EEA have been working consistently on the Alton Estate in Roehampton, since 2012. Our aim at the beginning of the project was to research, talk to and involve as many different community gatekeepers and groups as possible, building trust relationships to go forward with development and creative consultation sessions.
In 2012, supported by Wandsworth Arts we developed Birdbrain for the Alton Estate in Roehampton. Some of the young carers that we were working with at the time, through the Street Arts Academy lived there and wanted to know why nothing ever happened on their estate. Wandsworth Arts team had previously tried to programme things there as part of Wandsworth Arts Festival but had found it difficult to engage the local residents.
We had a brilliant response to Birdbrain and as a result, designed a programme called The Lounge, which would support local residents to co-produce art workshops and events in their public space.
It was designed to make sure that:
- the local community felt ownership over and connection with cultural programming in the area
- we could ensure that future work was more accessible and interactive and able to resonate with a very diverse local audience and
- that we were able to build confidence and skills within the local community to support a more year round connection with arts activities.
We have also been able to build, due to the success of the project’s format, an Outdoor Arts Stakeholder Group, involving other companies working in the area, representatives from the local schools and community groups. We brought an independent producer on board to work with EEA, who would be able to dedicate time to building local partnerships.
In addition to The Lounge, with support from council’s public health and arts teams we have also managed to develop a winter lantern project, bringing together the children’s centre, parenting groups and local schools, to gather in the same place that we hold The Lounge, in December. The event has grown for the last 3 years, with carol singing and larger scale light up sculptures incorporated into the project.
In response to the community development work that we have been doing in the area and as a result of conversations with the outdoor art stakeholders group (made up with local residents, councillors, schools, community group members and arts organisations working in the area), we have been developing the work that we do on the Alton Estate further, we have created a new project - Roehampton Spills, which seeks to engage local businesses in the area’s cultural activity and catalyse new partnerships which will feed future activity and community engagement work. There is more information about this project on here. Work is now being undertaken to develop these model further; linking into the Housebound and Home Learners Network in Roehampton to make sure that there is a creative offer for people who are unable to participate in the outdoor events in the area.
Through close partnership working and involving people in their own event, there is a really strong sense of ownership and involvement in The Lounge.
“It’s lovely to see an event which really feels embedded in the local community” Alton Estate resident
The Lounge Evaluation Report
PDF file | 606KB
Chloe Osborne - Associate Director
Bridget Floyer - Producer
Natasha Cossey - Lead Artist & Project Manager