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what’s been happening: new projects, ventures, invitations and links to work on other sites and works in progress

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Rendezvous Projects books in Radical History of Hackney

Our projects Lightboxes and Lettering, on the print industry in east London, and Sweet Harmony, on rave culture in Walthamstow, have been cited in the Radical History of Hackney site – see more here:

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Sweet Harmony: Radio, Rave & Waltham Forest, 1989-1994

More from Rendezvous Projects, Sweet Harmony, run by Katherine Green and Lucy Harrison, maps dance radio stations, record shops, businesses and venues across the borough. This is a very under-studied period of music culture and the project was set up with funding from Heritage Lottery Fund.


With oral history interviews, now available at LB Waltham Forest Archives and Vestry House, Sweet Harmony has published a project book with a series of playlists via QR codes to enjoy while reading!

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Our online exhibition on print

Lightboxes + Lettering has gone online with the show at Bow Arts – we’re still here so take a look. We had to close early due to CoVid but wanted to ensure people could still visit.

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Re: Review

This is the version of my article published in Architecture and Culture, Looking Back Again and Forward Re: Review and Reconstruction in Writing and Architecture, Architecture and Culture, now in the RCA research repository.

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Re: Re: Re: and ra ra ra

A small hooray I’m allowing – every little helps, non? – for my article
Looking Back Again and Forward
Re: Review and Reconstruction in Writing and Architecture’
in Architecture and Culture, which you can read here:

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The Wrong Tools

This great potential phrase for a title came up last week in a fruitful discussion with Stamatis Zografos, who I am very pleased to be working with on the next stage of the UCL Trellis 2 project. We’re talking about what to propose for our take on the project, based around the new UCL East campus in Stratford.

We’re looking at a ideas around exchange and creative destruction, card games and disruption and relics, gentrification and regeneration (of course) and spaces of intimacy and forgetting. Which tells you a lot without giving anything away! Whether or not ‘the wrong tools’ ends up being used, we started a good conversation and a good collaboration.

You can access Stamatis’s book, Architecture and Fire here, available for download.


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A very interesting afternoon yesterday spent in a whirl of artist/academic ‘matchmaking’ at Fish Island. This is the first stage of the Trellis2 programme that is about partnerships of artists interested in east London and academics from UCL responding to the new UCL East development. It’s really a knowledge exchange activity, aiming to maximise impact between the university and the local community/ies. Although there were way more artists than researchers at yesterday’s initial event, which made the matchmaking aspect a little tricky, so many of us work in both environments. People at this stage of the selection process include those working on ideas about trust and what to believe, Frankenstein, being human, self-build houses, sign language, magic and remembering and heritage.

It’s early days in the project, building up to the selection of four partnerships being selected to create work for spring 2021. There’s so many levels of interest for me and connections with my work: from east London itself; concepts of ‘regeneration’ and varying ideas of heritage; collaborations with people working in other disciplines and engagement with users of a space or place; and the duration of the project. In terms of the themes outlined, culture, social science (in terms of social geography and sociology) and urban living (in terms of communities, architecture, public spaces) are highly evident in my practice. Along with engineering in relation to architecture and social engineering, these are the areas in which I’d see most potential with my work.

With my background in architecture, projects are often focused on a particular space or place or building and its users. These include:

1 Lightboxes & Lettering (2018–20)
A Heritage Lottery-funded project with Rendezvous Projects, on the experiences of people involved in the printing industry in the pre-digital era in east London (mostly Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest). The outputs here include exhibitions at SPACE and Nunnery galleries, a series of oral history interviews to be deposited in the London Metropolitan Archive, a book and workshops on printing and writing.

2 Building 519 (2014)
A publication and audio installation commissioned by Whitstable Biennale, focusing on the community of redundant workers from the closed Pfizer pharmaceutical complex at Sandwich.

3 Leysdown Rose-tinted (2009–11)
An arts regeneration public realm improvement project on the Isle of Sheppey where, together with muf architecture/art, as project leader, I worked with local arts, religious and business groups, schools, the WI and other social groups. Outputs ranged from a rose garden, photographic exhibitions, a postcard project, a book to a community writing website. This project received a Royal Society for Public Health, Arts and Public Health Commendation 2011.

A Trick of the Light (2005), a digital writing piece on reactions to a newbuild performance space for a writer-in-residence commission with architexts/Southeast Arts. I worked with residents and staff at Orchard House, a Rudolf Steiner residential home for young adults with learning difficulties. It was from my experience during this project that I coined the term ‘audio architecture’ for my use of sound to create spaces.

