The Catch 2002

Public artwork on Fanshawe Avenue/Longbridge Road roundabout Barking, London involving over three hundred children.

Where are you going, and what do you wish?
The old moon asked the three.
We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we…
Anon

The Catch at Night

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Momentos 1999

Commission by the Art Gallery of Ontario for a website project with four high schools in Toronto, taking inspiration from their exhibition of works by 19th century Canadian artist Cornelius Krieghoff. Resulted in an online resource and set of virtual postcards. Collaboration with artist Peter Dunn.

Momentos front end

Unlocking the Grid 1999-02

ULG Report CoverA period of Arts Council funded research exploring the creative and learning potential of the National Grid for Learning – a government initiative which equipped all schools with computers and laid down guidelines for the involvement of ICT (information and communications technology) in the delivery of most subjects in the new National Curriculum. This research was key to the development of the VOLCO project.

Download the Unlocking the Grid report

Docklands Community Poster Project 1981-1991

Ten years of cultural campaigning with the communities of East London around issues arising from the development of the London Docklands. Production of photo-murals, exhibitions, photographic documentation, graphics and events.

Docks

Collaboration with Peter Dunn and a team involving graphic designers Sandra Buchanan and Dini Lallah, administrator Belinda Kidd and contributions by Tony Minion, Sonia Boyce, Donald Rodney, and Keith Piper.

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Campaigns

The artists’ initial consultation with local groups had encountered a repeated request for a photographic record of the many campaigns taking place across the Docklands area. This became a central activity of the Poster Project, and an archive of their b/w negatives is still held by the artists. The colour transparencies are held by the Museum of London Docklands.

East West Road

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The People’s Plan for the Royal Docks

People's PlanInitial redevelopment issues in the Docklands began at the western end of the designated land. The Royal Docks at most eastern extremities were left largely untouched throughout most of the eighties. However one major development for this area was put into motion. This was to be a new airport for London, whose runway would use the stretch of land between these docks, and surrounding areas for airport buildings and parking.

As with all these developments, local people had not been consulted. The area was renowned for its lack of amenities, jobs and transport, while most residents were squeezed into shabby tower blocks in urgent need of rebuilding. An airport would meet none of these needs, save a few jobs for ground staff and cleaners, and certainly not the kind of transportation so urgently required.

P Plan press conf

Silvertown residents, like others in Docklands, were highly organised – a necessity for survival in such challenging conditions. A key activist in this area was Connie Hunt, renowned for pouring hot soup over Winston Churchill, following unwelcome sexual advances when she was sent to wait on him as a young girl. On hearing of the Development Corporation’s plans for the airport, the activists of Silvertown created their own organisation, the People’s Plan Centre, which found premises in a local shop, staffed by volunteers.

No Jets demo

They approached the Greater London Councils’ new Popular Planning Unit for support. This unit had employed some key political strategists on its staff, including Sheila Rowbotham and Hilary Wainwright (co-authors of the early social feminist book ‘Beyond the Fragments’). Hilary took on the Royal Docks case, joining the Joint Docklands Action group and Docklands Community Poster Project as collaborative partners. The DCPP designed posters, provided a shop sign and promotional board for the centre.

No Airport banner

Members of the People’s Plan Centre carried out their own research and consultation, gained expert input and finally drew up a comprehensive document. This detailed how the same area of land could meet local needs including those of housing, childcare, the elderly, shopping facilities, transport, leisure and recreation, education and health.  The Plan addressed the means through which this approach would create jobs and boost the economy while providing the local resources so urgently needed.

R Docks Ph mural

DCPP designer Sandra Buchanan designed the lengthy proposals into a visual and accessible illustrated , and LB Newham had it posted through every letterbox in the area. There was no comparison between the social benefits of the airport proposal and those of the People’s Plan. Silvertown residents were successful in achieving a public enquiry, which upheld their plan instead of that for the airport.

P.Plan content 2

However the London Docklands Development Corporation London were answerable only to central government, a power that had been created by a special act of parliament by the Thatcher government. They did not have to take on the recommendations of the enquiry, and the airport went ahead.