Join us for the public programme of our two week Summer School, Prototyping the Civic City. Through a series of field-trips, workshops, talks and events we will be exploring how artist, design and activist practices can empower citizens to remake, rethink and re-imagine the city.

We will be focusing on how ‘civic action’ can allow participants to develop new skills, strategies and practices to directly affect changes in the city. Core to this is the idea of prototyping open source designs and rethinking organisational structures.

We are inviting you to explore and share prototypes for the Civic City alongside our students. We’ll be hands on and building prototypes in support of local actions for environmental change. Transforming the Tate Exchange into a public classroom, bringing together activists and practitioners engaged in civic movements. In this space we’re hosting multiple voices through a number of public talks, discussions and workshops, itself prototyping a collective education platform for civic action. Finally we’ll be hosting a closing ‘Exhibition of Action’ at R-Urban Poplar where we try and put all our learning back into place



Saturday 14 July, Kings Cross, 11:00-18:00
Join us on the opening Saturday for a walking field trip around Kings Cross London, exploring some of the existing initiatives which are prototyping and re-imaging the city. We will be looking at green prototypes at Calthorpe Project, Arts Catalyst and the King’s Cross Skip Garden as well as a organisational prototyping from the Camley Street CLT and Forum. The fieldtrip begins at 11.00 at Calthorpe (WC1X 8LH), RSVP is essential please confirm via email at

Wednesday 18 July & Thursday 19 July
Tate Exchange, 12:00-18:00
Join us in building, making, testing new prototypes for civic action. We’ll be focussing on three different kinds of green infrastructure which address air quality, food waste and off-grid cooking. Come lend a hand or your knowledge.

Friday 20 July, Tate Exchange, 12:00-18:00
The School of Civic Action in collaboration with Commons Rising are inviting commons initiatives and commoners to come together to initiate a UK wide Commons Assembly. This is an open platform to meet others, exchange knowledge and to see if there is an appetite for an ongoing UK Commons Assembly.
The aim of the day is to put on an exhibition showing the wealth of Commons projects happening in the UK. There will be discussions as well as workshops to inform the public about the commons. It is also an opportunity to vision how the commons might work beyond the individual projects and to set up practical outcomes going forwards.


Saturday 21 July, Tate Exchange, 12:00-20:00
This one-day symposium curated by Sol Perez-Martinez of the Spatial Engagement Network, will explore ways to engage critically with our urban environment. Throughout three sessions participants will discuss spaces and methods proposed to foster meaningful relations between people and the places where they live.
Ideas for Civic Action, will bring together practitioners, researchers and community groups who have worked connecting people with their surroundings in order to share practices and discuss further action. The event will showcase initiatives where architects have been aware of the social and political implications of their work, aiming to encourage a more conscious way of practice which serves community interests.
Following the symposium, a final shared event in collaboration with Just Space, public works and Umeå School of Architecture, will discuss current projects where communities across London are taking action over their local areas and will draw conclusions from the day’s parallel events.

Sunday 22 July, Tate Exchange, 13:00-15:00
Pedagogies of the temporary. - Archives, Schools and the Temporary City. Join us for an afternoon session drawing a line of thought between archival practices and learning formats inspired by temporary use projects.Four speakers will present ideas, archives or projects opening up a view on the alternative learning spaces offered by temporary use projects and how this learning can be captured, passed on and mobilised in other forums.Taking as a point of departure the School of Civic Actions collaboration with Roskilde Festival, Northern Europe’s largest annual music festival and for one week every year, Denmark’s fourth largest city.

Wednesday 25 July, R-Urban Poplar, 17:00-20:00
Bringing the summer school to a close on site at R-Urban Poplar, we’ll be exhibiting all the prototypes built and tested over the previous week. Join our students in celebrating the schools hard work over a collective meal and reflective discussion.
The exhibition starts at 17.00 at R-Urban Poplar (E14 0SP)
RSVP is essential please confirm via email at:


The School of Civic Action is a pedagogical experiment that tests situated modes of learning in support of civic city making, while challenging traditional urban teaching and disciplinary restriction. The School maneuvers across disciplines that complement one another, implementing new ways of knowing and acting. Teaching and learning at the school is symbiotic; by situating its curriculum within live projects, it can mutually provide a support structure back to the local communities, the sites they occupy and for the individuals enrolled.

