Thirty four people attended Roman Road Trust’s fourth Common Vision workshop on Arts & Culture, including guest speakers from Art Represent, Rich Mix, London Buddhist Arts Centre, Balik Arts, and Four Corners who kindly hosted us.
The evening started with an introduction from Four Corner’s Artistic & Development Director Carla Mitchell followed by Srivati Skelton from the London Buddhist Art’s Centre, Baiqu Gonkar from Art Represent,Margot Przymierska and the New Creatives from Rich Mix and Andras Horvath from Balik Arts.
After the speakers shared an overview of their arts and culture organisation in Globe Town, the proceedings were handed back to the attendees who workshopped ideas about what type of arts and culture programme would benefit their neighbourhood in Globe Town.
Following the presentations, attendees were divided into smaller groups to discuss the best arts and cultural events that are already happening in the area as well as programmes that are missing in Globe Town. Groups also discussed their favourite events and venues.
There was an overall consensus that there is a shortage of space that can host large and/or public events in Globe Town.
Four Corners, London Buddhist Centre, St Margaret’s House, St. John Church, Chisenhale Gallery and York Hall were all praised for their cultural programs offering.
Many people agreed that it is difficult to find out about events that are happening and that there is need for an investment in better communication infrastructure, both online and offline. There should be a dedicated location or online hub in which local people can visit to find information on upcoming projects and events.
It was suggested to utilise Globe Town market square as a festival or outdoor theatre space providing a stage for performances. The space could also host travelling artists who offer workshops, participatory events and create art installations.
Due to the grey appearance of the Market Square, we heard several suggestions around the theme of light. Jack, an electronic engineering and computer science student from Queen Mary University suggested that digital media light shows could be used to improve the lighting of the square especially in the evenings.
Several attendees had the idea to host a film festival on the square as well as offering a neutral space for meeting new people from the neighbourhood to strengthen community links.
Another recurring theme was the need to celebrate the diversity of the area. Proposed events, all agreed, should mirror the diversity and reflect love and inclusivity. The square could host a range of inter-faith events on less-busy days, such as Sundays. These events could be in celebration of Christmas, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Easter, Eid, Ramadan and Jewish festivities.
Mindfulness events were also suggested as this would link in with existing programs from the London Buddhist Centre and its satellite organisation. One suggestion that elicited much support was a group meditation event on the square.
When asked to name the best events in recent years in Globe Town, the following were mentioned:
- Chicken Show exhibition at the Roman Road Gallery in May 2014, though this was qualified by a complaint that the gallery is rarely open
- Roman Road Trust’s Globe Town Common Vision workshops
- Cranbrook community events
- The arrival of Simply Fresh
- London Buddhist Centre’s Open Days
- Floating Cinema and Canal Festival on nearby Regent’s Canal.
The majority agreed that the market square is the best venue for events in Globe Town. It is a space which can host events of different sizes and is highly accessible and visible to passing traffic and residents in surrounding housing blocks.
It was underlined that surrounding schools, such as Morpeth and Bonner, should be involved in programming of events of the square. School children walk past the square several times a day and their ideas and wishes should be reflected in the improvement strategies. One suggestion was for school children to create artistic light installations that could be exhibited in the square.
All in all the engaged and fruitful discussions left us with an abundance of amazing ideas, especially from the New Creatives from Rich Mix. Thanks to everybody who attended and shared!
More about our arts culture organisations in Globe Town
Four Corners is an arts centre that specialises in offering film and photography training and has been based in east London for 40 years. They cover three main areas of support, firstly working with local unemployed people in developing their skills within film, television and photography. Secondly, they offer specialty skills training for entering paid work placements within the industry. And thirdly, a yearly training program called ZOOM, which trains 16 people in film and production techniques, many of them will go into work placements and even employment. Four Corners also has a range of public programs including exhibitions, talks and other events. At the moment they are working on an archive project, gathering information about the early history of Four Corners in form of a social documentary. At the end of the year, they will have a Nora Smythe exhibition, a suffragette who captured and documented the era with her photographs.
London Buddhist Centre
The Buddhist Community has a high impact on the cultural offer in the area, the London Buddhist Centre has been on the Roman Road for the past 40 years and offers art programs such as creativity workshops, deep ecology days, transforming mournings, a choir, creative writing groups and poetry appreciation workshops. In collaboration with the London Buddhist Arts Centre, they also run painting workshops. The LBAC has been based in Eastbourne House since 1993 and offers affordable rehearsal space for various groups and a range of arts classes to do with mindfulness. The centre also has space for artist studios and apartments.
Globe Community Project
A charity called Globe Community Project was set up to also offer arts programs such as arts classes, story telling or drama classes to people that don’t necessarily have anything to do with buddhism or meditation. The organisation has worked with elderly people, minority groups, people with mental health issues or ex-offenders. These arts classes have helped boosting peoples confidence and could potentially develop more community cohesion.
The social enterprise Art Represent empowers artist from conflict areas around the world. They work with 50 artist globally, showing exhibitions in their gallery space on Globe Road as well as showcasing the artists in their online platforms. It is important to them to have the artist present in their communities on the ground as well as collaborating with local groups and people in Globe Town. They also offer affordable work and event space.
Rich Mix’s mission is to involve both Tower Hamlet’s residents as well as the wider audience coming to Shoreditch in their cultural activities. They run an extensive range of programs including festivals, music, cinema, theatre, dance and other types of performances. One of their initiatives, the New Creatives, trains a group of 10 young people to test career opportunities within the arts through a placement at Rich Mix. The Young Creatives present their event, Firsts, which is happening on the 15th of February and is a collection of stories about the human experience of doing something for the first time.
Balik Arts is a social enterprise that was founded in 1999 and wants to initiate social change through film. One of their programs trains a group of young people for free through the production of a film, accompanied by professionals. They are currently running a free event called The Hamlets Pop-Up Cinema which screens movies from different cultures in different venues in the area to potentially start a conversation within the community.
Roman Road Trust is helping to bring together the people of Globe Town to form a common vision for the high street and the community it serves. For that we have been running a series of workshops on the first Tuesday of each month.
Our next event will be the last one and will be a social – our Globe Town Common Vision Knees Up with complimentary food and drink, venue tbc.
Globe Town Common Vision Placemaking Workshops are funded by London Borough of Tower Hamlets, working in partnership with Roman Road Trust to improve local governance and support the delivery of regeneration initiatives in the Globe Town area of Roman Road West.