LAND AND PEOPLE, Permanent spaces of transformation, Wenlock Barn Estate London 2008 - 2018

FreeSpace projects have worked long term with residents of Wenlock Barn Estate and show the quality of change that can be directed from the micro level.Over the ten years we have worked with residents to claim and care for 5 pieces of land on the Estate. These previously fenced in pieces of grass have since become places for the cultivation of care and culture through a number of processes including; performance, ritual, cooking, planting, herbal medicine, collaborative design and co-construction. The spaces become not only beautiful and peaceful places within the city but function as points of local governance.The garden is a space for creative expression, listening and action. It is a contemporary dialogue between architecture, ecology and landscape.

FreeSpace 2008-2018 Wenlock Barn Esate London

The projects have been realised through main and small grant funding from the Big Lottery local food fund, Shoreditch Trust, London Community Foundation. Awards For All, Wenlock Barn Tenants Mangement Organisation, Capital growth and Our Space our Say. Recently recieving Funding from Arts Council England for BREADROCK

Since conception FreeSpace ideas have been cultivated through the estate spreading amongst the blocks of Napier court, Catherwood Court and Wenlock Court. The projects began with the Growing Kitchen garden. This project, the catalyst to the ones that followed, took as its impetus the idea that the kitchen as the heart of the home, could be the heart of the community. The success of this project has since led to the planting of a foraging garden, herb garden, back garden and a communitiy orchard on the Estate.FreeSpace projects have used these spots between the buildings as a starting point to converse and construct new meanings for these spaces. Creating through collective design, construction and learning, places of occupancy. Occupancy not just of gardens, the form that they present, but of spaces of collective and public acceptance. Places to create shared and new memories of spaces. Places constructed by the hands. FreeSpace has involved long-term projects and short term interruptions throughout the Wenlock Barn Estate.


During 2013 The Growing Kitchen garden and Growing Kitchen Resident Group received Highly Commended In the Funding awards of the National Lottery Local Food Fund,

for impact and diversity and the resident group was awarded Local Food Heroes for the sustained achievements of the Growing Kitchen Resident Group. We were honoured that the head of Big Lottery England came to the Estate to present the award read more click HERE. In 2017 we developed BREADROCK, a myth that celebrated the exchanges created between the diverse cultures and people on the Estate. BREADROCK developed in collaboration with Rosalind Fowler was featured in reviews in 2018 by Caroline Douglas, director of Contemporary Arts Society Cherry Smyth, Art Monthly and Tanya Harrod in Crafts Magazine.

This work has enriched our ideas as much as it has shaped new public spaces with public creation. It is the seat of our research and the depth for our wider practice.


The stories emerging from FreeSpace have produced knowledge for locating a new type of ‘commons’ crafting slow time space between people and soil. Spaces that are within and for the community – spaces that are public, collective and organised. Celebrating the architecture that believes in the gathering, in sharing, in warmth, in working through difference and conflict, in coming together, in groups, in people making their own power. Residents have worked together to build, everything from the raised beds, through bricklaying workshops to meeting houses raised collectively through traditional barn raising gatherings and even planted a field of wheat at the base of one of the blocks.

We continue to make work in response to this collaboration including:
2018 BREADROCK, 16mm film and exhibition PEER
2017 Permissible Notations of |16mm film
2016-2017 Harvesting the Commons
2014 The Storm
2013 astate |Cities Methodologies
2013 Traveling Lecture Series  | UCL Urban Lab, ]performance space[, Residents homes
2013-2015 OPEN HOUSE London
2008 The Shoreditch Festival