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Ligthboxes and Lettering Gallery Workshops

Alongside the exhibition, there’s a programme of day and evening talks, walks, workshops and visits, all related to aspects of local print. Read more on the Nunnery gallery website

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Lightboxes and Lettering

The show is open at the Nunnery gallery until Sunday 29 March 2020, Tue-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat & Sun 10am-5pm.
181 Bow Road
E3 2SJ

Screenshot 2020-02-04 at 12.55.07



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Lightboxes & Lettering: The book!

It’s nearly here: on the press this week.



The exhibition at Nunnery Gallery in Bow opens on 16 January, and the book is a standalone but companion piece to the show.

This is the press release:

Lightboxes and Lettering: the importance of east London’s print industry celebrated in new National Lottery-funded exhibition

Lightboxes and Lettering | 17 January – 29 March 2020 at the Nunnery Gallery E3
Private view: Thursday 16 January, 6-9pm

A new exhibition at Bow’s Nunnery Gallery is set to celebrate the fascinating and important history of the print industry in east London.

Lightboxes and Lettering by Rendezvous Projects is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the show tells the story of the ever-changing face of the print industry throughout the 20th century. The show focuses on printers in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest, giving the public a chance to view historic photographs and printed items, many of which have never been seen before.

The exhibition collects images of iconic east London print shop fronts, factory floors and machinery alongside print workers’ memories, which are told through a new collection of oral histories. These oral histories were collected by the Rendezvous Projects team alongside a number of enthusiastic local volunteers, who also received free training in interviewing techniques and the collection of oral histories.

Lightboxes and Lettering utilises archive material and newly discovered items from print companies, co-ops and radical presses across east London. The absorbing exhibition documents changes in the print industry throughout the 20th century, exploring the important role east London played and the influences of new and digital technologies.

Forgotten, often intricate techniques are celebrated, with beautiful examples of print on display, which include booklets, catalogues, packaging and colourful posters that advertise anything from political events to music nights across east London. There is also a selection of prints and publications made by local participants in workshops that Rendezvous Projects ran to demonstrate the techniques and equipment of the past.

“The print trade is such a rich part of east London’s industrial history,” says Lucy Harrison, Project Leader. “The technology of print, design aspects and the finished products all provide a fascinating insight into the evolution of the print industry in the area, from closed-shop union print-works to radical presses and commercial, artists’ or community print shops.”

Presented in the heart of the East End, the show will run at Bow Arts’ Nunnery Gallery, opposite Bow Church from 17 January to 29 March 2020. The organisers hope that this will attract many former-print workers and art lovers to view the work and reflect on this slice of our capital’s history. The exhibition is aimed at anyone with an enthusiasm for print, design or local history, although it should also attract those with interest in photography, trades union history or the changing face of east London.

“It is important that the history of the print industry in east London is recognised and recorded,” says Peter Wynn, a former-owner of the Malvern Press, which operated in Dalston from 1953 to 2003. “The advent of the printed word in England in the 15th century saw London become a major centre of print. Due to its proximity to The City, its commercial heart, East London provided a base for printers to supply products and services that supported its rapid growth and, to some extent, still does.”


For further information, images and interviews please contact:
Lucy Harrison, Rendezvous Projects, 07971 963668 |
Georgina Walters, Marketing and Communications Assistant, 020 8709 5290 |
Sophie Hill, Director of Arts + Events, 020 8980 7774 ext.312 |

Notes to editors

Exhibition: Lightboxes + Lettering
Dates: 17 January – 29 March 2020
Venue: Nunnery Gallery, Bow Arts, 183 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ. Tues-Sun, 10am to 5pm, free entry

About Rendezvous Projects
Rendezvous Projects is a Community Interest Company based in Waltham Forest, developing creative ways of exploring social history and providing opportunities for communities to take part in the work. The organisation is run by Iain Aitch, Rosa Ainley, Katherine Green, Lucy Harrison and Michael Needham.

Lightboxes and Lettering has been made possible with a £58,200 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project focuses on the pre-digital era of printing in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest and the experiences of people involved in the industry.

About Bow Arts
Bow Arts is an arts education charity that provides affordable creative workspaces for over 500 emerging artists. Alongside this, Bow Arts manages one of the country’s most exciting education programmes, which takes world-class artists into 90 schools to improve the lives and learning of children and young people. Bow Arts runs the Nunnery Gallery, a public gallery that supports a diverse range of high quality exhibitions and events as well as the delivery of a public arts programme. Established in 1995, Bow Arts holds an important place in east London which is fast becoming known as London’s Artist Quarter. | |

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

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