We’re looking for the very best people to join our growing team. You should be talented, ambitious and tenacious. Right now there are several roles we’re hoping to fill to work on exciting new projects:
At this time of year, we like to prove that We Made That can actually make some stuff. For this year’s creative Christmas extravaganza, We Made That returned to Blackhorse Lane to learn about leather making at Blackhorse Workshop.
Mia Sabel and Colin Coutts from SABEL Saddleryprovided our team with an introduction to the basics of traditional saddlery, including leather preparation, double-stitching and hand-burnishing. More information about the Mia and Colin’s workshop here.
Festive wishes to all our clients, collaborators, friends and colleagues!
We Made That is delighted to have supported four successful Creative Enterprise Zone bids, as announced last Friday by Mayor Sadiq Khan. Creative Enterprise Zones are districts of London in which targeted and tailored planning, investment and support activities for the creative and cultural industries will be delivered, supported by more than £11m of funding from the Greater London Authority. Together with Hatch Regeneris and Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy we worked with local authority partners, creative businesses, cultural organisations and educational institutions to deliver the research and action plan proposals for the following successful Creative Enterprise Zones:
Croydon Creatives: Croydon is fast becoming an attractive place for creatives with affordable space and great transport connections. Croydon Creatives will offer business rate relief for creative start-ups who locate in the Creative Enterprise Zone, studio subsidy for under 25 year olds, and start-up incubator with business support.
Hackney Wick & Fish Island: One of the most recognisable homes for creatives in the world, the Creative Enterprise Zone will enable artists to put down roots in the area. Planning rules will help develop a pipeline of affordable workspace with new initiatives helping local people access jobs. This will strengthen the links with East Bank on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Shapes Lewisham: An emerging hub, Deptford and New Cross has no shortage of creative talent at institutions like Goldsmith’s University and Trinity Laban Conservatoire. The Creative Enterprise Zone will see ‘move on’ studios for graduates, with start up support and local studios opening up for community use.
Tottenham: An established cluster for fashion, film and furniture makers, the Creative Enterprise Zone will secure affordable space and warehouse living. It will upskill small and micro businesses and get local young people into creative jobs and manufacturing.
Read more about Creative Enterprise Zones and the successful bids here.
The issue, titled ‘New Modes: Redefining Practice’ is guest edited by Alma-Nac, and explores how a generation of architects - including We Made That - are leading the way towards new forms of practice by challenging conventional ideas of ‘The Architect’ and reclaiming the notion of architecture as something public that should work ultimately towards the collective good.
We Made That have been collaborating with 5th Studio to produce an area framework for New Cross on behalf of the London Borough of Lewisham, TfL and the GLA. The team have been working closely with local stakeholder groups to produce a strategic vision for the area which advocates for better connectivity and public realm, support for growing the local economy, and protecting the distinct culture of New Cross whilst identifying appropriate development opportunity.
The final draft of the Area Framework will be out to public consultation until 14th December 2018.
There are three ways to view and comment on proposals:
Visit the window display at New Cross Learning from 1st December
View copies of the document at New Cross Learning, Deptford Lounge, Pepys Community Library, and Catford Library
Commissioned by Transport for London (TfL), the Sutton Link project develops proposals for a new public transport route between the London Boroughs of Merton and Sutton. In partnership with Hawkins/Brown and Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects, We Made That are developing the Urban Design and Placemaking Strategy for the scheme which has already helped to identify three route options, currently open to public consultation via TfL.
Taking consultation feedback on board, the team will begin to develop a strategy for the public realm and landscape design for the preferred route, working closely with TfL, as well as transport engineers, environmentalconsultants and business planners.
Once complete, the Sutton Link will create a much-needed connection between Sutton and Merton town centres and beyond to Central London, encouraging people use more sustainable modes of transport. With referenceto the Mayor’sHealthy Streets Initiative, the design team will develop proposals which radically transform busy traffic corridors into places where priority is shared across modes of transport and environmental considerationstake the fore; creating a credible urban environment to support good growth.
