Canada Water and the Long Now

An important aspect of Global Generation’s approach is finding imaginative ways to evoke experiences of three levels of History or what Alex Evans calls – ‘The Long Now’. For us this means thinking about our current actions and how they affect the future, understanding our cultural histories and appreciating our shared history with the earth and the wider cosmos.

If you look closely you can see our commitment to the long now at work in the Skip Garden, in the way we plant for bees and other pollinators, in the use of scaffold boards along with three-hundred year-old ships timbers that were once on the floor of the Granary Building (now the university of the arts) and in the images of galaxies and supernova stars dotted around that speak of our shared deep time history. Now we are in the early stages of opening a new story, in and around the newspaper Printworks in Canada Water. Between 1986 and 2013, this was the home for the production of the Evening Standard, the Metro and the Daily Mail. The huge Press Halls that housed giant printing presses were designed to contain the industry of what was once Western Europe's largest print facility, spread over 119,200 sqm. Now the Printworks stands empty waiting for new stories to be told.

British Land who are the owners of the Printworks and the surrounding 46 acres, are in the midst of the lengthy process of working with Southwark Council and the local community to develop a masterplan ahead of a planning submission to the local authority later in 2017. Their development plans will shape the future of Canada Water. In the meantime they have temporarily leased the Printworks which sits at the edge of the proposed development to Xcite, an events company,  whose website describes an exciting temporary use for the Printworks:

Printworks London, a ground breaking new multipurpose event space for the capital. Set to change the face of London’s cultural scene, Printworks is a 5,000 capacity venue for music and the arts. Comprising of six vast events spaces, all arranged over multiple levels with a maze of corridors and rooms

Fortunately for Global Generation, British Land are keen to collaborate with us as part of helping to ensure that their involvement in Canada Water is of benefit to the local community. In February we will take on the licence, for the rent free use of about 350 square metres of space on the ground floor of the Printworks. We are calling our new space, The Paper Garden. Through making furniture out of paper, growing things in paper and telling stories with paper we will celebrate our industrial history. We will also invite the creativity of the natural world back into a space that was once dominated by the click and roar of the machine world. Over time the Paper Garden will move out beyond the roller shutter door into the Printworks Yard and beyond. We hope to be harvesting and cooking our own Printworks Produce by the summer. We will also have a large gallery space, in which to host an ‘artists in residence’ programme. If you would like to know more or if you enjoy making and would like to volunteer to get things up and running, do get in touch.