5 Minutes With: Made in Thamesmead Festival

October 13, 2016

We’re pleased to announce that we will be featuring regular blogs about our clients. We work with a wide range of property owners across the country, and many of them have fascinating jobs and a huge amount of interesting experience. We’ll be asking them questions about their jobs, ongoing projects, the areas they work in and their relationship with Dot Dot Dot.

Made in Thamesmead Festival

This week, we talk to Peabody’s Kate Batchelor about the Made in Thamesmead Festival that happened a few weeks ago. Made in Thamesmead is an arts festival that our partners Peabody play a big role in organising. By all accounts it was a raging success, but here’s Kate’s take on it.

What is your role at Peabody?

Thamesmead Regeneration Officer – working on landscape regeneration improvements and cultural commissions in Thamesmead.

How were you involved in the Made in Thamesmead festival this year?

I managed the festival from inception to delivery in collaboration with local artist Sam Skinner.

Can you tell us a bit more about the festival? (When it started, the idea behind it etc)

This is Peabody’s second arts festival and we were keen to build on the success of last year. Earlier this year Peabody appointed Thirteen Ways, a strategic organisation combining curatorial and communications expertise, to work with us to investigate and develop Thamesmead’s distinct cultural offer.  One of the commitments from this piece of work was to hold a festival that created community-generated cultural activities that celebrate the character and culture of Thamesmead.

How did it go this year?

It was a fantastic weekend with more than 1,500 people in attendance and with over 20 events taking place to celebrate all things ‘Made in Thamesmead’.  The festival was also a chance to showcase some of Thamesmead’s most interesting places, from two packed out tours of the Grade I listed Crossness Pumping Station to the reinvention of garages into arts spaces for the Urban Room – a Thamesmead-themed exhibition – and the Garage Gala – an afternoon of activities and events taking place in garages in the Moorings area.

Made in Thamesmead | Guardians

Made in Thamesmead | Guardians







What were your highlights?

Outdoor cinema in the newly refurbished Southmere Square.  The South Thamesmead Residents Forum were keen to see the space used for outdoor films and picked the family favourite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. A local resident and Peabody Warden shared his photographs on the big screen and we premiered a short film made by award winning director James Slater which was produced in collaboration with local young people.  Highlight was seeing the young people receive ‘Thamesmead Oscars’ for their performances.

George Charman and Jessie Brennan (Dot Dot Dot guardians) presented installations in a vacant flat.  George transformed a room into a camera obscura and Jessie presented new work including graphite rubbings of residents doormats and created a new rubbing of the exterior walls of Coralline Walk throughout the weekend.

Other highlights included a special production of the play Johnny by Thamesmead writer, actor and director Kwame Augustine and readings from local poet and former Young Poet Laureate for London shortlistee Rachel Long.


Made in Thamesmead | Property Guardians

Made in Thamesmead | Property Guardians







What were the challenges involved in organising the festival?

Managing a variety of venues across Thamesmead, some of which are not normal spaces for events. Such as garages!

What are your hopes for the future of the festival?

We are looking forward to building on the participatory and co-authored elements of this year’s festival.  We have made a commitment to hold an arts festival annually with 2018 being particularly special as Thamesmead will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

What are your hopes for the future of arts in and around Thamesmead?

We are looking forward to working with the incredible amount of local talent and partnering with leading cultural organisations to develop arts in and around Thamesmead.

So thanks to Kate for this insight into a wonderful festival in Thamesmead. We’re pleased to be working in an area where the property owners we work with are so dedicated to such positive projects.

Want to move to Thamesmead and be part of the exciting changes around there? Take our Guardian Quiz.

Spotlight on Jonny

August 17, 2016

Jonny has been a guardian with us since March and has managed to do a huge 78 hours of volunteering in that time! This is what he has to say about being a property guardian with Dot Dot Dot: 

jonny stockbridgeI’m a visual artist and I mostly work with the public on all kinds of creative endeavours. After spending three months traveling around South East Asia and running art workshops in cafes and bars in the Philippines I got back at the beginning of February this year and stayed at a friends place while he was on holiday.

Whilst looking for a new place to live, I came across Dot Dot Dot which seemed to be totally in rhythm with what I was looking for: A more affordable rent and the opportunity to engage with my local community through volunteer work.

I moved to Abbey Wood in March. After meeting up with Claudia from The Link, a really great community centre with all kinds of facilities, we really hit it off and started to plan some art workshops.

I’ve created some large scale art installations at Somerset house and inspired by one of these projects we decided to create a jungle in the foyer by suspending netting above people’s heads, shredding polythene bags and bringing the jungle to life!

the linkWe had two great workshops where over 40 young people came and created carrier bag fruits as well as bottle flowers that strapped around the pillars. Such a great vibe and really transformed the space! I am now like their artist in residence and regularly run workshops. This has led to me talking to the library opposite about doing similar things with them too.