Halton BoroughCouncil is seeking expressions of interest from developer-led teams for theimplementation of the Masterplan and Delivery Strategyfor the Runcorn StationQuarter. Runcorn as a whole is one of eight key impact areas identified inits Mersey Gateway Regeneration Plan and isregarded as a key regenerationpriority for the Council.
The Masterplan,produced by a team led by We Made That, now provides a coherent plan fordriving forward the regeneration of the Runcorn StationQuarter. It is regardedas a high profile, vibrant and welcoming gateway into Halton and the LiverpoolCity Region, which will raise confidence in thearea and kick start the widerimplementation of the Runcorn Old Town Vision. A significant amount of work hasalready been undertaken by HBC andits partners to develop thisMasterplan.
The Council is nowseeking to appoint a development partner who will work with them to developoptions for taking forward the masterplan.
We Made That and Hatch Regeneris recently developed an evidence base and action plan for the London Borough of Croydon to support their bid to become one of London’s first Creative Enterprise Zones. Croydon’s creative sector has experienced strong growth over the last five years, with a 93% increase in the level of employment. This is the highest growth rate of any of Croydon’s sectors, with more than 1,100 jobs created in five years and 120 more businesses operating than in 2011. The proposed Croydon Creatives CEZ will nurture this growth with a consortium of local creative and cultural organisations, educational institutions and development partners at its helm.
We Made That have been appointed alongside Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy for a research and development programme to support the growth of the creative sector of the economy across the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership area, embracing arts, design, media and digital. The project is led by the Centre for Culture and Creativity at Lincoln University, together with local and regional partners including Lincoln City Council, Greater Lincolnshire LEP, Lincolnshire County Council, Arts Council England, Lincolnshire Economic Action Partnership and Investors in Lincoln.
The work will culminate in a feasibility study for the development of a creative production hub in Lincoln and set of recommendations for other parts of the county.
The Mayor of London and SELEP, with Bexley, Lewisham and the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone, commissioned We Made That as part of a multidisciplinary team comprising Regeneris and Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy to develop a plan for the Thames Estuary Production Corridor. It aims to make the Estuary a global centre for digital, cultural and creative production, leading global innovation, developing talent and cultivating world changing ideas.
The Creative Industries are the UK’s biggest growth sector and are recognised within the UK Industrial Strategy and new Creative Industries Sector Deal as a key driver of the future UK economy. Over 1.3m people work in the creative economy across the South East alone and it is estimated that 1.2 million new workers will be needed in the sector over the next decade.
The ultimate aim of the commission is to create a compelling case to attract large scale investment to the Estuary, to support research and innovation and to highlight potential schemes, areas and opportunities. In doing so, it will help to maximise the future contribution that the creative industries can make to the economy of the UK, as well as locally in London, Essex and Kent.
We Made That partnered with Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy and Regeneris to develop a detailed plan for Hatton Garden to become one of the Mayor of London’s first designated Creative Enterprise Zones. These will be districts of London for which a set of targeted and tailored planning, investment and support activities will be developed.
The Hatton Garden Creative Enterprise Zone is in an area historically known as London’s jewellery district: a place of jewellery making and a major centre for buying and selling. It is London’s hyper-dense cluster of craft skills and creative knowledge. It is a small area with big influence. A vision has been developed to support the evolution of Hatton Garden as a dynamic, networked and engaged creative cluster.
Over the past two decades the Hackney Wick and Fish Island areas have together emerged as one of the leading creative and cultural areas in London, with hundreds of artists’ studios, creative businesses of all sectors and new cultural and community venues springing up. At the same time, the area is under significant development land pressure and there is a need to support this economy locally, while ensuring that growth here includes local communities.
We Made That partnered with Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy and Regeneris to develop a Creative Enterprise Zone to provide a game-changing opportunity to support the sustainable and inclusive growth of this important creative district.
Our vision and strategy, mobilised by an unprecedented period of sector and community engagement, is to develop and embed a CEZ that grows in a way that works for everyone. To achieve this Hackney Wick and Fish Island needs to mature, stabilise, diversify and grow to be increasingly impactful – both for local communities and for London as a diverse global creative city.
