, worked with the student council at St Anne’s Primary to explore the redevelopment of the gyratory by Transport for London. Vicky led the group on an exploration of Vauxhall, thinking about how places change.

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Photo: Stephen Wright

Theatre Director, Danielle McIlven, worked with a group aged 16+ from the Roots and Shoots horticultural training centre. Danielle is a theatre practitioner, and with the group and Parkour expert Jason Cheung, explored parts of the local area through performance, thinking about the present and future. The short film ‘Exploring Vauxhall’, made by Chocolate Films with the group, documents the project.

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Photo: Stephen Wright

 

Visual sociologist and artist, Harriet Smith and Wyvil Primary Yr 4 pupils explored how we share our urban spaces with animals as part of Science Week, focused on Mt Anvil’s new Keybridge development and involving a visit to Vauxhall City Farm.

Each group spent three days with their assigned creative professional, observing spaces, making art and learning about different creative and place-making professions. They then shared their work with the rest of their school or peers at special events.

Lambeth Council also commissioned three Cultivate Routes workshops in three different Vauxhall schools, helping young people to learn about creative career options, meet a creative professional, and undertake a hands on creative challenge.

The Cultivate programme is managed by Enable Leisure and Culture and funded by A New Direction, Wandsworth Council and local developers. In addition, Exploring Vauxhall was funded and commissioned by Lambeth Council and CLS, developers of Vauxhall Square.

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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.

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.

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.

 

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.

The Cultivate story so far

 

 

We’re excited to announce the launch of this short 6-minute film telling the story of how the Cultivate Programme came about and sharing some of the stories of recent projects from our partners.

The film features footage of creative workshops taking place, along with interviews with young people and teachers from St Mary’s and Griffin Primaries who have been involved with Cultivate projects, as well as the artists that lead the activities. The projects featured in the film are ‘Moving Walls’ by Orly Orbach with St Mary’s Primary and ‘Nine Songs for Nine Elms’ by Lucy Cash and Fraya Thomsen with Griffin Primary.

Leader of Wandsworth Council, Councillor Govindia, and representatives from Nine Elms developers and contractors Taylor Wimpey and Midgard also appear in the film, sharing their thoughts on why cultural community engagement is so important.

Chocolate Films are a local social enterprise who produce videos, specialising in arts, museums and heritage subjects, and have a great track record of working with young people and the community.

Moving Walls

 

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Portion of artwork of the Moving Walls hoarding, with prints and words by children at St Mary’s, supported by artist Orly Orbach

Moving Walls was the first Cultivate project to be completed – although the enjoyment and learning are sure to carry on amongst the children at St Mary’s Primary School.

Some background about the project…

St Mary’s Primary is in the very centre of the Battersea Exchange development, with new buildings going up all around, including an exciting new school building that they will move into in September 2016. (You can see a timelapse video of the new school going up here.) This is a key project in the overall development of the area led by Wandsworth Council and the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership.

Dallas Pierce Quintero (DPQ) is the cultural strategist for this development and, in partnership with Pump House Gallery, they commissioned artist Orly Orbach to work with the children to create a site-specific work. Moving Walls aimed to enhance the timber hoarding built around the school and visible from the playground.

Because it is such an immense change, the project aimed to engage every pupil in the school, to give them a chance to express thoughts and feelings about these changes, to produce something beautiful of which they can feel proud, to gain creative skills and to learn about an artist’s practice.

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The hoarding in process of being installed and finished off

Orly ran sessions in the school from November to March 2016, having some contact with eight classes in the school and 240 children in total, but running more in-depth workshops with the older pupils. Teachers also carried on work in between those workshops, for example, to develop creative writing contributions. The hoarding was installed at the end of May. Councillor Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, visited to see it and contributed to the first Cultivate film, much of it filmed at St Mary’s.

It was ambitious to try to involve all the pupils, so a key challenge was to ensure that all their many ideas could be represented in a professional and inspiring way in the hoarding artwork. It borrows the aesthetic of a sketchbook, with the children’s contributions jostling and overlapping, with visual cohesion provided by the simple red, black and white colour scheme.

The original brief for the artist suggested a range of approaches relating to the construction of Battersea Exchange, for example:

  • Responding to existing structures such as the railway viaduct
  • Documenting the building process
  • Responding to the architectural designs and materials of the new school building
  • Documenting the history of the site and school building to be demolished.

The Pump House Gallery were in a supportive role, recruiting, briefing and guiding the artist and ensuring the school needs were met. Anneke Kuipers, its learning programmes manager, was very clear that the school should lead the development of the project content in collaboration with the artist. After planning with all the class teachers to ensure that activities would meet the curriculum needs across the school, Orly chose to explore the idea of the life-cycle of the school. Children were helped to imagine the school as alive, growing, being loved, falling into disrepair, dying, and a new school being reborn. As stimulus, she used a range of resources such as her own photographs and scenes from The Fall of the House of Usher by Poe.