This outing of the School of Civic Action is with the support of; public works, Umeå School of Architecture, Tate Exchange, Roskilde Festival, R-Urban Poplar, Spatial Engagement Network and Just Space.



The School of Civic Action is hosting a two week summer school in London, at Tate Exchange and R-Urban Poplar. Under the theme of ‘Prototyping the Civic City’ we’ll explore how artist, design and activist practices can empower citizens to remake the city.

The schools curriculum is centred around ideas of ‘civic action’ allowing participants to develop new skills, strategies and practices to directly affect changes in the city. Core to this is the idea of prototyping open source designs and rethinking organisational structures.

The summer school draws on two test sites; firstly at R-Urban Poplar in East London where we will build prototypes in support of local actions for environmental change such as air quality, food waste and sustainable energy production.

In parallel we will transform the space at Tate exchange on the 5th floor of Tate Modern into a public classroom which brings together activists and practitioners engaged in civic movements (UK Commoners Network, Just Space, Spatial Engagement Network, Umeå School of Architecture). The summer school itself prototyping a collective education platform for civic action, through the building of new networks which share situated and expert knowledge with the public.


We are offering 10 free places for people to join us starting on the 13 July and concluding on the 25 July 2018. The summer school will take place in it’s entirety in London, places on the school are for free but food and accomodation is to be organised by school participants.

The invitation is open to all disciplines and backgrounds, professional or amateur we strongly encourage members from voluntary groups across London to apply. The Summer School is free of charge. In return we expect participants to be committed to the full programme and enthusiastic learners.

Teaching on the course will be made up of a mixture of hands on building and making, alongside discursive seminars, workshops and events. Time will be split evenly between our site R-Urban Poplar (E14 0SP) and the Tate Exchange (SE1 9TG).


To apply please send no more than a 500-word proposal to public works laying out your specific interest in joining the Summer School and if appropriate relevant samples of previous work (no more than five A4 pages), along with a short CV with key information about yourself.

Please send your application to

Deadline for application is 27 June 2018

Applicants will be notified on 29 June 2018


School of Civic Action is a pedagogical experiment that tests situated modes of learning in support of civic city making, while challenging traditional urban teaching and disciplinary restriction. The School of Civic Action manoeuvres across disciplines that complement one another, implementing new ways of knowing and acting. Teaching and learning at the school is symbiotic; by situating its curriculum within live projects, it can mutually provide a support structure back to the local communities, the sites they occupy and for the individuals enrolled.

Umeå School of Architecture is part of Umeå University and was established in September 2009 and is a laboratory for experimental architecture where both education and research are conducted. Here future architects are being trained in a unique environment, based on an integrated approach of the artistic, technical and academic fields. It is part of the newly built Umeå Arts Campus together with Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå Institute of Design, HUMlab-X (digital humanities), Bildmuseet (a contemporary art museum), Sliperiet and a library with literature within the fields of art, design and architecture. Umeå School of Architecture distinguishes itself through the integration of scientific, artistic and professional methods and means of study in an international profile. The intermingling of technology, sustainability and art at the Arts Campus encourages development. The education aims to point clearly towards sustainable architecture and integrated design.

R-Urban Poplar is a community facility to support local groups and promote the ethos of re-use and environmental friendly approaches to city living. It offers drop in sessions and expert lead workshops around urban-agriculture, food, wellbeing, local energy production and making.

Tate Exchange is an experiment. A space for everyone to collaborate, test ideas and discover new perspectives on life, through art. Whether you are an observer, commentator, researcher, creator, hacker, tweeter or just curious, join artists and organisations to explore the issues of our time. Drop in for a talk, join the conversation, enjoy a chance encounter and learn something new.