Come and join us for a fun-filled family day in the Kingward House open space. There’ll be lots of activities for everyone on the day- including face painting, bag printing, music and a visit from Spitalfields City Farm.There will also be opportunities to: see the proposed layout for the new planting and play space at Kingward House open space; register yourinterest for the proposed community food garden in the Old Montague Street green space; and learn how to take care of your own growing bed.
In March this year, Holly and Hannah led a placemaking masterclass for a group of young people at the Hull School of Art and Design, as part of the National Saturday Club programme. Alongside tutors of the college and British Land, We Made That challenged the group to rediscover their local shopping centre St Stephen’s, and reveal its unexpected side. The workshop resulted in the group creating a zine using photography, drawing, modelling, printmaking and graphic design, to uncover secrets, celebrate the overlooked and tell new stories about the centre.
An exhibition in Somerset House showcases the stories and creations of 1,500 13-16 year olds attending free Saturday morning classes at their local college, university or museum, courtesy of the National Saturday Club. The zine created by the young people in Hull and We Made That is available at the exhibition which is open between the 9th-17th June, in the Embankment Galleries.
More information about the exhibition and the National Saturday Club can be found here
We Made That have collaborated with Studio Egret West to curate an exhibition exploring the future of urban living and industry in London, as part of the London Festival of Architecture.
The exhibition is open on weekdays 10am – 4pm throughout the month of June, at Studio Egret West’s Clerkenwell studio.
As part of the exhibition, Holly is joining a panel discussion hosted by Studio Egret West on Thursday 14th June, which will examine the challenges and opportunities facing London’s industrial sites. The panel will also include: Rob McNicol (Greater London Authority), Rob Sloper (U+I), Lucas Lawrence (SEW) and David West (SEW) as chair. To attend RSVP to email@example.com
‘’London is a successful city, a fact supported by its continued growth. But with this success comes pressure to increase the density of underdeveloped sites; industrial land, with its often large surface areas and single storey buildings, has disproportionally suffered the consequences of this. This industrial land provides an important source of employment as well as space for the manufacturing, production, storage and distribution networks which support our lifestyles. Car repairers, brewers, bakers and coffee roasters, specialist trade suppliers for plumbers and electricians, steel fabricators and other manufacturers – many are leaving the capital because the land they occupy is wanted for housing. If London’s continued growth is to be a long term success, it must retain the provision of jobs and services for all those who live there; London needs both industry and housing.
The recently-published draft London Plan offers an opportunity to create new architectural identities for these very large, previously hidden areas of London dominated by low density, monocultural industrial use. Our exhibition looks into the possibilities for this identity, focusing on some of our recent works – from speculative through to complete - which explore unusual hybrids and challenge the preconceived ideas of how industry and communities can relate.’’
Karen Smith, critical friend of Heart of Glass, and Patrick Fox, Director: Heart of Glass
Heart of Glass is an agency for collaborative and social arts practice. We haveiteratively built a programme in St Helens, changingways of working in publicspaces. Sometimes the evolving practice has emerged from oddity and disruption.Civic engagement withpublic space in this way was rare until Heart of Glassappeared in St Helens – during the original 2015 programme, we were oftenstopped because of the way we were moving people through the town. As the practicehas become more embedded in the town,people are starting to see it as ‘a Heartof Glass thing’.
1. Beecham Building
Heart ofGlass work from Beecham Building. Part of Arts Council England Funded Creative People and Placesprogramme, from 2018we have achieved Arts Council England National PortfolioOrganisation funding and investment from St Helens Council.
2. The Rocks
Marking a car parkboundary of ‘The Range’ retail store,The Rockswere moulded in fabric for ‘SilentNight’ one of ourearliestproductions with artist Rhona Byrne and local students in December2014.
