A 10 week project that explored with pupils and teachers at Gainsborough Primary School the existing perceptions of their neighborhood and used the findings to question its future development.
The project created a short film and sound pieces from a series of interactive activities. The workshops established an alternative way of researching values, presence and absence within the neighborhood. Discussing what sectors exist, what is important and asking pupils to question how each area relates to the other. Throughout the process pupils and teachers used performative mapping, movement and sound to develop ideas and initiate discussion on the circuit of regeneration, urban planning and cultural development.
Simultaneously we were lucky enough to work with Bella and Richard, who happened to be the oldest residents of Hackney Wick and born in the area. With Bella and Richard we explored what existed previously in Hackney Wick through discussions and chats over tea all initiated by performative circular walking.
What surprised us, in all of this was, what the pupils wanted to see in the area was without knowing, the same as what previously had existed. What Bella and Richard had experienced in the area in the past. We shared these stories with the pupils and teachers building a relationship between the two realities and understandings.
The architectural and cultural observations made by the pupils were also shared by Bella and Richard, the need for housing big enough for families, the benefits of more space between houses, the ideal of a house with a garden with a range of local shops and wild animals.
Chickens featured in both accounts of the area, today with the range and quantity of chicken shops and previously with everyone keeping chickens in their gardens.