Furturising the Curriculum

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Working Group: Marsha Bradfield * Claire Heafford
Working Group Facilitator: Marsha Bradfield

  • Visit this page for a info on the manifesto generated through the first tour, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, that focused on Enterprise and Employablity.
  • You can find an evolving photo narrative of the tours on flickr

Supported by the UAL's Futurising the Curriculum fund (SEE and CLTAD), these two tours overlap in their focus on creative practice as a profession. TOUR 1 is concerned more with enterprise/employability and TOUR 2 with sustainability/resilience.

Please find all the info here - scroll all the way down.


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Flyer by Metod

FEATURING: Tortie Hoare
The motivation behind my furniture design is simple—it must be ergonomic, durable and aesthetically pleasing.

This year I have researched ways of creating structural 3D shapes that are environmentally conscious and an alternative to using plastic or resin. Through my research I came across the art of leather boiling.

I have tried to combine old methods and new ways of thinking to create contemporary furniture by forming a cohesive relationship between the boiled leather and other materials.

To read more, visit Torti’s new website

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fromTortie's website

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from Maria's website

FEATURING: Maria Hatling at Cockpit Arts
From her website - The world of Maria Hatling is one where bold quirky drawings, colour and creativity rule. Her signature hand-drawn prints and patterns are easily recognizable and her quality of line has won her many followers eager to collect her work.

Maria is a Norwegian artist and designer who works across different medias including painting with acrylics on canvas, collage, textiles and silkscreen & giclee prints on paper.

Described by Elle Decoration as a ‘Nordic Star’, Maria Hatling’s first collection of soft furnishings and limited edition prints, launched in 2011, were snapped up by retailers Selfridges and Heal‘s, among others, within the brands first year.

After graduating, Maria worked as a print and homeware designer for London brand Orla Kiely for six year (2004-2010), launching the brands homeware collection back in 2008 before leaving the brand in 2010 to focus on producing her own work. Maria has designed prints for ready to wear clothing, homeware products, fashion accessories, children’s books and designs for collaborations with companies such as Apple and Tate for Orla Kiely.

To read more, visit Maria's website

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from Cockpit's website

FEATURING: Ellen O'Hara from Cockpit Arts
From the Cockpit website: Ellen joined the Cockpit team in 2006 and has overall responsibility for Cockpit Arts’ business development services. She has worked with over 300 designer-makers to grow their businesses. Ellen is an accredited business coach and holds a degree in Economics from the University of Birmingham and a postgraduate diploma in administrative management. She heads Cockpit Arts’ research projects and offers a consultancy service. Ellen previously worked for The Prince’s Trust, Arts Council England and Andersen management consultancy.

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from the NX Records website

FEATURING Simon Deacon & Ruthie Woodward from NX Records
NXRecords, an independent record label from Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records and the Popular Music department of Goldsmiths, showcasing the finest new music coming out of New Cross, London.

Find them on Facebook for following their events here.


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Flyer by Metod

FEATURING: Andreas Lang from public works:
We are an art and architecture practice working within and towards public space.

From the website: All public works projects address the question how the public realm is shaped by its various users and how existing dynamics can inform further proposals. Our focus is the production and extension of a particular public space through participation and collaborations. Projects span across different scales and address the relation between the informal and formal aspects of a site.
Our work produces social, architectural and discursive spaces.
Outputs include socio-spatial and physical structures, public events and publications.
public works is a London based non-for-profit company. Current members are Torange Khonsari, Andreas Lang who work with an extended network of project related collaborators
The practice has been growing organically since 1999, with its initial founding members Kathrin Böhm, Sandra Denicke-Polcher,Torange Khonsari, Andreas Lang and Stefan Saffer working in different constellations until 2006 before formally coming together as public works.

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public works
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Butler's Gin
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Sugarhouse Studios

FEATURING: Ross Butler from Butler's Gin:
Butler’s Gin is a new, British, artisan spirit produced in Hackney Wick, East London. A smooth yet refreshing fusion of juniper, lemongrass, cardamom and citrus notes, Butler’s Gin has a light, crisp character which is set to become the drink of choice for the cognoscenti, bringing something extraordinary to every occasion.