3. The Hotties, Sankey Canal
Adjacent to the doors of ‘The Range’, the canal water of theHotties disappears under tarmac. On a Saturday afternoon in November2015, MarciaFarquar began her perambulatory tour ‘A Song for St Helens’ here, on the railings,in a swimsuit and swimcap. Formingpart of the ‘Through theLooking Glass’ weekend of events in partnership with Live Art DevelopmentAgency, the previous evening hadseen ‘Duckie’ with Ursula Martinez at The Citadel, for which Heart of Glasshad requested a (declined) nudity licence.
Three police squad cars pulled up. The police had beencalled by a ‘concerned member of the public’ who said there was a woman onthecanal, taking her clothes off, and she was going to kill herself. Startled, we observedthat Marcia was wearing a swimsuit, was notnude and was not undressing. A farcicalconversation ensued which jumbled the previous night’s artists and events withthe afternoon’splans.
The kerfuffle caused by 15 people congregating, warranting threepolice squad cars was an interesting turning point. The use ofheterotopicspaces has increased and from challenging beginnings, a solid relationship withthe police has also evolved.
Artist Mark Storor has committed to working with us for 12years on BaaBaa Babaric. Two years into this artistic partnership, Storor’sproject acrossthe town in September 2017 marked the change in police relations. The policeran a chip shop for the day and policehorses garlanded with flowers supportedyoung people and the artist to question long-held assumptions of the town.
At World of Glassjust along from the Hotties, Marisa Carnesky’s HauntedFurnace took place. The history of glass making in the townhas createdvenue, narrative and subject for Heart of Glass. World of Glass and the formerPilkington Glass Headquarters have beenused for happenings from HauntedFurnace in October 2015 to RearWindow in November 2016.
4. Chalon Way Multi-Storey Car Park
Across The Range carpark, the landmark Chalon WayMulti-Storey became one of the lead images for Brass Callswith Artists French& Mottershead incollaboration with Haydock Brass Band.
At the opposite entrance to Chalon Way carpark, artistsHeather and Ivan Morrison are working to create a part-art work, part-civicspace Skate Park with St. Helens Skate community. As a partnership with police usingpolice commissioners fund income and theCouncil, public space will bereimagined. Skateboarders who are persistently moved on from Church Square willbe able to repositionthemselves literally and metaphorically.
5. St Mary’s Market
StMary’s Market hosts Platform Artists Studios and Heart of Glass popularweekly Family Art Club.
6. Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce have agreed to acknowledge artisticpractice as a contribution to workforce economy, and we’re continuing todevelop connections with local businesses, including piloting an arts skillsdevelopment course. We’ve also established an artist on StHelens economyboard.
7. Vera Page Park
At the opposite end of the Sankey Canal is Vera Page Park.Three signs demarcate the park, renamed via working with artist JoshuaSofaeron YourName Here in 2015.
This location forms the hub of Council regeneration plansfor a new town centre. Long-term, we’re working on St Helens becoming acentrefor collaborative practice. St Helens Council is on the journey with us.Focused on culture, education and opportunity, we areworking with the Councilon embedding a culture of production into the town. Built around culture, notretail.
2018 is St Helens 150th anniversary. Vera Page Parkis also a site for a proposed Pavilions project, and we’d like to see voluntarygroups in St Helens work with to build structures that allow or create pointsof visibility for local creative communities.
8. St Helens RFC
Initially we were based at St Helens RFC. The partnership continues;on match days, pre-match and at half time we curate artists’ videoscreeningin partnership with Abandon Normal Devicesand FACT reaching a potential audience of 15,000.
9. Quaker Lodge (Friends Meeting House)
QuakerLodge is St Helen’s oldest building.We partnered with The Quakers on Verity Standen’s Refrainand held our second‘WithForAbout’conference here in May 2017.
As part of Takeoverfest with Scottee in 2015, older people’s groups from across St. Helens knitbombed FriendsPark on Shaw Street.Installed on a Saturday, knitting covered most surfaces. By10am on Sunday morning it had gone. Despite having permissions, theCouncil ‘CleanUp team’ had been, not checked who had creatively dressed the space, and took itall away. Similarly, to the MarciaFarquar incident, we learnt an interestinglesson: in 2015 when the strange was encountered in St Helens, it was tidied awayasspeedily as possible. The veneer of cleanliness runs strong and inspired usto question ‘Where are wedirecting our attention?’ Skateboarders areostracised after the town shuts down at 6pm and perceived as ‘anti-social’. Knittingis perceived as ‘mess’. With theCouncil our aim is to reimagine andmobilise the energy of tidying away for more collectively positive ends.
