Utopia, A New World for Everyone
This year’s exhibition, produced in collaboration with St John’s Waterloo, celebrates the creative achievements of a group of people, living in hostels and temporary accommodation, who participated in a series of ten creative workshops during the Spring of 2022. The group worked with Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects, creative arts and music tutors to learn new skills and develop their creativity through the exploration of the theme Utopia – A New World for Everyone.
The exhibition took place at The Warehouse, One Crown Place, 19 Sun St in London EC2 on Thursday 7th July.
Visitors had a chance to meet with the students, view their work and hear the stories of all involved.
The Accumulate group, all of whom have lived experience of homelessness, increased their self-confidence, well-being and sense of personal value by being involved with this project – helping them become more positive and, in turn, make more positive decisions in their lives and for their futures. The project has revealed hidden talents and forged new understandings between all involved and for some students has resulted in fully-funded scholarships to study on Access to Higher Education courses in Fine Art, Design and Digital Media, and Fashion at Ravensbourne University and Morley College.
St John’s has a long association with homelessness and with its own visionary £5.2 million restoration project underway, thought that people affected by homelessness should also have an opportunity to work with architects to consider what makes for a perfect place.
Marice Cumber, Director and Founder of Accumulate, said:
“With Utopia we were reversing the norm when it comes to deciding what a new world should look like. Our students, often the least likely to have a choice about their environment, were on an incredible creative learning journey, fully involved and taught by experts, and the results show what can be achieved through working together in partnership.”
Claire Pollock, Partnerships Lead at AHMM, said:
“Allford Hall Monaghan Morris’ first collaboration with Accumulate students was an architectural drawing workshop in May 2020. Because of Covid, the format was a series of short videos on WhatsApp – but the sense of taking part together was powerful. Following this, we took part in Accumulate’s Train the Trainer programme, providing hostel support workers with skills and materials to create architectural environments that they could pass on to people living in temporary accommodation whose isolation was exacerbated by Covid restrictions. Inspired by these powerful engagements, we chose Accumulate as our 2022 AHMM London Charity of the Year.
“We’re delighted to have collaborated on ‘Utopia: a new world for all’ and to be funding one of the scholarships at Morley College. Our team members have shared their skills and knowledge with Accumulate participants, including modelmaking, architectural drawing and collage, and sustainability. And we have enjoyed getting to know the participants, supporting their individual interests and ways of working, and helping them create their own vibrant imaginary, utopian places.”
Euchar Gravina, Artistic Director of St John’s Waterloo, said:
“Last year, we worked with Accumulate students to research the history of homelessness. Utopia evolved as a natural follow-on. Having looked at the harsh reality of living on the edge, why not a project that provided the space, time and inspiration for imagining something better?
“Utopia is typical of the sort of project St John’s will be doing a lot more of in the future – using our building and bringing charity, community and commercial partners together to respond to need. Utopia has built new relationships, revealed new creative talents and opened up new futures. We have all benefitted.”
The Utopia workshops have been funded by generous grants from The Foyle Foundation and Arts Council England. The exhibition has been sponsored and designed by AHMM and HB Reavis has provided invaluable space to store materials and all the artwork and models created each week.