Talk + workshop Free

Growing Common Land

Learn how to design your own fantasy orchard, naturally dye silk and make your own compost with members of community gardens across London.

What to expect

This event celebrates the many community gardens that can be found within social housing estates across London and explores strategies for caring for these valuable green spaces.

A series of free family-friendly workshops will take place in the Design Museum garden led by members of these communities, who will share knowledge that they have developed in garden’s across London.

Workshops include: fruit tree grafting, naturally dying silk and making compost. Talks will explore the value of these green spaces, the strength of the communities who look after them, the structures they have developed for resident-led care, and the importance of claiming and protecting public space for the common good.

Join a discussion, take part in a workshop and find community garden near you to support.

This event forms part of Hester Buck’s Designer in Residence project Growing Common Land.



Please note there are limited spaces available on these workshops. Spaces will be offered on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Craft Workshop
Led by the Poets Corner, an Allotment Group in Bow, East London.

What does a ‘garden’ and a ‘community’ mean to you? Take part in a craft-making workshop where you’ll be invited to respond to these questions through drawing and writing.

Fantasy Orchard Generator
Led by the Alberta Fruit Commons – A community fruit growing project on the Alberta Estate, Walworth.
Design your own fantasy orchard with artist Richard Galpin. This drop-in workshop involves the radical renaming of fruit varieties after friends, family and community members, or social and political themes. Based on the occurrence of local synonyms for fruit varieties, and their hidden histories of people, places, and land ownership.

Talks & Demonstrations on Composting
Led by Swedenborg Garden’s – A Community Garden in Whitechapel.
Times: 14.00-14.30, 14.45-15.15 and 15.30-16.00

The Swedenborg Garden will demonstrate their local composting project which is about creating compost for vegetable growers within their community. They will also discuss their strategies for preventing food waste.

Natural Food Dying Workshop
Led by the Wilton Estate Community Garden in Hackney.
Times: 14.00-14.30, 14.45-15.15 and 15.30-16.00

Learn how to make a series of natural dyes - made using food waste such as onion skins and plants from the garden - to colour a series of silk handkerchiefs.

TALKS: 16.00-17.45

Lessons in Growing Common Land – Garden Take
Introduction by Hester Buck

Common land grab – the role of gardening.
Torange Khonsari, Public Works.

Naming as a Way of Claiming
Architects for Social Housing in conversation with Richard Galpin from the Alberta Fruit Commons

Community-Led Action
Concrete Action in conversation with Poets Corner.

Booking information

Adult: Free
Student/concession: Free
Members: Free
(only valid during 5 date pre-sale)


Hester Buck

Hester Buck is a member of the critical design practice, public works, a not-for-profit studio set up to explore the intersection between architecture, art, performance and activism. Hester’s current research celebrates green spaces within post-war social housing estates through workshops with local communities.

Related exhibition

Designers in Residence 2018: Dwelling

Find out more about the innovative projects that this year's Designers in Residence are working on using the theme of dwelling.