Most projectsat a point unearth some sort of democratic deficit. How do we make use of thatknowledge well? WithForAbout and otherencounters createopportunities to have challenging conversations and share learning. Hugetrust has been put in our programming.Tensions can exist in a project and we need to allow them to be there,to be part of learning and connecting with each other.
10. George Street Quarter, and The George Pub
In October 2017 the Idle Women Institutewas opened on Haydock Street, achieved with Arts Council Ambition forExcellence funding.
Verity Standen’s Refrainfeatured a non-verbal male choir promenading around George Street in May 2017.Refrain told the story ofErnest Everett; a school teacher in St Helens who wasprosecuted as the UKs first Conscientious Objector. The George Pub hostsmany meetups for Heart of Glass and formed one of the locations for the choir.
11. The Hardshaw Shopping Centre
Artists’collective TheInstitute for the Art and Practice of Dissent supported the re-instigation of benches outside theshopping centre.The shopping centre had removed all the benches, which wereprimarily used by pensioners. Many protests by older people’s groupshad takenplace. Forming part of our Live Art Weekender, the Institute dragged a benchinto the shopping centre, utilised a megaphone,and refused to move.
12. Church Square
Church Squareforms a congregation point in the town centre. In 2015 Brass Calls was sounded here with composerAdam D J Taylor.Calls were created from personal tales and local phrases, and turnedinto musical scores performed and recorded by The HaydockBand. In 2017 the square hosted Candy Chang’sBefore I Die. A project inviting people tocontemplate death, reflect on life, and sharetheir personal aspirations in publicon chalkboard.We had to wipe our chalkboard six times a day, the levelof interaction was soengaged.
13. St Helens Star Headquarters
YourName Here programmeannouncements were distributed free with the Star and reached 70,000 homes.
14. The Town Hall
In May 2015 a three metre neon sign of the words ‘Your NameHere’ illuminated the front of the Town Hall. Heart of Glass heads to theTownHall most weeks to meet withCouncil representatives ranging from the Chief Executive to Regeneration to PublicHealth.
15. Young Carers Centre
St Helens hasa strikingly high population of young carers (over 2,500 under-18s). Mark Storor’s BaaBaa Babaric project isworkingwith young carers as part of his 12-year commitment toHeart of Glass and St Helens.
Back at Beecham Building completing the circle.
As CulturalGeographer Tim Cresswell observes, spaces are transformed into placeswhen meaning is attached. Culture drives ourplace-based journey with all ourpartners. We are demonstrating that we can change thinking around culturalproduction and economyand fit the need to create new thinking and fit-for-purposecapital development in the town. We hope that development can speak torealcommunity need, as the effects of austerity and a crumbling communitydevelopment sector continue to be felt. Utilising existingvenues and publicspace in St Helens and co-opting any new capital spaces might eclipse the allureof new, less communaldistractions. Our 2018 programme of work shares thislong-term ambition with the local authority and with Arts Council England.StHelens Council haveinvested substantially in our 2018 programme as the transformation of St Helenscontinues.
Liverpool punches above its weight in this field - with extraordinary buildings and institutions from Tate Liverpool in the iconic Albert Dock, its seven national museums, the Bluecoat and the Art Deco majesty of the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall to name but a few.
Add to that in the last decade the RIBA Sterling Prize winning EverymanThe Invisible Wind Factory, and you see a city bursting at the seams with ‘cultural infrastructure’. An impressive funding and support framework has grown up around these buildings.
This infrastructure has not emerged by magic. Lots of brilliant work has been undertaken by cultural organisations across the city, there has been brave and unwavering political support, cash investment by the Mayor of Liverpool has been maintained at a level unmatched outside of London - even with the backdrop of cuts and austerity. There has, and continues to be, a real willingness to take culture seriously and to recognise its value socially and economically.
