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Symposium: If Artists Built the World

  • Key Theatre Embankment Walk Peterborough, England United Kingdom (map)

Symposium: If artists built the world

17th April

10am - 3pm

Key Theatre, Peterborough

£5 (lunch included)

Book your place here

This symposium will explore how artists and creative practitioners, working in the context of new housing developments and regeneration, can:

  • grow community

  • cultivate identity of place with local people

  • give power to residents to shape their new neighbourhood


Over the course of the day you’ll hear from multiple perspectives: Artists, Curators, Developers, involved in innovative projects across the country:

  • Lorelei Lodestar, Artist, Clay Farm Community Garden, Cambridge

  • Zoë Sawyer, Curator, East Side Gallery, Park Life, Banbury

  • Caroline Wendling, Artist, Peterborough Presents, Project: Hampton, Peterborough

  • Roger Tallowin, Developer, O&H Hampton, Peterborough

The day will be facilitated by Artist and Architect, Helen Stratford.

Helen will run a series of Regeneration Games during the day including Regen Bingo a fun game for players of all ages based around the language of regeneration and Productivity Portfolio Posters which asks participants to collaborate on developing their ideas for a city which embraces artist-led activity.

Working together we’ll seek to understand:

  • What works, what doesn’t?

  • What learning we can take?

  • How we can ensure work is as impactful as possible?

Plus enjoy a delicious vegan lunch with Peterborough’s own Resist Vegan Kitchen

Peterborough Presents is the city’s Creative People and Places (CPP) programme funded by Arts Council England. CPP is about more people taking the lead in choosing, creating and taking part in art experiences in the places where they live.

Information on projects that will be presented:


Lorelei Lodestar


Working in the context of new housing development in Cambridge, Lorelei was given a plot of land to initiate a community garden with the aim of bringing together old and new residents to co-design and develop a public space for social growing and gathering. “Clay Farm Community Garden inhabits a space that lies on the boundary between new and old neighbourhoods. It is a crossing point between the urban and the rural, the past and the future, the managed and the wild. I work with the flora, fauna and folk that live in and around the community garden, to grow and nurture a living landscape that roots this borderline in the consciousness and daily lives of its surrounding inhabitants.” [Lorelei]


Zoë Sawyer

Offsite Curator, East Side Projects

Eastside Projects, collaborating with Cherwell commissioned 3 artists to develop works in the context of a new housing development, in the formative stages of development. Park Life posits that artists - with creative thinking skills and strong participatory ethics - can operate in realms typically reserved for urban designers and developers.
“Eastside Projects are interested in changing the way that art is commissioned for new property developments in the UK. It is common for councils to encourage developers to invest in artworks via the town and country planning system (S106). Art is often commissioned to adorn public spaces, however we think that art should be useful and that artists can be innovative urban planners as well. Our proposition is to initiate a working method that involves artists at a much earlier stage of a development, so that they can be part of the design and planning processes. Appointed by Cherwell District Council, Eastside Projects are the commissioning agents responsible for curating a series of public projects at Longford Park, a new housing development in Banbury by Barratt Homes, Bovis Homes and Taylor Wimpey.”


Caroline Wendling, Artist

Roger Tallowin, Developer

Peterborough Presents are working with artist Caroline Wendling on a project in Hampton - a housing development comprised of 4 neighbourhoods and with 4 more on the way. Having the highest green space: housing ratio when compared to any other housing development in the country, the project is interested in how you cultivate greater usage of the space and diversify uses. More importantly the project is about bringing people together and creating more (non commercial spaces) for community to develop. “The Hampton is a green estate with many path and places to walk, run or cycle but no designated shelters to stop, meet and make friends. I have worked with residents of Hampton to find out about their favourite places outside their homes and what would get them to stop and spend time with friends on Hampton green spaces.” [Caroline]

O&H Hampton Ltd manages the 2500 acres O&H Properties land holding in Peterborough. Since 1996 land has been prepared for development by installation of roads, services and community building including to date two 2FE primary schools and a 7FE secondary school. 1000 acres of public open space and nature areas have been created as well as 140,000 trees planted. 5500 homes and 6000+ jobs have been created to date.


Architect, artist and practice-led PhD Candidate at Sheffield University, researching Performative Architectures - making place in and with public space. Located between live/visual art, architecture and writing, Helen works with architects, artists, curators, diverse communities and publics to develop site-specific interventions, performative workshops, live events, video-works and speculative writing that search for modalities to expand architectural conventions.

“My practice is multi-disciplinary, I produce artworks through collaborations and experimental pedagogy. I create site-specific performances engaging my audience to act as participants. I collaborate with experts leading to trans-generational research and exchanges. For example my Floating Walk involved a class of 30 primary school children, a neuroscientist, 13 local seamstresses, a Persian chef and a musician.

I devise layered projects that draw on history and forgotten stories of places and explore local myths in order to invite re- imagings of the sites. I am interested in the movement of the body and how the movement in time and space affects our perception of a place.”


"I collaborate with people, plants and wildlife, to make site-specific actions. I perform provocations and interventions that stimulate debate and invite participation. I make time-based, iterative installations; assemblages from found and natural materials; landscapes that are Landscapes; objects and gestures

My practice draws on playful improvisation and serious experimentation: an approach developed over many years of devising for performance.

I am particularly interested in the potential for using living materials to make works that explore the physical action of the making process, physical labour, authenticity as artifice, and the rules of exchange.”

Photo: Clay Farm by Helena Hellis

Earlier Event: April 15
Family Den Building Day