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Wiggle Wonderland: new installation explores children’s rights and dreams for the future

Photo of Wiggle Wonderland pavilion in St Giles Square, London
  • Written byEleanor Harvey
  • Published date 05 July 2022
Photo of Wiggle Wonderland pavilion in St Giles Square, London
Photograph: Jon C Archdeacon

A new touring pavilion provides children with a space to explore their ideas about future cities.

Wiggle Wonderland is a collaboration between 2015 BA Architecture: Spaces and Objects, Central Saint Martins (CSM) graduate Beau McCarthy, and artist Lucy Grainge.

Created for the London Festival of Architecture 2022 (LFA), the pavilion is in St Giles Square until Sunday 10 July 2022.

People walking past the Wiggle Wonderland pavilion in St Giles Square, London
Photograph: Jon C Archdeacon
Photo of the pavilion from above
Photograph: Morley von Sternberg
Beau and Lucy sat in front of the pavilion
Photograph: Nicole Loucaides

Inspiration and creation

The pavilion was designed in response to a growing need for spaces that promote a sense of togetherness.

Beau and Lucy’s aim was to create an unconventional platform for people from all backgrounds, ages, and abilities to gather and express themselves; “we wanted to platform the voices of children and young people, to give them the space to creatively express their dreams and hopes for the future of their city and beyond, to a global audience.”

The open-air gallery is a joyful celebration of the power of art to bring together communities, with the ability to host live performances, exhibitions and workshops.

The timber-frame and modular beams mean it can be adapted by each new community or artist who hosts it.

The current exhibition includes 57 posters, created by schoolchildren during workshops run by Wiggle Wonderland. Submissions also came from community arts groups, as well as an open call.

Photo of children exploring Wiggle Wonderland pavilion
Photograph: Jon C Archdeacon
Poster on display in the pavilion. It says 'Problematic plastic' and 'Equality Now!'
Photograph: Morley von Sternberg
Child creating a poster with the help of a teacher outside
Photograph: DYSPLA
The idea was grounded in looking at Article 12 of the UN Convention Rights of a Child - Participation Rights. Within the workshops we discussed that children have the right to be involved with decision making that affects the future of their city, the right to express their voice and take an active role in society. Children and young people will be inheriting our cities, so it’s vital they get to have a say on their future.

— Beau McCarthy and Lucy Grainge, Wiggle Wonderland Founders

The Wiggle Wonderland was first launched in 2021 supported by Arts Council England and Brainchild Festival. The London Festival of Architecture 2022 installment and workshop programme is supported by Almacantar.