Roskilde Festival is one of the largest music festivals in Europe. Every year over 130,000 people come together to create Scandinavia’s largest temporary city - more than 30,000 of them are volunteers. The festival is run by the Roskilde Charity Society, a non-profit organisation for development and support of youth culture and humanities. All proceeds from the festival are shared with charitable organisations and initiatives around the globe. In recent years Roskilde has increasingly been invited by municipalities across Denmark to consult on issues of temporary use helping to spread the learnings and applying them to the way we rethink our cities. For 2016-2018, Roskilde Festival has a thematic focus on equality. In 2018 we nuance the focus on economic equality by exploring the current status of economic influence on society.

Just Space is a network of local and London-wide metropolitan groups campaigning on planning issues – housing, transport, services, environment, rights of minorities but especially of working class and low-income groups. Activists and groups support each other in influencing formal plans and policies at scales ranging from metropolitan, through municipal to local.

public works joins the Actors of Urban Change programme

Last week public works began a new European programme - Actors of Urban Change (AoUC), funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation and MitOst. Public works is part of one of the ten teams from cities across Europe; Chișinău, Hamburg, Kherson, Lecce, London, Oslo, Rijeka, Timisoara, Valencia and Vilnius to be selected on the programme.

The focus of the funding is around cross sector collaboration with teams being made up of cultural, public and private actors - seeking ways to achieve sustainable and participatory urban development. The programme provides a rich learning opportunity with 5 academy meetings over the next 18 months, visiting some of the emerging projects in the ten selected cities.

AoUC kicked off last week in Berlin with the first 4 day academy, visiting inspiring Berlin based projects (ZK/U, SpreePark, Refugio) as well as plenty of time to get to know about the fund, the other teams and our London team members.

Our London team is made up of two new and interesting partners; Javier Rojo is representing the private sector via his waste management company Quantum Waste, Danny Tompkins is representing the ‘public’ sector through his work for Poplar Harca, and Andy Belfield is representing public works on behalf of the cultural sector. Over the next 18 months the team will seek to deliver an Anaerobic Digester and community cafe as part of a future community garden in Poplar, East London. The core aim of the project is about finding ways that local organic food waste can be broken down into bio-gas and fertiliser - reducing the amount of food waste going into landfill whilst providing energy to run a small community kitchen. The long term goal is the alter and change attitudes towards waste, and provide new economies to support local groups using the future garden.


public works is delighted to announce that we've been chosen for the GLA's Specialist Assistance Team, to advise on cultural curation and community development. We'll keep you posted with what we assist on!


Glad to be part of the last number of German architecture magazine BauNetzWOCHE # 489 - Recycling in the collective: building blocks, fractions and countless hands published by Baunetzwoche


public works has been awarded the Curry Stone Design Prize as part of 2017 Social design circle.

Very proud to be amongst Rural studio and Project Row Houses under the category: Can we design community engagement?

The Curry Stone Design Prize is awarded each year to honor innovative projects that use design to address pressing social justice issues. Supported by the Curry Stone Foundation, the Prize highlights and rewards projects that improve daily living conditions of people in communities around the world. Projects may provide shelter and clean water or address humanitarian crises impacted by environmental or climate change. The Prize acknowledges work that is considered emerging in the professional and public consciousness.


A two day symposium at Tate Exchange as part of the Civic University

Thursday 6th of April, 12pm - 6pm, THE CIVIC
Friday 7th of April, 12pm - 6pm, EDUCATION

Tate Exchange - 5th Floor
Switch House - Tate Modern

Under the title of 'The Civic University' public works, a Tate Exchange Associate, is exploring situated modes of education, both as a critique of existing university models, and as a new model where knowledges are produced by and disseminated to the civil society. It takes its point of departure from Jean-Claude Passerine's  publication Les Héritiers published in 1964 denouncing the institutions role in the reproduction of unequal social structures in the content they teach, the modes of access to education and their methods of teaching. This inequality was reinforced by the coalition government raising tuition fees, the demand of a linear path towards the job market and the move away from big government to 'the big society', whilst offering no clear financial strategy of support. This changing landscape demands a closer look at the role the civil society plays in the production of knowledge and the politics of collaborative city making. The Art of Being Civic will bring together activists, artists, academics and architects to discuss pedagogies that enable civil societies actions towards social collective change. It will address how knowledge can play a role in civic activism claiming rights over the city, and act as a critical platform. The first symposium day will explore the role of civil society in relation to contemporary city making, while the second day will focus on pedagogy and education, understanding how and by whom knowledge is produced, who sanctions it and how it is distributed and accumulated.

