Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Design Day, the outcome

Design Day was very successful. Residents braved the London rain to put their thoughts and ideas on paper with the support of a pool of creative professionals, including representatives from the housing development L&Q.

A number of artworks were selected on the day to be taken to the next stage. The graphic representations (see the presentation below) help visualise what the designs may look like if they were manufactured. There is a fantastic wealth of content in the presentation below that can be brought together to form a body of public artworks, as envisioned by residents. The presentation was shared with residents for them to select and discuss the next stages.

The artworks drew their inspiration from Haggerston's incredible history of textiles and silk weaving.

© V&A

In 1831 - 32, the population of Spitalfields, which then encompassed Haggerston, counted 50 to 100,000 dependent on silk weaving. There were 14 - 17,000 looms, including 100 Jacquard looms.  A weaver generally had two looms, and children started work at 6 - 7 yrs-old to gum silk.

In the beginning of the 18th century, designs were naturalistic. 1730's saw innovation in the creation of 3D patterns. 1740's were full of flowered silk design and botanical inspiration. In 1750's & 60's, designs became more stylised, fabrics stiffer, and metallic threads started appearing giving a beautiful voluptuous look to dresses. From 1770's, patterns were becoming more informal, using stripes and shapes. By the end of the 19th century, the Neo-Classical patterns were dominating the industry.

Thank you to London & Quadrant for the opportunity.
Thank you to all residents who contributed, and to the professionals who made this day a success.
Karen Janody - Project Director
Asha Rapjut - Graphic Designer
Julian Taylor - Metal sculptor & blacksmith
Katy Dawe - Textile artist
Lucy Ferguson - Coordinator & resident briefing
Mary Spyrou - Textile historical research

Julie Conrad & Graham Girling from L&Q Group.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Design Day

Do you live locally?
We'd love to hear from you!

Design Day is a platform where residents meet professionals in the art/design/housing sectors for a day to come up with ideas and design that could form part of the landscape of the new housing development in Kingland & Haggerston West.

The aim of the event is that by the end of the day, a number of ideas and concepts can be taken away to be manufactured, and be placed within the outdoor defensible areas, railings, and gates.

The day is open to all residents, members of the neighbourhood, creatives and public artists.  All ages welcome (as long as no supervision is necessary).

The input from professionals is very particularly aimed at young residents as an opportunity to gage feedback from professionals on their ideas on the day and also get specialised advice, find out how to improve their chances to get internships, jobs, build their CV and portfolio. To enable this, there will be a Q&A post lunch and a chance to speak to someone on a 1-2-1.

Lunch will be provided to help create a self-contained day, promoting creative input and focus.
Haggerston Community Centre, 179 Haggerston Road, E8.

If you can't make it, don't be sad as you will also be able to send your idea by drawing directly into a railing:
Download this image and return to the L&Q Canal Side office, 240a Kingsland Road, London E2 8AX.

Alternatively, email karen[at] for any query or information.

We, at Creative City, have carefully chosen our team of experts:
Graham Girling (L&Q Regeneration Project Manager) on landscaping & architecture for housing,
Asha Rajput (graphic design & cartographer) on design,
Julian Taylor (artist & blacksmith) on metal work consultancy,
Mary Spyrou on the local historical of fabrics,
Lucy Ferguson (YH World) as a moderator on the day,
Katy Dawe as textile consultancy on the day,
Ergal Hassan (YOH).

Friday, 27 January 2012

New year, new beginnings!

2012! New year, new inspiration, new relationships!

It's not exactly quiet at the moment, as there are interesting things in development.

New project //

We've started to plant seeds about a new project for the local community that we think is absolutely essential! It is currently called 'A Fragment of Paradise' and is a public garden based on the Islamic garden design.

From reading a report and Emma Clark's wonderful book The Art of The Islamic Garden, it has become very hard to focus on anything else... We're just totally completely inspired.