Peabody run The Link and have been very enthusiastic about what’s been happening. I have just recently also been commissioned by them to create some permanent artwork in the garden with a group of young people aged 8-18. Which is really exciting! Many other projects have also taken place this summer too. I created six eight foot willow sunflowers with over 200 participants for SGI-UK. A Buddhist organisation here in the UK. It was an astonishing project!

I’m very much looking forward to continuing with my volunteering and opening up new collaborations in the months to come!

Get involved

  • If you’re interested in volunteering and becoming a guardian with Dot Dot Dot, apply here today
  • Keep up to date with our news and our guardians’ volunteering experiences on Facebook andTwitter

Spotlight on Emilija

May 19, 2016

Emilija is a guardian with us in East London. From the start she has dived straight into her volunteering. This is what she has to say: 

Emilija1‘Today marks my 10 week anniversary as a guardian with Dot Dot Dot. Since starting I have volunteered with at least 7 different organisations on top of my full time job. It has been a steep learning curve comprised of moments of bliss and some crises of self-confidence.

On reflection this journey has been full of the unexpected. Amongst more traditional volunteering roles such as fundraising and leafleting, my volunteering repertoire now includes sheep herding and dressing a disposable nappy stall.

One of the first volunteering activities I signed up for was an ‘Urban Weed Walk’ in Hackney organised by a gardening community ‘Cordwainers Grow’. The walk involved combing the streets of Hackney with urban ecologist Annie to help her spot, identify and record wild plants sprouting in the paving cracks and brick walls.

emilija2One of my more regular commitments is helping out at Mudchute Farm. Working with animals surrounded by the park’s rolling hills makes for a nice change from the day-to-day desk bound work, even if you end up going home smelling of muck! The staff are very welcoming, the fellow volunteers are great company and many hands make for light work.

I have also undertaken more civilised volunteering roles. My most recent commitment is doing online research for the charity “Action on Hearing Loss”. However my next big challenge is to launch a volunteering cause of my own. I want to set up creative workshops for adults to help them rediscover the joy of imaginative experimentation and problem solving.

Starting new things can be a slow process but I am optimistic. The last 10 weeks have shown me that you can succeed in new things if you put your mind to it – even if it’s sheep herding.’

Get involved

  • If you’re interested in volunteering and becoming a guardian with Dot Dot Dot, apply here today
  • Keep up to date with our news and our guardians’ volunteering experiences on Facebook and Twitter

Spotlight on Mila

February 24, 2016

Since becoming a guardian in September, Mila has volunteered around 50 hours for a variety of causes. This has ranged from refurbishing a local community hall to fundraising for a school in Gambia. In January Mila helped to organise and invigilate an exhibition at a local gallery. This is what she has to say about the experience:

Volunteers refurbishing a community hall

Volunteers refurbishing a community hall

‘For the last month, I have been volunteering at The Nunnery Gallery in Bow Church. The Nunnery is a diverse gallery run by Bow Arts that has a particular focus on site-responsive work and works that explore the history and themes of the local area.

My first volunteering duties were to assist in the painting of the gallery walls and to help hang the current show, ’Plastic Vanitas’ by Mariele Neudecker. ‘Plastic Vanitas’ is a series of photographic works exploring the expansive collection of plastic held by the Museum of Design in Plastics (MoDiP). Neudecker has photographed a selection of plastic objects that are stored in boxes and grouped together by material, size, and weight. The groups of objects at first appear quite randomly selected and the odd combinations result in new meanings and relationships created between the plastics.

The photographs are composed in the style of Vanitas still-life painting, in which everyday objects are presented as symbols of life, meaningless and death. The plastic objects in Neudecker’s photographs therefore each appear to be carrying a symbolic meaning that goes beyond their everyday purpose. The ‘Plastic Vanitas’ exhibit has particular relevance in this area of East London because in 1865, the first ever man-made plastic ‘Parkesine’ was trademarked by Alexander Parkes in a factory in Hackney Wick.

'Plastic Vanitas' Exhibit

             ‘Plastic Vanitas’ Exhibit

After helping to hang the exhibit, I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Mariele Neudecker explaining her work, her creative processes and the deeper meanings behind the show relating to the sustainable role of plastic. Whilst invigilating the show, I have had the opportunity to meet a range of people who have come to visit the gallery. It is fascinating to see that people of all ages, from infants to the elderly, visit the gallery regularly. I never realised, until now, how much of an important role an art gallery can play within a community.’

‘Plastic Vanitas’ is showing at The Nunnery until 27th March 2016. To find out more click here.

Get involved

  • If you’re interested in volunteering and becoming a guardian with dot dot dot, apply here today
  • Keep up to date with our news and our guardians’ volunteering experiences on Facebook and Twitter

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