Tickets for this symposium are free but limited due to capacity.
To book your tickets click here - please note you'll need a ticket for each day.

The Civic University and The Art of being Civic Symposium is supported by UMA School of Architecture in Umeå, Sweden, as part of their ongoing research into alternative models for community engaged city making.



12:00pm Prof Ana Betancour - Head of school of Architecture at Umea University - Sweden
Both practitioner and Academic Prof Betancour was director of the Masters programme of Architecture and Urban Design, Chalmers - Sweden, and the Head of Exhibitions and Public Events at The Swedish Museum of Architecture.
12:15pm public works - The Civic University
public works is an interdisciplinary practice across fields of art, architecture and urbanism. public works will introduce the initiative and research project: The Civic University

12:50pm - 1:10pm  Iain MacKenzie - Resistance within Totalising Institutions.
Iain is co-director of the Centre for Critical Thought at the University of Kent and teaches on the MA in Politics, Art and Resistance.
1:10pm - 1:30pm  Nils Norman - The School of Walls and Space.
Nils is an artist living in London and Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Art and Design, Copenhagen, Denmark, where he leads the School of Walls and Space.
1:30pm - 1:50pm  Franck Magennis - The power and politics of equality in Deptford.
A radical egalitarian and Deptford citizen, Franck is involved with HAGL ('Housing Action Greenwich & Lewisham'), Deptford Cinema, the Deptford People Project, the Deptford Debates, and most recently the London Learning Cooperative.
1:50pm - 2:10pm  Malaika Cunningham - Art as Political Engagement.
Malaika is a theatre practitioner and PhD candidate based at the University of Leeds working on the arts and culture research strand at CUSP.
20mins panel discussion
2:30pm - 2:45pm BREAK

2:45pm - 2:55pm  Adam Kaasa - Designing Politics? Decolonising an urban ideas challenge.
Adam is director of Theatrum Mundi an interdisciplinary scholar who specialises in the politics of the city, foregrounding the role of architecture and design.
2:55pm - 3:15pm  Dr Julia King - Infrastructure as a (civic) property and not a thing.
Julia is an architectural designer, researcher and lecturer based out of LSE Cities.
3:15pm - 3:30pm  Assembly SE8 - Lessons from the community garden. Conflicts, complexities and co-operation. Assembly are a collective based in Deptford who work intimately with local communities and place around art, activism, design and landscape.
15mins panel discussion

3:50pm - 4:10pm  Joost Beunderman - Creating fertile ground for the civic economy.
Joost is a director of the London-based design and strategy practice 00, where he leads on a wide range of research and strategy projects.
4:10pm - 4:30pm  Anthea Masey - Community Resources for Loughborough Junction.
Anthea is a community activist in Loughborough Junction and Chair of the Loughborough Junction Action Group.
4:30pm - 4:50pm  Ana Margarida Fernandes Esteves - Solidarity Economy as a Padagogy of Participatory Democracy. Ana is a researcher, activist, writer and documentary filmmaker. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Brown University, as well as an M.Sc. in European Studies from the London School of Economics.
15mins panel discussion
6pm END


12:00pm  Prof Hans Adolfsson - Vice Chancellor at Umea University - Sweden
Prof Adlofsson had positions such as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Stockholm University as well as Dean for the Chemistry Section at the Faculty of Science. He also headed several organic chemistry faculties and working committees.
12:15pm  Prof Ana Betancour - Head of school of Architecture at Umea University - Sweden
Both practitioner and Academic Prof Betancour was director of the Masters programme of Architecture and Urban Design, Chalmers - Sweden, and the Head of Exhibitions and Public Events at The Swedish Museum of Architecture.
12:30  public works - The Civic University
public works is an interdisciplinary practice across fields of art, architecture and urbanism. public works will introduce the initiative and research project: The Civic University

12:50pm - 1:10pm  Robert Mull - The Free World - Investigations in education , The Free Unit and the Global Practice Programme. Prof Robert Mull is currently developing the Global Practice Programme with international educational, NGO and institutional partners including the Civic University.
1:10pm - 1:30pm Lesley Lokko - In It Together
Leslie is associate Professor and Head of the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
15mins panel discussion

