Friday Sessions are informal talks and presentations hosted by public works on Friday evenings with invited guests and friends.

Friday Session in Hackney Wick: The Makeshift City, 90 Main Yard, 7pm, 11th July 2014

Temporary, improvised and vernacular, makeshift spatial interventions are an important alternative to the dominant production of urban spaces. They tend to be associated with collaborative and self-managed forms of organisation, a DIY design logic which questions hierarchies of expertise, and the de-commodification of space through commoning. Makeshift spaces, from warehouse occupations to public realm interventions, have played a key role in Hackney Wick's recent history. This Wick Session will consider this trajectory in relation to current local policy, as well as makeshift practices elsewhere.

With contributions by:
Tori Bravery
Adolfo Estalella
Pippa Gueterbock
Isaac Marrero-Guillamón
New Cross Commoners


Temporary uses of vacant spaces are an emerging part of London’s social and cultural landscape, at the intersection of competing imaginaries and material dynamics. This Wick Session brings together practitioners and urban researchers to explore the overlapping systems of values mobilised on the ground by projects of temporary use (e.g. alternative economies, voluntary labour), and their relationship to wider dynamics of urban transformation. Which value(s) are mobilised by temporary uses and who benefits from them?

With contributions by: 
BeanDr. Mara FerreriDr. Kim TrogalMarie Murray and Brian Cumming

The event is part of a research project supoorted by a Creative Works London in collaboration with Queen Mary University and contributes to the London Festival of Architecture. The Wick Session coincide with a two day visit by the TERRA network.

Friday the 20th of June 2014 at Swan Wharf from 7PM

Wick Session 17: Open Workshops, Friday 28th of March 2014 from 7PM

New workshop spaces are emerging across London which facilitate making by providing an affordable workspace and easy access to tools and equipment. A culture of making is re-emerging and new knowledge networks have begun to develop, connecting not only the professionals with amateurs, but a broad range of people with wide ranging interests and skill-sets.

The session has not only been formulated in order to capture the current zeitgeist that is the 'Open Workshop' but also for us to consider the bigger picture for these spaces. Perhaps in the near future these wide-ranging units could begin working together and cross-pollinate for new networks, ideas, and methods to develop.

Invited guest speakers will provide a behind the scenes look at how these initiatives function and sustain themselves.

Martin Dittus is a trustee of the London Hackspace, a community-run and non-profit workshop space in East London, with 900 members and growing. Hackspaces exist worldwide and are places to meet people, learn, socialise and collaborate.

Joe Swift will introduce Redundant Architects Recreation Association (RARA). RARA, a newly formed cooperative, is an energetic, shared infrastructure that provides affordable space for a multitude of activities Clapton.

Rory Gallagher set up Create Space London, which is an independent artist led, non-for-profit organisation. Artists, designers, crafts, makers and hackers share the 11th floor of a former office building in Stonebridge, north west London. Create Space was as a result to address need and lack of, affordable and accessible creative spaces.

Mathew Leung and Rob Shear will introduce the Blackhorse Workshop newly opened up in Walthamstow. Blackhorse Workshop was initiated by Assemble and provides workshop and studio space along educational courses for makers.

The session is organised in collaboration with Umi Baden-Powell who is a maker, artist and designer based in London. Conceptually, she is concerned with 'urban nomadism', an investigation that looks at the depleting resources of the city. Her mobile structures and designs provide efficient use of what is currently available and also seek to extend access to space(s). She is currently undertaking research for the creation of a mobile open-access workshop based (initially) in South East London.

The evening will be hosted at Swan Wharf, a new studio and event space in Fish Island initiated by the Hive. Rufus Lawrence will introduce Swan Wharf and the recently opened fully functional wood working space which can be rented on a permanent or 
temporary basis.

Swan Wharf, 60 Dace Road, London E3 2NG 
Friday the 28th of March 2014 at 7PM
Wick Sessions are free and open to anyone who wants to take part. Venues change with every evening.  
No RSVP is needed


public works - as part of R-Urba Wick - will host a Q-WICK SESSION – a shorter and faster version of the Wick Sessions – The topic of discussion is Hackney Wicks' DIY Culture. Ten guests speakers will each give a short presentation in a show-and-tell, soapbox address fashion. Speakers will hinge their contribution around one specific object or image that is representative of their individual involvment with Hackney Wick's self-build culture.

Organised with, Nancy Stevenson and Isaac Marrero-Guillamón

Visit the V&A facebook page for the event here


Ageing, Schools, Juice and a Handbook for Adventure!
Wick Session #15 will bring together a diverse group of speakers around the broad issue of Health in the context of post Olympic east London.

