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Friday, 11 March 2016

New Perspectives on Technology and Drawing for the Senior BEEs and Islington Eyes

This week our Senior BEEs and Islington Eyes groups participated in an iPad drawing workshop at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Guided by Wilson Yau, art teacher and RIBA’s Library Digital Outreach Manager, participants were encouraged to overcome their fears and reservations about their drawing abilities and to embrace new technology in a creative way.


In contrast to arguments that technology can be anti-social, isolating and promotes a sedentary lifestyle, the iPad technology had a positive effect on the groups making members feel more inclined to try and experiment with drawing, an activity they would not otherwise have considered.



Participants  also developed new skills in using technology, while gained a greater appreciation for the environment through closely observing the fabric of the building with its various wall carvings, textures, materials, and levels.


All in all, it was a challenging but rewarding experience, inspiring our group members to interact with the built environment in new ways. Here are some of the drawings that were created:

 

 

Monday, 22 February 2016

Spring Term Programmes for the Senior BEEs and Islington Eyes

The Spring term for our older people’s groups is now underway, and we have an exciting programme of activities for each. Full details can be found here in our programme leaflets. 

If you have any questions about the programmes, or would be interested in getting involved in one our groups – either as an older person, a volunteer, or a potential session host, then please get in touch!






 

Friday, 5 February 2016

Exciting News to Kick-Start the New Year


Happy New Year! ... a little belated perhaps for the UK, but Chinese New Year is just around the corner!

So far 2016 has got off to a busy start... 

Last week we took part in a Living Wandle Landscape Partnership event, which began as a relaxing walk along this unique river. We were reminded just how fantastic the River Wandle is as we stumbled across the Watermeads - a great spot to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Today, the Watermeads is maintained as a nature reserve where you can experience the combination of natural beauty and urban history, while taking in a breath of fresh air!
  
River Wandle at Watermeads Nature Reserve

Opposite the Watermeads sit three Mill Cottages, commonly referred to as the Fisheries Cottages. The cottages are Grade II listed and include elements dating from the late 18th and 19th Centuries.

Fisheries Cottages during the summer months

The event provided an opportunity for us to preview our Wandle Treasures map and to test the heritage knowledge of workshop participants.

Detail of Wandle Treasures map

We are excited to announce that we will very soon be launching our Wandle Treasures Crowdfunding Campaign. The campaign aims to raise funds to tour the illustrated map by artist StephanieTheobald to community venues along the river. The map captures the rich heritage of the River Wandle depicting historic treasures researched by our team of enthusiastic volunteers during 2015. Funds raised will also support a programme of events including artist-run workshops, talks and river walks. 

Details of the crowdfunding campaign, and how you can get involved, will follow soon! In the meantime, if you would like to hear more about the Wandle Treasures map or you can help in any way, please let us know.


*The Wandle Treasures is a volunteer-led local heritage project where we identified heritage treasures along the course of the River Wandle, which spans four London boroughs (Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton and Croydon). The final selection has been drawn by artist Stephanie Theobald and will be uploaded to a website along with an interactive map on the Living Wandle Digital Archive. The project has been delivered in collaboration with Living Wandle Landscape Partnership Scheme as part of the Industrial Heritage Recording Project.  
 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Highlights of 2015

 
As 2015 draws to an end, it’s time to reflect on the year gone by, and what a year is has been!  

We continue to enjoy uncovering London’s rich heritage; exploring contemporary and historic architectural sites; and inspiring learning and new perspectives by engaging people with the built environment and providing opportunities for them to shape its future.

Here's a summary of our activities across 2015, and a big thank you to all those who contributed to helping make these projects happen:

Senior BEEs and Islington Eyes 
Both our older peoples groups continue to meet regularly and are keeping active through our Spring, Summer and Autumn term programmes of activities. 2015 highlights include:  a site visit to the Bishopsgate Goodsyard development; a consultation session with the Hackney Street Scene team; a tour of Hodgson Gabb Studios; a private exhibition tour at the Royal College of Physicians; a visit to the Cally Clock Tower; a film screening of Through the Hole in the Wall; a visit to RIBA on lnternational Older People’s Day; a guided tour of the historic buildings of Whitehall; and a walking tour of King’s Cross.

Another highlight of 2015 is that our Islington group (previously known as the Islington Architecture & History Group) now has an official name: the Islington Eyes!
 
This year, we’ve also set up an Older Person’s Advisory Group consisting of members from both the Senior BEEs and Islington Eyes. The aim of the group is to help inform and provide suggestions across the work that we do.

Our Place Too
This newly launched project is funded by the People's Health Trust, using money money raised from Health Promote through the Health Lottery. Working with older people living in two neighbourhoods either side of City Road, the project seeks to improve their health and wellbeing by facilitating discussion about the massive changes taking place on their doorstep. 