1:50pm - 2:10pm  AAA Paris - Commons based civic learning.
Constantin Petcou is an architect whose work stresses the intersection between architecture, urbanism and semiotics. Doina Petrescu is Professor of Architecture and Design Activism at the University of Sheffield. Both are co-founders of atelier d'architecture autogérée (aaa).
2:10pm - 2:30pm  Willem Halffman - The University as a Commons.
Willem is senior lecturer in Science & Technology Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
15mins panel discussion
2:50pm -3:10pm BREAK

3:15pm - 3:35pm  Ed Fidoe - Education needs a revolution.
Ed is an education reformer and advisor. He co-founded School 21 and leads the 21 Trust.
3:35pm - 3:55pm  Torange Khonsari - From live project to situated practice.
Torange is co- founder of practice public works and senior lecturer at London Metropolitan University and UMA School of Architecture in Sweden.
20mins panel discussion

4:30pm - 4:50pm Marco Clauson - Neighbourhood Academy.
As the co-initiator of Berlin's urban garden, Prinzessinnengarten at Moritzplatz in Berlin-Kreuzberg, Marco runs various agricultural, environmental and participatory urban projects and programs.
4:50pm - 5:10pm  Maurice Carlin - Islington Mill, Manchester.
Maurice is the recipient of the inaugural Visual Artist Fellowship (2016/17) from The Clore Leadership Programme. He is an artist and director of leading UK independent arts organisation, Islington Mill.
5:10pm - 5:30pm Grant Smith - Home Ed in the City.
Grant is an artist and writer with a broadly ecological practice at SoundCamp and
15mins panel discussion

The Civic University is a pedagogical experiment that tests alternative modes of knowledge transfer at work in civic city making, challenging traditional urban teaching and disciplinary restriction. The Civic University manoeuvres across disciplines that complement one another, implementing new ways of knowing and acting. Teaching and learning at the Civic University is symbiotic; by situating its curriculum within live projects in the city, it can mutually provide a support structure back to the local communities, the sites they occupy and for the individuals enrolled.

The Civic University draws together a network of local and international 'civic classrooms' – physical rooms situated within specific areas in a city – where knowledge about hands on city making is produced and disseminated on various sites such as social housing estates, high streets, community gardens, parks and other urban sites currently under threat. There are four 'Civic classrooms' already set up across London with the aim to grow to other sites, forming new partnerships and supporting existing neighbourhood initiatives. The emerging curriculum is driven by the needs and desires of local citizens as its base.

The Civic University builds on a rich tradition of artist lead schools and academies, re-imagining educational models. It will reflect on such traditions, recognising itself as part of a larger movement towards more democratic forms of knowledge production. To map out this history, a growing 'Archive of Alternative Schools and Academies' will be launched during our stay at Tate Exchange.

The Civic University is facilitated by public works in collaboration with the initiatives, R-Urban, The Old Tidemill Gardens, Interact Roman Road, Loughborough Farm and their associated local groups and networks.

It is an ongoing collaboration with Professor Robert Mull and his initiative Global Practice Programme.

In its current form the Civic University draws from the students work produced as part of Architecture and Activism, the Civic University Live Project at the Sheffield School of Architecture (SSOA), as well as the ECODA research project on co-designing resilience.

Facebook: @CivicUniversity
Twitter: @TateExchange

LJ Works

After working in Loughborough Junction for the past three years, public works, in collaboration with Architecture 00, are now working with local community organisations and Lambeth Council to use London Regeneration Fund funding to create 1,300sqm of affordable workspace that both safeguards an inspiring community growing project, The Loughborough Farm, and begins to address local youth unemployment. Within five years Lambeth will carry out a community asset transfer handing LJ Works to a local steering group, which public works is helping to establish, for the next 20 years. LJ Works is an experiment to test strategies for how citizens can reclaim ownership of public land. 

