Medium and message: The Building Exploratory

The Building Exploratory is using art to engage communities with the buildings around them.

Hackney-based charity the Building Exploratory exhibited three-dimensional artworks inspired by local children to spread the word about faith buildings in neighbouring Tower Hamlets.

The charity, which helps local people understand how their built environment developed and how they can be part of future changes, wanted to make the message more accessible to the whole community, including students and people with English as a second language.

It arranged for 150 schoolchildren from Tower Hamlets to visit places of worship across the borough and then produce art works in workshops run by local artists. The artists used the children's work to create 'faith chests' - three-dimensional artworks for exhibition.

"Many of the students found it much easier to express their responses to the faith buildings through creative techniques than through traditional written critique," says Nicole Crockett, director of the Building Exploratory.

The works were displayed at the Idea Store in Whitechapel. The venue, which attracts 10,000 visitors a week, was chosen because of its proximity to many of the faith buildings and its free admission. The project will now culminate in a 'community archive' website, which will invite users to contribute their own memories of and thoughts on all 167 religious buildings in Tower Hamlets.

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