She used a variety of printing and image-making techniques with the children, including creating printing shapes with foamboard and visual poems. The range of activities gave the teachers and children new creative ideas for observing, documenting and responding to an environment and its changes.

Other key ambitions for the project included the artist being able to develop their own artistic and educational practice, and for the Pump House Gallery to develop its relationship with local schools. To follow up this project, the Gallery is committed to working more with the children and families living in the nearby estates.

Chocolate Films were commissioned to make a film about Cultivate, including the Moving Walls project. This will be linked here as soon as it is complete.

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An inked-up printing shape – a heart with wings expressing love for the school and its community
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Orly helping some children plan a narrative about the life-cycle of the school, and decide which images to turn into a printing shape

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Edible Avenue

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The Edible Avenue project is starting to shape up, helped by a community event that took place at St George’s Primary School on 21st May. And a community planting event for all ages is taking place this weekend in Thessaly Road on 11th and 12th June 2-4pm.

The Edible Avenue will be an exciting treatment or installation to improve the high wall along Thessaly Road, the boundary of the New Covent Garden Market (NCGM) site. The Edible Bus Stop (EBS) are a design and landscape architecture practice who specialise in creating playful and green landmarks for underused or unloved spaces. NCGM plays an important role in the local economy and community, and yet it remains largely unseen beyond its wall. Edible Avenue celebrates the food and flowers that are constantly coming in and out of the market, and the long history of the Nine Elms area as a ‘market garden’ growing food for the city. In Edible Avenue, food growing becomes a tool to connect people.

The team from Edible Bus Stop will create an interactive streetscape, where a white picket fence emerges from the wall, playfully curving to form seating. The wall is to be painted in uplifting colours, with graphic motifs stretching along its length, providing a vibrant backdrop.

The installation will morph into a series of planting areas with fruit bushes, trailing plants, edible flowers and herbs planted throughout. Local residents will be invited to get involved with the planting and tending of these mini gardens and help themselves at harvesting events. The aim is to get people of all ages involved with the new planting spaces to share gardening skills and encourage conversations between each other.

At the community engagement day on the 21st May, the EBS team presented their designs at St George’s school. Attendees were invited to come along and help plant up young herb plants in pots to take away and nurture. They were welcome to keep them, or bring along to the planting days, like the one this weekend on June 11th and 12th, to add to the planters in Edible Avenue. 

Lots of enthusiastic children and their parents came along to plant the herbs and share ideas as to what could be featured on the walls. They gave a resounding ‘thumbs up’ to the concept. There was genuine excitement with everyone looking forward to the changes to the boundary and integration of the surrounding community.

Mr Dane, a large-scale mural art specialist, was there to sketch people’s ideas for the wall. Also present were Cultural Consultant Aida Esposito and Community Liaison Sue Sheehan, who are working for Vinci St Modwen on ongoing community engagement for the NCGM site developments.

The Edible Bus Stop team found that St George’s Primary is a wonderful example of a school that treats its gardens lovingly, which in turn has a positive impact on the children and the atmosphere in which they learn and play. 

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Nine Songs for Nine Elms

As part of Cultivate, UP Projects are curating and producing a series of new commissions as a part of Berkeley Homes’ new Vista development in Nine Elms. Lucy Cash has been selected to create a film and performance commission working with local people (see below on how to take part), residents’ associations and children from Griffin Primary School.

Cash is a multidisciplinary artist who uses filmmaking, digital installations and ‘social choreography’. She is especially interested in accessible ways of connecting dance to the environment around us.

She is working with the community to create Nine Songs for Nine Elms; a series of songs inspired by the heritage of the Nine Elms area. Each song will be influenced by a different musical genre and composed by the participants. At the finale the various groups will perform each other’s songs – for example, elders singing a song by a primary school class. The creation of songs will offer a diverse range of ways to get involved – contributing words or their voice; choreography or an idea for the performance of the song.

 

The project will look at heritage narratives, local stories and memories which celebrate the diverse history of the local area. The final outcomes, including the final film, will help ensure these heritage stories are preserved in memory as the site develops. This will be presented as part of Chelsea Fringe in June 2016 and will also be made available as a resource for Berkeley Homes and London borough of Wandsworth.

Local people can take part through these public events:
London Festival of Architecture
Saturday 4th June at 3pm:
Artist talk at Studio RCA, Riverlight, Nine Elms Lane + walking tour to Doddington Roof Garden, part of London Festival of Architecture.

Chelsea Fringe Festival
11th June 11am to 4pm:
Drop-in workshops at Doddington Roof Garden Fun Day, part of Chelsea Fringe
See here for more details.