Ross William Butler is The Butler. A designer, brand developer and lifelong gin obsessive, Ross spends much of his time on his speedboat Fletcher, enjoying the waterways of South-east England. It was on Fletcher, whilst moored in London's Docklands one summer, that The Butler developed his first batch of gin. This small personal venture swiftly grew as friends and acquaintances tasted its delectable aroma.

Originally inspired by a Victorian recipe, the gin is placed in a 20-litre glass jar with infusion bags containing fresh lemongrass, cardamom, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, lemon and lime. After infusing for 18 hours it is hand-bottled. Each bottle is then signed by The Butler personally to ensure the highest quality. The light green-meets-yellow tint is achieved by the Butler’s addition of lemongrass and cardamom - a unique blend that aromatherapists consider both refreshment and a relaxant.

All ingredients are organically sourced, and every stage of production and craftsmanship has been researched to ensure The Butler’s Gin is sustainable and kind to the environment.

The Butler’s Gin is best served cold with cucumber to garnish. If you desire a taste please arrange a meeting with The Butler or request an invitation to one of his private gin tastings, which take place every Friday at a secret location in London’s East End. During the summer, when the weather is fine, the tastings take place onboard Fletcher, cruising along the capital’s waterways.

FEATURING: Matt Leung from Assemble - Sugarhouse Studio
Sugarhouse Studios is a studio and events space on Stratford High Street, built and managed by Assemble. The building combines space for private creative practice alongside wood and metal workshops, a kitchen and bar and a flexible events and project space.

Yardhouse is a purpose built 2400sqft building offering affordable workspace for makers of all disciplines, supported by the LLDC.

The building is constructed with a barn-like timber frame, offering generous proportions, natural light, high ceilings and ease of adaptation. It is made up of 16 equally sized studio spaces over two floors, each occupying a bay of the timber frame and opening onto a central shared double height assembly space. Studios are provided without partitions, but tenants are free to adapt their space to suit their practice, combining adjacent units or enclosing their space for greater privacy.

Yardhouse provides affordable space for tenants to pursue their practice and work in a collaborative environment with other designers and makers. Group exhibitions will be held in Sugarhouse Studios and tenants are invited to develop their own proposals for events and exhibitions.

Yardhouse has been set up to provide a sociable and collaborative working environment for a wide range of disciplines. Studios will be allocated to ensure the building houses a mix of different working methods and practices. Yardhouse is not seen simply as ‘space for hire’ but as a platform for collaboration, dialogue and skill sharing between makers.

The space is managed by Assemble, a multi-disciplinary architecture and design collective, and all rental income will be reinvested in the building, its facilities and supporting the range of creative activities it houses. This will cover events, exhibitions, publications and small commissions.

FEATURING: Richard Brown from AffordableWick
Affordability in Hackney Wick, much like other edge lands of the modern city, is becoming elusive,rents continue to increase, unofficial ‘live-work’ spaces are becoming more and more lived in, land owners are cueing up with their residential planning applications, and this once renowned ‘densest concentration of artists studios’ is looking set to tread the inevitable path led by market forces.
But I am interested in the alternative path set out on by artists and creative practitioners which so often fore runs and initiates this process. ‘AffordableWick’ is a project initiated in 2012, to explore whether artists and creative practitioners, can take advantage of the real power they have collectively over the way cities move and shift, in short, can these fleeting creative classes accept their role as urban developers?

After all, is it not they, who define new ways of inhabiting forgotten parts of our cities? They recycle old buildings from the inside out to make way for new innovative uses, they invest their time, their money and their efforts to unleash the potential in decrepit areas. Their actions exude cultural value, which ultimately prices them out of their own neighbourhoods.

My proposal is that the creative classes can become ‘real’ developers from the grass roots, honing in on their collective skills and expertise to self-procure, build and manage their own neighbourhoods, to enable hard working bottom up communities to in some way ‘reap what they sow’ by controlling and contorting their influence as urban developers .

