Nature Keepers 2019
Funded by Westminster City Council through the Neighbourhood Keepers programme, I worked with artist Anna Winstanley to deliver a series of nature-themed workshops and a mini-festival, connecting local people to their natural environment. This is during a time of major regeneration – and associated uncertainty – in the Church Street Ward. Highlights included:
- Public engagement events in Church St market and in Broadley Street Gardens: we engaged a diverse population of residents and others, creating a welcoming atmosphere and a safe space where participants could talk freely about the environment and other issues as well as meet new people
- By listening respectfully to people’s ideas and concerns, and carefully recording these, we gave participants the sense that they have a voice and can effect change
- Establishment of a meaningful partnership with the Church St Community Champions, who were able to provide volunteers and translation services to our events, maximizing the opportunities for communication
- Delivery of a Festival Day in July which brought together multiple practitioners and partner organisations in two venues and which was supported and endorsed by Westminster Parks and the London National Park City Festival
- Multiple physical and social legacies: the establishment of a Community Wildflower Meadow in Broadley Street Gardens, the construction and installation of flower planters outside the Newpin Family Centre, and the development of a growing space in Boldero Place, run by a new partnership between Newpin and local residents
Shadwell Soundwaves 2008
Shadwell Soundwaves is a series of six stone benches at the centre of Tarling Heights and Watney Plaza, a new complex of flats, shops and park for local people developed by One Housing Group (formerly Toynbee Housing Association).
During the spring of 2007 I spent time with local people and talked to them about their memories and experiences of living and working in Shadwell. Extracts from these conversations were then carved into the benches. The quotations reveal and document the diversity of the local community and include references to the history of the docks and old Watney Market, stories of migrant populations and young people’s ideas about the future in this ever-changing part of London.
I worked with the Bangladeshi Youth Movement, Watney Market Library Book Group, Docker’s Club, Link Age Plus at Sonali Gardens, London Somali Action Forum, Tarling Residents’ Association, Swedendorg Elders Club, Lady Mico’s Almshouses, Friends of Yiddish, and Care House.
The carved texts are intended to intrigue passers-by. Some are in languages not all will understand. But it is important that the texts are direct transcripts of spoken words, voices that deserve to be heard in this community.
Walk Space 2005
Fusion Arts in partnership with the Healthy Walking Initiative commissioned me to develop public art for a new healthy walking route in East Oxford. A series of quotes taken from conversations with senior citizens about their experiences of walking in the city and memories of particular places were set into walls along the route.