An advanced network of groups bring the creative and cultural sector together regularly to encourage and enable collaboration. A funding structure has been created which bridges the public and private sector, dedicated roles engage the education sector and local communities in opportunities, and a pipeline of talent from the city’s four major universities ensures a fresh and vibrant injection of ideas every year.
In 2018, Liverpool marks the tenth anniversary of being European Capital of Culture with another big year of programming, which is made possible by the fact that this infrastructure exists and is in such good health. The investment, support and passion of all aspects of the city over the last decade are all crucial factors enabling the extraordinary transformation we have seen.
But personally, I think the most important legacy of 2008 is not the physical or built environment, but the emotional infrastructure which has been created.
Capital of Culture gave this city a new energy, a renewed sense of self and importance in the world. The audiences of Liverpool have repaid this with a new commitment, acceptance and understanding of arts and culture. They are willing to try new things, to be challenged and stretched and to embrace creative ambition and innovation.
They have become voracious consumers. They turn out in their hundreds of thousands for free major events, they head to music and art shows in locations across the city and throughout the year. They embrace big international names and nurture emerging home-grown talent.
Without an audience who want what is being created, the breadth anddo as a society.
They are sophisticated but not pretentious. Vocal but constructive. Accepting of the new, and proud of the old. And importantly, they rightly demand excellence.
Liverpool is not a monetarily rich city. But a diverse opinionated audience, where three generations of a family will come together to create memories, want to be engaged and want to be part of a city wide democratic conversation.
As we march into an uncertain future, where there are threats topassion and emotional infrastructure which we have been able to foster in this city is what will allow us to face these challenges head on.
We will continue to grow and build over the next decade – our ambition has no expiry date. There are still more boundaries to be pushed and audiences to captivate. Liverpool’s creative appetite remains insatiable and that is the infrastructure which will serve us well.
Hannah Martin in conversation with EleanorLee, Granby 4 Streets CLT
Eleanor Lee has been a resident of Granbysince 1976 and was one of the founding members of Granby Four StreetsCommunityLand Trust, set up in 2011. For well over a decade, Eleanor and her neighbourshave been devoted to keepingthese vacant streets of Granby alive with guerillagardening - planting flowers, fruit trees, herbs, vegetables and climbers inthe midst of boarded up properties. Initially, their work was an attempt,as they describe it, to create green links connectingthe houses ofhandful of remaining neighbours - but this spread to the whole street, movedinto the adjacent ones and thenwhole families turned out to create a wildflowermeadow on the vacant land where houses had been demolished.
Today as new residents begin to inhabit the previously vacant properties, and with the Turner prize firmly under their belt, the Granby Community Land Trust and architecture and art collective Assemble are continuing to work together to develop a winter garden for Granby, with the help of members of the community, and artists from Liverpool and beyond.
Hello Eleanor, tell us about the winter garden in Granby…
‘Most of the meetings which made things happen on our streets, were not the big public meetings - but lots of little ones in between them - where three, four and five of us got together. The winter garden will be a sustainable community owned and managed resource and a driving force for community creativity and activities’.
The Winter Garden is just the most brilliant project. It creates an amazing set of spaces from two-up two-down Victorian terraces on Cairns St - properties which were utterly derelict. They were originally due to be refurbished as houses by the Community Land Trust, but they were in such poor condition it was just not financially viable to do so. So they have been re-imagined. One house becomes a public indoor garden, that stretches right up to a glass roof - it’ll be a green and peaceful space as well as a resource for the garden, and street planting that takes place all around. The other house will become a combined community and creative space. It will house an artist residency space for about six months of the year and an Airbnb for the other 6 months, to make it financially self-sustaining - and all year round it will be a community meeting place - a social and skill sharing resource.
What is the artist in residency programme?
The arts development programme started in October - and combines a horticultural commission to design the indoor garden, and a pre-launch arts development programme - and they’re running alongside each other. Nina Edge is our first artist in residence who is working collaboratively on designing the garden and also creating an artwork for the garden itself.
