Community engagement with Charushila, Shoreditch Trust, Counterpoints Arts and Marcia Chandra.


Directions on how to get there-


you can park somewhere but it is best and very easy to use public transport.


Overground- Hoxton (it is running that day!)


Tube- Liverpool Street, then take the bus 149 or 242 to stop St Leonard’s Hospital.


Find Randall Cremer school which is opposite the space. Bryant Court green space (Blue print space as we have called it) is off How’s Street and jostles the overground on one of sides. The entrance to the space is a side entrance, follow the tall Bryant Court building and enter from the gate next to the overground. Click on image to make it larger.

Also, please note that the event with Ministry of Stories will be replaced by drama/story workshop with adults and children with Wanda Duszynska, who has great experience in doing this.


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London Festival of Architecture 2014

7th June 2014, 3-5 pm

We will hold a community event for families and the community, including small businesses and community groups in the Canalside area of Hackney, East London on 7th June. The theme of this event straddles the concepts of social, natural and cultural ‘capitals’ as part of the theme for the 2014 London Festival of Architecture.

Canalside comprises housing estates on Haggerston and Whitmore Estates, on either sides of the Kingsland Road, E2 including Hoxton and Haggerston. The events on the day will include a herb growing workshop by St Mary’s secret garden-

and story writing workshop for children by local charity, Ministry of stories- 

Plus, there will be a community photobooth, ‘Portraits of Canalside’, run by Counterpoints Arts and Shoreditch Trust.

We will also be consulting on design ideas for the community space. On the same day, there will be a street festival on Phillip Street, E2 (across the road) with local foods, music and film events centred in the community centre there. Together, the events on 7th June in the Blueprint space and Phillip Street, E2 will kick off the year long programme of events based on participation and community engagement.

Community work








(Photo shows previous work done by a community gardening group)

A specific focus will be on ‘everyday integration and migration’. Through the event, we wish to navigate the human and lived dimension within a local setting and creatively document communities living on Canalside. We hope to use the information to become drivers of the participatory projects in the area. The project aims to implement an action learning initiative through the prism of the creative arts and film.









(photos above show work already carried out by the community)

Address for event on 7th June

Blueprint space’: Community space of Bryant Court, How’s Street, Hackney, London E2 (behind Bryant Court on Whiston Road, London E2.

Project Partners:

This is part of a year long project run by Charushila in partnership with Counterpoints Arts and Shoreditch Trust.

Charushila is a small charity working with young people using participation and engagement. Charushila believes that by engaging with children and youth, it encourages their potential and creativity and discourages apathy, vandalism and crime. We work with local artists in our projects, alongside the community and other professionals to help achieve these aims. We have worked in the UK, Venezuela, Palestine and India. Charushila directors include architects Sumita Sinha (eco=logic) and Ken Rorrison (hhbr) and other experts on participatory design.

Counterpoints Arts is a hub of creative arts and cultural projects exploring refugee and migrant experiences. It believes in the dynamic power of the creative arts to inspire social change and enhance inclusion and cultural integration of refugees and migrants. Its work aims to ensure that the rich cultural and artistic contributions of refugees and migrants are recognized and welcomed within British culture, history and identity. Counterpoints Arts co-create, develop, produce, facilitate, promote, curate, research, publish and disseminate a range of arts and media projects.

Shoreditch Trust works with communities to improve the quality of life of residents promoting opportunities and experiences that facilitate enjoyment, enrichment and raised aspirations. Shoreditch Trust, in partnership with the University of the Arts London, has developed a unique Creative Mentoring project working with young people from east London and creative organizations based in Shoreditch.


Sanctuary, Architecture, Spatial Justice and the Arts, a panel discussion chaired by Áine O’Brien – Co-Director of Counterpoints Arts, joined by Sumita Sinha (Director, Ecologic Chartered Architects and charity Charushila) and Natasha Reid (artist – creator of the Embassy for Refugees) and Maurice Wren (CEO of The Refugee Council) at South Bank, London in June 2013.
Refugee week 2013

This panel discussed the concept of ‘sanctuary’ within architectural practice and when this has been applied, where and to what end. The focus on the notion of ‘spatial justice’ and how it is understood within architectural practice specifically in relation to projects offering refuge for refugee communities. It also explored how the concept of sanctuary can be re-framed as a democratic value, an architectural ethic and a legal principle.  Sumita Sinha spoke on-

  • Our sanctuaries– The first sanctuary we always seeks to reproduce is the first place we had- self sufficient, warm and safe- the womb.  Through our childhood, we are usually protected and provided for.  It is when we reach adulthood, we normally provide sanctuary to others.  This condition is reversed when we become refugees.  The adult then seeks sanctuary- therefore it is not a normal condition either physically or mentally.  To work with refugees, it is important to recognise this important distinction when working in participation with them.
  • The three losses- Spatial justice is closely linked to political justice- those in power will have right to spatial power as well.  The loss of political rights combined with search for safety can be a traumatic loss, a loss of our identity as human beings in control of our destiny and being able to influence our surroundings.  Furthermore, often such traumatic loss is accompanied by the loss of trust in others who may question your life stories, mock them and use them to their own advantage.  The current designs of refugee and detention centres is a physical embodiment of such ignorance of our common humanity and arrogance of our advantage.
  • The creative refugee- To be able to be creative, one has to feel safe.  Many architects and artists have fled persecution in order to create and have produced their finest works in other countries that have offered them refuge.  The irony is that this trauma has actually given rise to a higher creativity than perhaps what may have been possible without it.   The passion and inspiration to tell their stories through art and writing, through building and design- can be the highest potential of this journey.  Participatory methods of working with refugees can bring these qualities and potentials out through engagement.

tutors at the workshop

Participatory workshop, October 2010 at Faculty of Architecture and Spatial Design, London Metropolitan University

Participatory Design

Friday 1 July, 2013- 10.30am – 4.30pm
£30 / £25 concessions

The Faculty of Architecture and Spatial Design, London Metropolitan University has been leading a project on design, architecture and participatory design. With an increased focus on ethical concerns, environmental issues and even the concept of the ‘Big Society‘ coming to the forefront, participatory design is seen as the way forward. The next stage of this project sees a further series of workshops including the Visible in Stone study day and a day of workshops doing more practical building and design. These workshops are suitable for architectural students and anyone interested in learning about innovative methods in learning and teaching.
Speakers will include Torange Khonsari, London Metropolitan University & Director, publicworks; James Fischer, Director Zoo Lighting, USA; Anne Markey, London Metropolitan University; Nicole Kenton, editor, Participatory design at International Institute of Environment and Development; Yara Sharif, University of Westminster & Director, Nasser Golzari Architects; Nasser Golzari, Director, Nasser Golzari Architects; Sumita Sinha, London Metropolitan University & Director of Ecologic Chartered architects.

The participatory day will consist of short presentations in the morning followed by a Q&A session. In the afternoon, there will be a workshop on Emergency Identity and Participation – Two sites, two conditions: Palestine/Japan

This workshop is to debate architecture and the role of participation in emergency conditions, when there is a need for immediate and urgent reconstruction and shelter. Who should be involved? What is the methodology/strategy to engage communities and organisations? What are the tools to implement these strategies? Using two specific sites and real-life scenarios, we will look at contradictions of emergency needs and participation for the reconstruction of neighbourhoods in extreme situations.

This is a CPD certified course.

To book for the course contact Sumita Sinha at