Places of Worship
2015 marked the third year of a visit to the Suleymaniye Mosque in East London and Sandy's Row Synagogue with Year 8 from the Bridge Academy.

Wandle Treasures 
A volunteer-led local heritage project where we identified and researched heritage ‘treasures’ along the course of the River Wandle, which spans four London boroughs (Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton and Croydon). The final selection has been drawn by artist Stephanie Theobald and will be uploaded to a website along with an interactive map.

The project has been delivered in collaboration with Living Wandle Landscape Partnership Scheme as part of the Industrial Heritage Recording Project, and aimed to engage people in the local heritage of the area, making it more accessible.

To extend the life of the project, we will soon be launching a crowdfunding campaign to frame and exhibit the unique artist illustrated map of heritage treasures, touring it across the four London boroughs. More details will follow in the new year.

This is Our East 20
Students from the University of East London and Year 8 at Chobham Academy, the newest and only school on the Olympic Park site, created view finders with Mobile Studio. An online resource has also been produced, documenting and celebrating the work of the students.

Revitalising Peckham Rye
The second stage of community engagement, speaking to local groups and residents, and consulting on plans for facilities in Peckham Rye Park & Common.

Upcoming Projects for 2016:
We are currently working in partnership with History Pin to develop an Heritage Lottery Fund  community heritage project in the King’s Cross area. The aim of the project is to create a digital archive through a series of local community activities.  More will be revealed in the new year... 

Islington's Locally Listed Buildings
Another exciting project coming up in 2016 is a review of Islington’s Local List of Buildings for Historic England with a view to then making it publicly accessible. A group of volunteers will be enlisted to research, document and record the list, which includes over 1000 buildings.


Thank you once again to our many collaborators, clients, friends and volunteers! It’s been an exciting year and we look forward to the year ahead!

 
 

    

 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Islington Eyes Explore MontCalm

Our Place Too* is a project working with older people living in two neighbourhoods either side of City Road. With a focus on improving the health and wellbeing of older people living in these areas, the project seeks to achieve this by facilitating discussion about the massive changes that are taking place on their doorstep.


One such recent change has been the building of M by MontCalm as part of the larger ongoing development around the City Road and Old Street or Silicon Roundabout area, which is fast becoming a major hub for tech media companies. As part of the project, Islington Eyes, one of our older people's groups, visited the newly opened hotel on City Road.

Located opposite Moorfields Eye Hospital, the 23-storey boutique hotel’s striking façade and angular structure immediately evokes ideas about optics and the visual. The design concept for the hotel was created by architects Squire & Partners, with 5plus Architects as the Executive Architect and SGP Contracts overseeing its construction.


The building is one of first in world to use a horizontal transom on the façade. This along with its height, size and location makes the hotel unique and eye-catching, though has divided opinions not least within the Islington group. 










 
The group was warmly welcomed by Kubilay Tunc, the hotel’s Cluster Business Development Manager, and his team. On the visit, the group were shown around the public spaces of the hotel, including the various lounges and restaurant areas. The Skye Lounge in particular on the 17th Floor offered some fantastic views of Tech City below. The eager eyes of the Islington group were also treated to a tour of two of the 269 guest rooms, the M Spa, the Versace-tiled swimming pool, and the hotel gym.



MontCalm exudes contemporary luxury, integrating art, music, design and technology into the exterior and interior of the building. While some may view the hotel as overindulgent – both architecturally and in terms of its ethos, the visit was an eye-opening experience. It provided the group with a chance to see inside a contemporary building, to learn about its design and how it functions, along with its users. It also provided a different perspective of this rapidly changing area. 

Sometimes there is more to a building than initially meets the eye, and it's worth getting an inside look to develop a more informed point of view.


*Our Place Too has being funded by the People’s Health Trust, using money raised from Health Promote through the Health Lottery.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Wandle Treasures Map Goes Live!

While our Wandle Treasures project has now officially come an end, we hope its legacy will live on.

As part of this legacy, we have created a Google Map plotting all the treasures researched by our volunteers. We would like to share this map, which hopefully demonstrates not only the rich heritage of the Wandle River area, but also the range of research work carried out by the project’s participants over the past year.

The treasures displayed on the map have been divided into different categories including Historic Buildings & Structures, Arts & Crafts, and Industrial Heritage. We hope that this helps to make the map a user-friendly resource that can continue to reveal and inform people about the fascinating history of this area of London, as well as be a rewarding tribute to the Wandle Treasures project itself.

Have a look at the map here:




* The Wandle Treasures is a volunteer-led local heritage project where we identify heritage treasures along the course of the River Wandle, which spans four London boroughs (Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton and Croydon). The final selection has been drawn by artist StephanieTheobald and will be uploaded to a website along with an interactive map. 

The project has been delivered in collaboration with Living Wandle Landscape Partnership Scheme as part of the Industrial Heritage Recording Project.