We're hoping to have some news about this soon, and in the mean time, you can read about it on the blog:

New relationships //

A year on from developing BROWSE Video Specs in the local community, the project has grown and is now taking shape as an exciting method of engagement.

Last year, BROWSE featured as part of Six Summer Saturdays in Birmingham, and Swap & Share Picnic in London's Arnold Circus. In October, the workshop that we have spent months dreaming about with Art Against Knives took place, engaging young people in sharing their comments and ideas on street design in relation to crime.

This year, we're developing this further.

Working with Soundings and developer Lend Lease, we will engage future residents in a consultation using Video Specs. The use of Video Specs is triggering some interesting commentary, and the idea is for young people to put the Specs on and visualise the future of the open spaces in Elephant & Castle. The workshops will run from the hub on Walworth Street.

The Hub on Walworth St

New team //

Gokay has joined the team for a few weeks to investigate the Video Specs further. He's incredibly focused, and it's hard to get him to take a lunch break. His BROWSE video will be online pretty soon! Watch this space.

More news soon! Kung hey Fat Choi to all.

Monday, 9 January 2012

BROWSE Video Specs

Creative City was launched in 2008 for a project dear to our hearts 'The Newspaper House'. You can read all about it here.

Photograph © Sumer Erek

The idea for it stemmed from a pressing local environmental issue that a group of artists clubbed together to translate into an impacting artistic project. Thanks to Artist Sumer Erek's artistic vision, and also thank to a great team, volunteers, and visionary stakeholders and funders, the Newspaper House became not only a great participatory project, but a remarkable public artwork, capturing the imagination of visitors, viewers, readers worldwide.

That was 4 years ago! Incredible, yes. Creative City was registered on 8 Jan 2008! Happy birthday Creative City.

New project

4 years later, it would be nice to explain a little more about where Creative City has been, and how our new project BROWSE Video Specscame about.

2011 was amazing as regards to working with a new medium : the Video Specs. The result of a year long R&D, working out what, how, who, etc. is a fresh, user-centred way to engage people on topics which is of interest to them, and gage their feedback on issues which they ought to be consulted on.

Photograph © Karen Janody

BROWSE has been finding its feet slowly. it first started as a proposal as a programme of engagement in response to a local regeneration Masterplan. Whilst this was never commissioned, the idea of collecting the opinions of residents was worth pursuing. I set about talking to members of the local community, asking them to put their thoughts on video (an alternative to putting thoughts on paper). It's very interesting to pick up on individual responses to a same space/place. It allows people to answer questions in their own time, and in their own words. The pressure is less, and the enjoyment of participation is more.

A number of participants have taken part, and their videos were published on this blog and on the Youtube channel , and on Vimeo

This is leading to questions about residents' responses to their local spaces and identity, and how changes to the local landscape affects residents' identity and sense of belonging. It is also of interest to turn the tables around, and start the process of video commentary to inform the planning design…

BROWSE in & around

Last October, Creative City carved out their first workshop for young people using Video Specs to collect their views on the state of their local environment. 6 Young people from the BlueHut youth centre participated. Very keen to contribute their opinions, they took Video Specs on a journey, naming and shaming on route.

Photographs © Katy Dawe & Kirsty Allen

Art Against Knives, who hosted the workshops under Designing OurSpace, one of their programmes, have shown the video in BoxPark receiving very positive feedback from young people and adults alike.

In 2012, we want to see a much more curated approach to BROWSE Video Specs as a means to collecting valuable opinions of members of a community.

Indeed, the technique is also an asset for audience engagement of other sorts.

The project was invited to Birmingham for 6 Summer Saturdays, covered the Friends of Arnold Circus 'Swap & Share Picnic', and reviewed exhibitions, such as ' Two Rivers' at Studio 75, 'East Pop West' by the Red Gallery, "Moniker Frieze' by Moniker Projects and 'True Defiance' at Amnesty International UK.