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 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

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.


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 workshops@chocolatefilms.com

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