This months dominant feature has been stairs, not least the nine flights at Borough Hall up to Deckspace but also those linking the street and workspaces we regularly visit.
In the countdown toward our Greenwich exit we have been dragging out larger items down the back stairs which descend to the Borough Hall basement and beyond to the boiler room and beyond to this lofty ventilation void first visited in back in 1999 with Barridale Opera House.
The 7 year lease at OPS rolls over again for a 10th year. During a recent visit to adjust their wireless link for continued broadband access, we viewed this 2nd floor studio space and storeroom at the top of the iron fire exit stairs of the old police station now DIY arts centre. The room is big enough to hold the active SPC projects but in need to some repair and reconstruction, with time short perhaps just a bit too much extra work to take on now.
We have been up and down to the PCL vaults a hundred times this month where much of the SPC library of tech periodicals, cultural ephemera, tech and AV technology has been stored for now.
The weekly Wednesday workshops there, have been progressing well with many local people as well as our seasoned regulars now attending the computer clinic. we are all enjoying the dramatic riverside landscape and Library of resources available here.
Just around the corner on first floor of Daubeny Tower is the community art space, Coopepys, six rooms for painting, crafts, photography, fabric and media production. SPC has a long term relationship with this undervalued community resource that has been open and active for over 30 years. Today it opens each day as painting studio and host weekly Monday and Wednesday evening painting club. A huge collection of paintings by the Pepys community is currently being digitised for a retrospective publication in support of the space.
A decapitation of community spaces is underway, not least in the poorest reaches of the borough where shared cultural resources are most limited. Lewisham Homes have been increasingly pressuring the Coopepys coordinators for it’s return for use as living space. This will be vigorously resisted unless a suitable ‘like for like’ alternative can be made available.
Such a space exists on the Pepys Estate, on the first floor of Aragon Tower, facilitated with a section 106 a tthe time of refurbishment but which remained unused despite many attempts to activate it since the tower was sold off for development in 2003. A classic application for its change of use to domestic due to community innactivity has now been lodged at planning, so perhaps this option, will be also be lost?
The TAA (temporary autonomous artists) exhibition and festival was moved at last minute to a riverside office block adjacent to Anchor and Hope pub just upstream from the Thames Barrier. By the time we got there to visit on Sunday, it was the quiet hangover of the night before! Each floor of the abandoned building had been refactored in some way or freshly painted with the urban icons of anti establishment and political jibe. On the top floor, successful contestants of ‘The Royal Shit’ were exhibited in a pasteup fresco. To top it all, a trip to the roof and spectacular panorama, what a beautiful day!