Graduates emerging from their studies with innovative and engaged practices took up residence at MAKE @ Story Garden. Over five months, they created and led collaborative community projects including clay activism and hoarding hacks.
As a format, artistic residencies embed creative practitioners in specific settings but aren’t always focused on the wider social issues defining that space. At MAKE, our graduates connected local communities creatively and critically to making, opening up dialogue about place, people and agency.
Joygun Nehar, BA Textile Design
Joygun works as a creative practitioner in wider educational and community settings. Her focus is on introducing people of all ages to weaving as a pathway to critical thinking and creativity.
Having lived in Somers Town for the past eight years, Joygun is aware of the issues of segregation within local communities. She strongly believes that weaving can help break down barriers. Her 10-week course exploited weaving’s power as a universal activity to be a tool for cultural exchange and community building.
Together, a group made up of local residents and family groups explored weaving – both on- and off-loom – using recycled and repurposed materials. They developed hands skills and confidence in making with Joygun inviting her participants to share stories and experiences of textiles from their personal perspective.
"One of my aims for this project was to break barriers and segregation. As the weeks have progressed, I have seen how weave is so universal and how it has brought people of all ages and walks of life together to learn... I am really pleased with the outcome of the classes and the energy of the group. From doing the residency, I feel confident to run my own workshops alone."
During coronavirus lockdown, Joygun developed her plans, and secured funding from City Mined, to continue her work in Somers Town.
Bromley’s work explores the relationship between space and education. For his residency he devised Play in the Pandemic, a series of activities for families with children. With quests and tasks, Bromley invited children to find and create miniature worlds and imagine their inhabitants. He gathered a “re-inventory", a collection of objects found around the Story Garden for participants to use. This re-use and ad-hocism is inspired by the possibilities for a ‘circular city’ in which material and resource and constantly recycled and reimagined.
Play in the Pandemic embraced improvisation for both material and story. Activities were devised to be as open as possible:
- The mysterious creature likes to make new houses out of the 'junk' lying around the garden. It is a master of recycling, repairing, and rethinking of new ways to use them. Using the materials around, can you make a shelter from the wind and rain?
- The creature makes its balancing walkways out of the planks and other materials lying around the garden. Can you help to make some more?
- Using the materials lying around, can you find a way to get the water to a specific area of the garden?
"We provided fun, physical exercise, learning, imagination, escapism and the potential for collaboration. Despite the social distancing restrictions and miserable weather, Play in the Pandemic showed the benefits of this kind of learning without the need for too much explanation. It felt special to be doing something like this in the midst of a pandemic in winter."
Ewelina is a clay activist who creates performative and publicly engaged work. She believes in the transformative power of raw materials and the benefits of making. Her Particimaking project began during her degree when she explored how clay workshops could improve social cohesion and wellbeing for people who do not always have access to creative activities in their daily lives.
During her residency she collaborated with ten residents from Somers Town. Over a series of workshops, walks and socials they co-designed and prototyped a public artwork inspired by local stories and architecture. Using clay as their main material, the group discovered new skills, developing problem solving and design thinking in their daily lives.
Due to coronavirus, the planned community ceramic kiln firing of the final artwork was paused. However, Ewelina and her collaborators continued to meet online to reflect on their work together.
Moetaz Fathalla, M ARCH: Architecture
Moetaz’s residency centred onhis project, Reclaim the Hoarding, transforming the hoarding around construction works from a gentrifying advertisement into commercial space that serve the current – rather than future – community.
What do hoardings mean to the existing community who live on the other side of the wall? Can we shift how large-scale developments relate to their surrounding communities through locally rooted interventions?
During his time at MAKE, Moetaz focused on prototyping. His project began with a series of “hoarding hack” workshops with local young people from Global Generation’s Generators. These sessions were intended to run alongside the real changes being made to the hoardings surrounding the Story Garden site. The group met several times in person and then moved online during lockdown. For many, this was the first time they got to design and prototype their own furniture.
"This experience has allowed me to test and explore ways of engaging with a given context and ultimately forming ways to practice. We’ve been looking closely at how small-scale initiatives could have lasting impacts."
"I liked the session with Taz a lot. It was fun and inspiring. I definitely look forward to another one."
“I made a table using a plastic bottle. It was good to see that big projects start from small models. Taz was really good!"
Moetaz is currently establishing his own practice, Tussi Lab.