New resource to inspire creative projects


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.


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

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.

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.

A Song For Nine Elms film launch


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 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

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.

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.

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

Screenshot 2016-08-29 17.59.05

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.

Moving Walls


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.

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.

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







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.

Nine Elms Past and Present

Through this website, we aim to share stories of good practice to inspire more excellent creative place-making projects with young people. Some will be projects we find interesting and relevant even though they aren’t part of the Cultivate programme. Nine Elms Past and Present is definitely inspiring and relevant. It’s about Nine Elms, it uses media and heritage resources in a creative way, it involves young people, and one of our partners Chocolate Films is behind it!

Screenshot 2016-03-29 17.56.39

It’s a media and heritage project led by young people working with Chocolate Films. They aimed to discover real life stories about people that lived and worked in Nine Elms before the decommissioning of Battersea Power Station in 1983. It lasted a year, involved 400 people in total and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Chocolate Films has always been based near Nine Elms and has had a long relationship with both the developers and the communities in the area. They thought it would be invaluable to research and document the social history of this fast-changing area. The result was a fantastic programme, devised with young people, in partnership with local arts and cultural organisations which reached out to local residents.

Their filmmakers trained and supported 30 young people to engage with an older generation and uncover unheard stories about the area and its history. The participants learned documentary filmmaking skills, which includes researching local heritage, skills in listening, empathising and interviewing people, and technical skills with cameras, audio and editing. They created four short documentaries as well as many oral history recordings. They also learned how to create a dedicated website for the project and designed an exhibition to showcase their creative work, which was held in February at StudioRCA at Riverlight. Many of the participants became Chocolate Films Ambassadors and achieved Arts Awards from their work on the project.

The project has included a range of exciting events for the local community. Highlights include the launch event and screening at Battersea Power Station of The Optimists of Nine Elms plus a Q&A with director Anthony Simmons, and an Oral History Collection Day at Battersea Arts Centre.

The website provides a great legacy for the project, and a resource for all Cultivate partners, educators and community groups to celebrate and explore Nine Elms’ heritage. It includes oral histories on themes of culture, community, industry, politics and activism, transport and leisure. You can also explore through the profiles of all the people they interviewed. Or, you can dig around in the archive, where there are old films of the area, including some odd treasures like a film about a doll factory, or some photos of Battersea Power Station.

Screenshot 2016-03-29 17.46.29

If you have any queries about this project, get in touch with Chocolate Films on

Chocolate Films is working with us to create an introductory film to the Cultivate project, which will be posted here when it is ready.

Cultivate launching

DPQ St Marys
St Mary’s Primary school – new building project

Welcome to Cultivate’s first post! We have been setting up the project for the past 4 months, and now we’re ready to spread the word.

We are one of seven ‘Cultural Education Challenge‘ projects around London part-funded by A New Direction. Cultivate has been awarded two year’s funding, matching contributions from Wandsworth Council and Nine Elms developers. Our aim is to create a bridge between the cultural opportunities being created through the regeneration and local young people aged 7 to 19 who would most benefit from them.

As the transformation of Nine Elms on the South Bank unfolds, a cultural strategy is creating vibrant new venues, creative workspace, public art and festivals. Cultivate will support this work through Art and Design-led workshops and hands-on participatory projects. These will raise young people’s awareness and aspiration in relation to creative and place-related study and professional paths.

Cultivate aims to support relationships between this changing area and schools nearby, to nurture quality projects and ensure opportunities to be involved are shared effectively. This will result in a place that is seen as both a cultural destination in the making and a starting point for a future creative generation.

The funding has enabled a dedicated focus on collaboration with developers, cultural organisations and schools to offer: project coordination, quality guidance, evaluation support and relationship brokerage as well as sharing learning and best practice.

Current projects include:

  • Creative Hoarding Project at St Mary’s School, led by artist Orly Orbach and the Pump House Gallery, working with cultural consultant DPQ and developer Taylor Wimpey
  • Nine Songs for Nine Elms with Griffin Primary School, led by artist Lucy Cash and Up Projects, working with the Vista Development site and developer Berkley Homes
  • Edible Avenue with St Georges Primary School, led by artists Edible Bus Stop, working with cultural consultant Aida Esposito and developer Vinci St Modwen, related to developments around Thessaly Road and the New Covent Garden Market.
  • Exploring Nine Elms at Chesterton Primary, St John Bosco College and John Burns Primary, supported by ReachOutRCA. This project is not fixed on one development site, but is directly commissioned by the Cultivate team to explore new ideas, build relationships with schools that have been offered fewer projects so far, and trial our planning approach with them.

The project is led by Enable on behalf of Wandsworth Council and the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership. It is hoped to expand the project into Vauxhall in the near future. For more information contact Ana Ospina: or 07732 787423.

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