‘AffordableWick’ is poised as an agency between this cultural demographic, the local authorities (LLDC) (Tower Hamlets) (Hackney), and land owners in Hackney Wick and Fish Island. It has operated on many levels, disseminating research around affordable creative development in the form of publications and creating local groups, as well as the design, construction and management of affordable space, and finally asserting larger conceptual proposals for self-built neighbourhoods on the Olympic Park. Planning on the move As an initial investigation into affordable space, I set out in December 2012 with the challenge of producing an affordable workspace from reclaimed material found in the wick for as little financial cost as possible. It had to be a fully operational workspace for general creative use, sheltered from the rain, insulated enough for use in the winter, with electricity and wifi access. All this as well as being mobile.

The process of building and letting the cabin, for me reflected on the actions and tactics deployed by artists and creative practitioners in the wick, actions like self-building, negotiating space, exchanging tools and skills as well as creating important relationships; are all what makes ‘the wick’ a neighbourhood where it would seem any idea can be tried and tested.

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bike lanes for all

KEYWORDS: employability, enterprise, sustainability and resilience

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Regulars at Assemble's Sugarhouse Studios, Stratford

Here are some potential benefits that we've identified for TOUR 2 but many of them apply to TOUR 1 as well:

(1) Students will benefit from becoming familiar with sustainability as an overarching graduate attribute. Through their encounter with different manifestations across the exemplars explored on the tour, students will develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which it features in, and could be developed through, their skills, values, behaviours and knowledge(s). To this end, they may more effectively identify areas where their practice could become more sustainable going forward.

(2) Students will benefit from more complex, nuanced understandings and practical forms of sustainability, elaborated with reference to the dual definition of that anchors the proposed project. Working across these understandings, the project aims to align espoused theories of sustainability and theories in use. This will be explored with reference to the specific and situated practice of individual and collectivised practitioners. This exploration seeks to foreground personal responsibility for modest and manageable change with the aim of avoiding the potential split between theory and practice that can plague sustainability as a broadly transformative project committed to systemic transformation beyond the capacities of individuals or small groups.

(3) Students will benefit from a combination of learner-based strategies: learning through experience, by example and demonstration, in environments of practice (studios, workshops, production facilities, etc.), via peer-to-peer exchange and through co-authoring the manifesto. The kinaesthetic quality of the bike tour aims to enrich student experience as a fun and dynamic activity that literally moves the tour along. (*)

(4) Students will benefit from the first-hand knowledge of practitioners from organisations like Affordable Wick, public works, Butler’s Gin and Sugarhouse Studios, whose projects exemplify bespoke forms of sustainable practice. UAL's own David Cross a will bring his extensive knowledge of sustainability to facilitating the manifesto’s authorship. Claire Heafford’s tried-and-tested method for socio-culturally sustainable practice will also feature in the curriculum, as she weaves her method’s six aspects into discussion on the tour: vision/values, financing, marketing and branding, making, product development and business systems and administration. Finally, Marsha Bradfield and other members of Critical Practice will enrich the curriculum reflexively, by modelling the research cluster’s sustainable approach to cultural organisation through supporting the tour’s realisation.

(5) Students will benefit from being networked with likeminded peers. In addition to providing a platform for sharing practice, knowledge and expertise, this network could generate future opportunities. Those on the tour will be encouraged to remain in touch and support each other via the UAL’s alumni associations and on a more informal basis. The ethos underpinning the perceived value in this networking springs from the irreducible bounty of creative practice when it is interdisciplinary and collaborative.

(6) Students on the tour will benefit from co-authoring the manifesto as both a curricular resource and a collaboratively produced artwork. All those involved will be attributed, with this manifesto being akin to some types of computer programs that recognise their creators involved in their iterative development.

(7) Students who were not on the tour will benefit from the manifesto, along the MP3 files documenting the presentations and other resources generated through the project, compose an important part of its legacy. To support the development of sustainable practice in the UAL and beyond, these resources will be publically available and actively distributed to course leaders across the University.

You can find our full proposal for the sustainability tour here.