Dr. Sophie Handler's work explores ways in which practitioners, designers, urban curators and policymakers can redress the marginalisation of older people in cities and, both literally and symbolically, 'make space for older age. Sam Aitkenhead will itroduce his latest work "A Handbook for Home Adventure" offering tools and resources for design that inspires activity. Farah Jamal will introduce her research in secondary schools with young people in Newham, which explores how the school environment (physical and social) influences health. Tom Fletcher, a local chef will introduce us to his surplus food business - Rejuce, established to reduce food waste by redirecting surpluses into economically, socially and environmentally friendly products.

The event is coordinated with the research group Urban Health Games and the Department of Design and Urban Development of Technische Universität Darmstadt, which this year explores issues of Health and Design in East London.

Two walks through Hackney Wick and Fish Island will preceed the evening session. One lead by Simon Cole from Hackney Tours and the other by Andreas Lang from public works. Too book a free place on either ofthe walks please click here.


Friday September 20th from 11AM - 12.30PM
TENTOld Truman Brewery  Hanbury Street  - London E1 6QR

Small-scale sustainable energy production on a local level is common in the developing world, but can it make sense in the context of an established western city such as London?

Bringing together a wide network of waste to energy experts, inventors and designers, Friday morning's workshop led by R-urban Wick, is a series of short presentations and demonstrations exploring sustainable energy production and waste management for urban neighbourhoods. Come join the conversation!

Speakers include:

Guy Blanch
William Chamberlain
Fernanda Costa
Matt Hindle
James Marr
Iain Purves
Linda Royles
Rokiah Yaman


WHEN: 13/09/2013 19:00–21:30 
WHERE: The White Building, Unit 7, Queens Yard, White Post Lane, London, E9 5EN 
WHO: Sam BrownCalum GreenGus ZogolovitchMaximilian GoeschenRobin Turner

Wick Session #13 will host a conversation about self-build in east London. Hackney Wick & Fish Island has a well-established culture of self-build and DIY, driven largely by creative communities that have re-homed themselves here and adopted cheap, under-used buildings and open spaces as their workplaces and playgrounds. Although both highly productive and resourceful, this culture is also under threat - either through vicarious speculation on rising land and property values, or the continuing limbo of uncertainty surrounding stalled development proposals and changing planning legislation. What role could self-build play in the future of Hackney Wick & Fish Island? Who are self-builders, and what does it mean to 'self-build' here, in this place?

The idea of helping people to provide for themselves is key to the contemporary political context of Localism and the Big Society. Across the country, communities are being encouraged to do more for themselves, to take on more responsibility for the provision of local services and to participate in local planning and decision making. Support is being made available for groups that wish to take advantage of these opportunities, but the waters remain relatively untested. Concepts like the Community Right To Build, and Neighbourhood Planning suggest that 'self-build' should play a bigger role and the term has received increasing attention in recent months and years.

Calum Green will talk about the East London Community Land Trust, followed by short presentations by Gus Zogolovitch, who will talk about Custom Build Developer Solidspace's approach to self-build and his role with the National Self Build Association, and Maximilian Goeschen, who will talk about Gaia Gallery's project to self-build a floating permaculture barge on London's waterways using entirely natural or reclaimed materials. Sam Brown will then present the outcomes of the Motivating Collective Custom Build research project, led jointly by the University of Sheffield School of ArchitectureAsh Sakula Architects and Design for Homes. Robin Turner will speak about the work of Diploma Unit 5 at the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, which has been exploring innovative new models of self-build - and Custom Build - in east London, and is now working as a designer for David Kohn Architects.


Photo: Leon Krige
Photo: Leon Krige


WHEN: Wednesday 12th June 2013, 7PM
WHERE: The White Building, Unit 7 Queens Yard, White Post Lane, London E9 5EN

Wick Session #12 will host a conversation with Johannesburg based [IN]FORMAL STUDIO (IS), a collaborative platform based in Johannesburg. It pools resources and skills through in-situ teaching, research and actual projects located in complex urban conditions. Through forming partnerships with residents, NGOs, the city, universities and other professionals, Johannesburg, as one of the most unequal cities in the world, is explored as a productive test-bed in which the practice of architecture and urban design can be re-directed to support and lend agency to people-driven development. IS also hosts and organises local and international exchanges around the theme of participative planning and action research.

Thorsten Deckler and Eric Charles Wright will introduce the INFORMAL STUDIO followed by short presentations from Alex Warnock Smith who will introduce the Informal City Research Cluster at the Architectural Association and Andreas Lang from public works who will give a brief introduction to the R-urban Wick Re-use Centre which is currently taking shape in Hackney Wick.