Main Collaborators:
Loughborough Junction Action Group (LJAG), Lambeth Council and Architecture 00

HOME - IN THE SERVICE OF SCIENCE - Performance - 28th - 30th October, Cambridge

public works and 30 Bird bring together architecture, performance and science under the same roof. Home in the Service of Science is inspired by a year of conversations with scientists, cleaners, technicians, receptionists, security guards and the catering staff at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) revealing scientific research and dialogue with LMB's everyday life. The residency centres around a structure made up of a bathroom, the space under the stairs, the parlour, the corridor and the study, sitting in the atrium at the LMB building and a series of dining room situation hostings. In an overwhelming context where we mainly build houses, the question of what the home is and what its role becomes is one to raise. As part of this Years Cambridge festival of ideas, Home in the Service of Science starts to raise such questions while thousands new homes are being built around the MRC building.

public works and 30 Bird worked with the LMB staff to develop an interdisciplinary performance by visualizing and animating the weird and wonderful content produced during the residency such as mobile Ecoli factory in form of a toilet, worm tamer crown, an experiment in piano composition, and a fridge that breeds antibodies. All creating a jarring relationship between scientific experimentation and domestic living.

Friday 28th October 6pm
Saturday 29th October 6pm
Sunday 30th October 2:30pm

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology,
Cambridge Biomedical Campus,
Francis Crick Avenue, Cambridge CB2 0QH

For more details and TICKETS see:
Tickets are required for entry.

The Glut Field & Barn now on show in Dublin as part of 'A Fair Land'

The courgette based economy is up and running!!!

Really pleased to see the doors have fully opened and the courgettes are being harvested at our Glut Barn and Glut Field, our collaboration with Somewhere as part of ‘A Fair Land’, the flagship summer exhibition curated by Grizedale Arts for the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Dublin, Ireland.

Glut Field is a large shallow raised bed directly onto the ground, made from straw bales planted with vigorous plants. Conditioned and planted directly with courgettes and marrows, quickly achieving foliar coverage and producing vegetables for the project's use, in quantity.

The Glut Field was originally envisaged for the Mobile Garden City at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with the intent to create a productive conflict of having too much of one crop forcing everyone involved to become creative and generous with the single produce. Its great to see it come to live as part of A Fair Land at IMMA.

The Glut barn accompanies the field and serves as a cold kitchen to process the produce from the field. A magically floating straw bale building easily accessible at ground level for all to join in producing and making.
Below the text from the programme about the exhibition and a link to a wonderful short film in which Sarah Glennie, Director at IMMA and Adam Sutherland, Director of Grizedale Arts explain the project in detail. Well worth a watch. -> here

Envisaged, enabled and operated by a collective creative vision A Fair Land looks at how self- determination and dignity can be delivered through the inherent human function of creativity, and how its use in the everyday is a means to enable change and empowerment.

This project aims to develop a system for living derived from basic and simple resources used in a creative way. To this end a project village has been created to offer its visitors opportunities to eat, make, think or trade – and through that process to learn, copy, assimilate and teach.

With a focus on creating objects that are useful, desirable and achievable, A Fair Land will present an active and tangible representation of the place of creativity in society, creating a space for families, friends and strangers to gather, get involved, and experience alternative perspectives on living.

A Fair Land has been developed by a wide range of people, with the aim of making a new vision for a functioning future society. Artists and Collaborators include: Eavan Atkin / Samuel Bishop / Kat Black / Tania Bruguera / Rhona Byrne / Marcus Coates / Emily Cropton / CREATE / Coniston village building team / Michelle Darmody / Drew and Middori / Motoko Fujita / Ryan Gander / Liz Gillis / Nicola Goode / Irish Architecture Foundation / Brenda Kearney / Suzanne Lacy / Renzo Martens / Jonathan Meese / Meg Narongchai / Deirdre O’Mahony / Seoidin O’Sullivan / Debbie Paul / Niamh Riordan / Kirsty Roberts / Katie Sanderson / Sarah Staton / Francesca Ulivi / Miranda Vane / Fiona Whelan / public works / NÓS Workshop / NVA / Somewhere / Sweet Water Foundation / Villagers from the Swiss village of Leytron / Tom Watt & Tanad Williams, and many more.

Come visit and get hands on involved! See the full programme here.