The arts programme is a test-bed for us - to experiment and embrace a range of art forms working with local, national and international artists. The first workshop was by Eva Savojic and Corinne Silva from London who work on a project called The People’s Bureau in the Elephant and Castle - they created lovely cyanotype prints using sunlight, plants and flowers from Granby. We’ve also had spoken word poetry workshops led by the brilliant Amina Atiq and Levi Tafari, Karen Guthrie from Grizedale Arts who ran a hydrosols workshop - making flowered waters from plants, which was extraordinary. Vicki Opumo ran a fantastic workshop producing marbled paper and bookmaking - and Sandi Hughes and Michelle Peterkin-Walker ran a brilliant film-making one on the ‘Politics of Plants’ - exploring political themes about land, resistance, survival, knowledge.
Why is the winter garden important to Granby?
In this area, over the last few decades, the focus has always had to be on housing - which isn’t really surprising because we’ve been under threat of demolition for over 20 years! But alongside the loss of houses, there has been asset-stripping of a whole infrastructure of shops, social/meeting places etc, community organisations have disappeared, and those who have hung on, on the whole are hugely underfunded. There used to be about 80 shops in Granby when I first moved here - and now there is a handful at either end. Houses alone are not going to rebuild a community. If you look at what it takes to rebuild areas and local infrastructures - it doesn’t happen all at once, it happens gradually and different levels and forms of investment build up their impact. As of yet there hasn’t been any investment in strengthening and re-building the infrastructure in this neighbourhood.
The winter garden alone isn’t going to resolve this - but it will provide a unique practical and beautiful space, which will be sustainable and community-owned. I think you can use creativity to make things that are useful and beautiful - and there’s a real shortage of that. It can link up with Granby Street Market and Granby Workshop - and can be part of creatively building this area. It’s just one aspect of thinking big for the vision but thinking smaller and smarter for ways to achieve it.
What is the CLT’s role in rebuilding Granby’s infrastructure?
The Housing Associations have refurbished houses - but in terms of investing in people and infrastructure, so far they just haven’t done so. I see the Community Land Trust as being able to access funding from a wide range of sources that they and the Council can’t. It’s also ideally placed to be more imaginative, try out new things, experiment, take risks.
What have been your motivations behind the street gardening?
It’s always hard to answer - I think in the very beginning it was a reaction to years and years of inaction while living in such an incredibly degraded and neglected physical environment. I think it just enraged me that the community was so dispensable, of so little value. It was as if we didn’t exist - as if no-one still lived here. But I’ve learnt that taking care of and ownership of public space is incredibly important. It affects the whole atmosphere in a street - turning rather haunting, derelict streets into green, safe, sociable places, not threatening ones. People thought to plant in this way would be impossible, when we first started. All our planting is out in the open, not behind high fences and locked gates - and people thought it would just be vandalised and/or robbed. And although this has happened, it hasn’t done to the extent that was predicted - and it’s always been manageable. So our planting has gone from strength to strength.
The gardening and reclaiming of the streets have been mainly, though not completely, carried out by women. It has been a process of moving out of interior domestic space into external communal space - a creative care-taking of space that has also made it a woman-friendly street, where women and kids can and do, sit and chat. So from being a place that was demonised and nearly destroyed, it’s now a place where you can imagine bringing up children, putting down roots, helping to re-build and re-create a great place to live.
Tempted by a change of scene? Feel like your skills could offer more? Political and social conscience nagging you? Itchy feet?
Urban Research Assistant
We are looking for an early-career researcher, with a minimum degree- level qualification in urban/cities studies, political sciences or a similar related discipline, to join our practice to work on a number of live research and strategy projects. The role includes contributing fieldwork and desk- based data auditing to a number of research commissions spanning spaces of culture, industry and employment.
We are looking for an experienced urban designer/ masterplanner with knowledge of the London regeneration landscape to join our growing team. We Made That is delivering increasing large masterplanning projects and influential spatial strategies. The ideal candidate will be responsible for coordinating a team delivering masterplans and area strategies at a range of scales across the capital.