Thorsten Deckler and Eric Charles Wright will introduce the informal Studio (IS) and talk about the changing role of architecture in the context of a historic shift taking place in thinking about housing in South Africa. Precipitated by the realisation that the backlog of 2.3 million state-subsidised houses will not be met, this shift is making itself felt on the ground, through the mobilisation of communities, as well as the state’s expressed goal of upgrading informal settlements at scale. Within this context the [IN]FORMAL STUDIO has developed an in-situ university course in which residents, students, teachers and city officials are being brought together through a collaborative framework of engagement guided by an alliance of grass roots community networks and NGOs.

Alex Warnock-Smith, from Urban Projects Bureau, will introduce the aims and ambitions of the Design and the Informal City research cluster that he runs with Elena Pascolo and Jorge Fiori at the Architectural Association (AA). Alex will discuss different approaches to the productive potential of informality through design at different scales, drawing upon research conducted by the cluster and graduate students in the AA Housing and Urbanism programme.

Andreas Lang from public works will introduce R-urban Wick a mobile reuse centre currently evolving in Hackney Wick. R-urban Wick is a roaming workshop based on a repurposed Milk Float which explores and promotes culures and practices of re-use. R-urban wick is part of a wider netowrk of projects to enhance the capacity of urban resilience by introducing a network of resident-run facilities in Hackney Wick and Colombes, France. R-urban aims to initiate locally closed ecological cycles that will support the emergence of alternative models of living, producing and consuming.


With kind support from PPC Cement


The original home of Friday Sessions - 2610 South Architects in Johannesburg - are re-launching the sessions in their new(ish) office. If you are anywhere close - drop by and pay a visit.

On our travels to Johannesburg many moons ago we met Thorsten and Anne from 2610 South Architects who hosted us at their offices. They ran informal presentations on friday evenings, people brought their own drinks and chairs. An informal and geneours platform which opened many doors for us and gave the best possible start to our work in South Africa. A perfect venue to connect and exchange outside the institution and among practitioners. Its great to see them relaunched.

We are happy to announce that Friday Sessions are being relaunched from our office space in Brixton.
For more background information, please see
Please RSVP to by Wednesday 17 April 2013.


Can the localism agenda provide a platform for developing a community-led vision for the future of Hackney Wick and Fish Island? Can affordability be protected, gentrification avoided and the area's diverse cultures nurtured?

This session will look at the ways in which the local community can have an impact in key decisions regarding the development, regeneration and conservation of the area. The session is co-organised with Isaac Marrero-Guillamón, Editor of The Wick newspaper and co-editor of The Art of Dissent.

Friday the 19th of April 2013, 7PM
Stour Space 
7 Roach Road
Fish Island
E3 2PA 

Juliet Can will introduce Stour Space, its history, ethos, aims, challenges and future vision as a social business. Juliet's involvement with Stour Space began as a volunteer consultant supporting the organisation with its fundraising, governance and growth. Her current role as Manager is to develop services, relationships and key strategic goals within Stour Space.

Lee Wilshire. From the 'Right to Build' to 'Community Councils' via 'Neighbourhood Plans', Lee will provide a whistle stop tour of some of the measures introduced by the Localism Act, looking at what they mean for communities. As part of the team at Stour Space, Lee will provide an overview of how they are using aspects of the new legislation in their struggle for sustainability.

Sue Brownill will present findings from an ongoing research on neighbourhood planning in Oxfordshire (Woodcote and Thame) and London (Somers Town and South Bank). The project examines the experiences of these communities, in terms of the extent to which power and control is actually being devolved to localities and the varying capacities of 'neighbourhoods' to engage with the localism agenda.

Oliver Goodhall and Holly Lewis from We Made That will reflect on lessons from their recent project, The Open Office, and what relevance they might have to Hackney Wick. Operating on a walk-in basis, The Open Office was part 'Citizens Urban Advice Bureau' and part functioning practice, and offered an approachable and dynamic forum for public discussions about cities, planning, architecture and communities. The exhibition created a forum to explore topics relating to the 2011 Localism Act and the emergence of neighbourhood planning.

David Knight. Do the coalition government’s planning reforms go far enough in putting planning back into the hands of the people? Is this even their intention? ‘Beyond Localism’ will argue that more fundamental changes must take place if planning is to become something that people understand and use as part of everyday life. The talk will draw on examples of ‘popular planning’ derived from David's ongoing research at the Royal College of Art.

The Session will be followed by a 9.30pm screening of Tom Metcalfe and John Rowley's film 'The Wick' at See Studio

'The Wick - Dispatches from the Isle Wonder': Two film-makers arrive in the post industrial wasteland known as Hackney Wick to document this 'Isle of Wonder' as it falls under the shadow of the Olympic behemoth. You can watch the trailer here

The screening will take place at: 
See Studio Exhibition Space 
13 Prince Edward Rd 
E9 5LX