MA Narrative Environments is working with All Saints Haggerston as it is located in an area of considerable social change. In east London, parish churches serve inter-generational, multi- cultural/ethnic, Christian and non-Christian communities as places of worship and community spaces for a huge range of social care and arts projects. Working with other faith and neighbourhood groups, they can play a key role in navigating community change
The students were invited to ‘open the door’ (normally seen shut) and to work out a way of communicating local people’s stories and their thoughts about the church to a wide audience of local residents. The students’ project will act as a creative form of outreach, envisioning design as a method to use with partners and residents to achieve greater social cohesion.
Students: Annisa Lazuardini . Rhiannon Williams . Ankita Trivedi . Aliia Galimova . Daner Lou . Ya Liu . Mengzhen Gao
The students proposed an exhibition of paper lantern installations depicting the stories they collected from church and community members, and highlighting All Saints church as a transformative space. This is symbolised through literal illumination and through the population of objects in the church, which represent the people who are integral to All Saints.
The use of lanterns both maximises the church’s homely feel, and signifies certain objects to be ‘radioactive with story,’ the narrative they imply building a gradual picture of our selected subjects. Most of these subjects are those with a beneficial relationship with the church aside from that of worship. Such experiences may often remain unexplored, hiding a representation of the church as useful on a very personal, individual basis.
The group suggested the exhibition to take place in the evening, aiming for a mystical, almost fairytale atmosphere and aesthetic. The students maintained that if it’s important for the church doors to be closed, then there should be an enticing environment behind them so that when the doors do open, people feel more drawn to explore.