Spring Break! Counter-planning from the park


Wednesday 24 April 2019

With: Ariadna Guiteras, Benhill Road Nature Garden, Carole Wright, Cinenova, D’Eynsford Estate Secret Garden, Eva Rowson, Glengall Wharf Garden, Lizzie Borden: ‘Born in Flames’, Louise Shelley, Seed Co-operative

A two-part afternoon and evening event organised around a walk, a supper, planting, conversation and film as actions, tools and propositions for how to work, organise, care and host within a space such as The Bower. The event asks how to draw on networks of solidarity and community to share knowledge and form new strategies. 

‘The Bower: Spring break! counter-planning from the park’ takes its title from the book ‘Counter-Planning from the Kitchen: Wages for Housework’ by Nicole Cox and Silvia Federici (published 1975), written as a call to collectively organise for policy change to recognise housework as work. Those invited to contribute to this event work from and across different positions of community gardening, feminist organising, cooking and making; each invited part becomes a proposal for The Bower to take forward into new habits for Spring/Summer 2019 and onwards.

Part I

2.00 – 5.00pm

A walk between collectively-run green spaces: Benhill Road Nature Garden, D’Eynsford Estate Secret Garden and Glengall Wharf Garden – all local to Brunswick Park, led by Carole Wright followed by group planting.

Limited Space, free.

Part II

6.30 – 9.00pm

A shared dinner at The Bower, herbal infusions with artist Ariadna Guiteras. and screening of the 1983 film ‘Born in Flames’ from the Cinenova archive. 

Limited Space, £5 suggested contribution. 

The event is organised by Carole Wright, Eva Rowson and Louise Shelley. They have worked together in different ways since 2016, including co-developing with others a communal medicinal garden inside the Penfold Community Hub (near Edgware Road, London) as part of The Showroom’s Communal Knowledge programme. Their collaborations share research into feminist and cooperative structures, and eco-systems of gardening, bee-keeping and fermenting as practices through which to think more widely about care and long-term cultivation.

Accessibility: The walk will take approx 2 hours, and will be on accessible pathways and pavements. Please wear comfy walking shoes and waterproofs – and let us know if you have any mobility concerns. Unfortunately due to the original design of the former pubic toilet, The Bower is not wheelchair accessible.


Ariadna Guiteras is an artist living and working in Barcelona. In April – June 2019, she will be a resident artist at Gasworks, London. Her practice spans performance, text, drawing and installation. Her recent work has explored the concept of the “porous body”, a medical theory that viewed skin as a porous boundary. The term is expanded in Ariadna’s work to consider bodies that are vulnerably open and always in-relation-to, be it the environment, petroleum, soil, capital flows, data, solar energy or potato starch.

Benhill Road Nature Garden is a designated Local Site Of Importance For Nature Conservation on the Elmington Estate in Camberwell. Conceived as a natural, wild green space its upkeep is carried out by volunteers – currently a very small group of neighbours – known as the Friends.

Carole Wright, Creative Urban Activist and a proud South Londoner and an art school graduate whose career involves community garden creation, beekeeping and leading artist walks and workshops for Tate Modern, Tate Britain, The Showroom, Whitechapel Art Gallery, St Mungo’s, Peabody Trust. 

Cinenova is a volunteer-run charity preserving and distributing the work of feminist film and video makers. Cinenova was founded in 1991 following the merger of two feminist film and video distributors, Circles and Cinema of Women, each formed in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Cinenova currently distributes over 300 titles that include artists’ moving image, experimental film, narrative feature films, documentary and educational videos made from the 1920s to the late 1990s. The thematics in these titles include oppositional histories, post-colonial struggles, representation of gender, race, sexuality, and other questions of difference and importantly the relations and alliances between these different struggles.

Lizzie Borden’s 1983 film ‘Born in Flames’ is a documentary-style fiction film exploring racism, classism, sexism and feminist collective organising in an alternative United States socialist democracy. 

D’Eynsford Estate Secret Garden is a community garden on the D’Eynsford Estate, Camberwell that includes a wildflower area, vegetable patch, greenhouse, and herb garden. Previously a derelict site, it has been nurtured into a shared community garden with the work of residents of the D’Eynsford Estate, neighbours and other members of the local community.

Eva Rowson is an artist, curator and tiny-roof-garden gardener. Her work is organised around questions of how we host each other, collaborate and build organisations – and the work and structures that make all of this possible. She co-ran the living room project space 38b in Peckham 2010-18 and is currently Curator in Residence at Lighthouse (Brighton, UK).

Glengall Wharf Garden is a large community garden in Peckham that has been developing since 2012 as a site for for alternative gardening, ecological design and sustainability. Managed by a group of local volunteers, they use many different sustainable gardening methods. The garden grows a wide range of fruit and vegetables grow, using permaculture techniques, as well as a pond, hot composting, and natural beekeeping.

Louise Shelley is the Cubitt Curatorial Fellow for 2018/19 where she is developing a 15-month public programme working from the structure of Cubitt as an artist-run co-operative. Specifically how the gallery in this context can develop collective ways for working, pedagogy, economies and presentation. Previous to Cubitt she was the Collaborative Projects Curator at The Showroom, London and is also currently a member of the Cinenova Working Group, a non-profit, volunteer run feminist film distributor.

Seed Co-operative began in 2014 to grow, process and sell organic, open-pollinated seed and develop new varieties through organic plant breeding. The Co-operative works with a shared ethos that the future of food has to be rooted in democracy, diversity and health, meaning a diversity of ownership and shared knowledge, genetics and wildlife. 

Generously supported by Arts Council England.