Oasis Residency: Flatness
September 2022 – April 2023
Flatness were Oasis residents at Forma HQ and Peveril Gardens during Autumn and Winter 2022/23. The residency invited socially engaged practitioners to develop and deliver a cultural programme that strengthens the bridge between FormaHQ and our local communities. Oasis takes its name from the research and conversations initiated by the lead creatives in the redevelopment of Peveril Gardens and FormaHQ. Flatness responded to a brief for a cultural programme that embraced Kuri’s vision of an oasis – a safe place where creatives and local residents can take part in cultural activities and enjoy the benefits of Peveril Gardens. Read our legacy document here.
Flatness is a long-running ‘site of resistance’ (Dr Sylvia Theuri) inspired by the expanses of the screen and the outdoors.
For Oasis, Flatness (comprising founder, Shama Khanna, in collaboration with Beth Bramich and a network of contributors) curated a short cultural programme to build on Queer Diasporic Futurity, a book project produced in partnership with not/nowhere artist workers’ co-op and published by Social Art Publications in July 2022. Queer Diasporic Futurity (QDF) brought together themes of redistributing power, intersectional resistance and healing. The project found new ways of working, IRL and in print, using publishing as a pause and ongoing process to reflect on relationships, communities, collaboration and interdependence.
14 January 2023, 10-4pm
Early in 2023, Flatness organised a swap shop, inspired by a desire observed in the garden for offering useful items that were no longer needed. Visitors brought clothes, homeware, books, kids’ clothes and toys, plants and seeds, art materials, skills and knowledge to swap or donate. Jack Jeans hosted a knowledge exchange about regenerative gardening and brought seed bombs for visitors to spread around the local area. He also donated a series of handmade insect homes to Peveril Gardens for bees and other invertebrates to nest in. Southwark Notes shared information and materials from all the recent local struggles and gathered responses through informal chats around the question of what do we mean when we say ‘Community’?
This was followed by a screening of ‘El Sentir de las Montañas’ [The Feel of the Mountains, 2022] by filmmaker Tomás Fernandez Vértiz, which presents interactions with three Latin American Londoners and the different situations that they and other Latin American people are experiencing in the UK, including communities local to FormaHQ in New Cross.
(Scroll to the end of the page for documentation)
February Half Term Events
14 & 18 February 2023, 12-3pm
Flatness hosted a series of activities, workshops and tours focused on gardening, making, voicing, reusing and skill sharing.
Winter Wellness Workshop
Ali Yellop guided us to create our own medicinal body balms, which can aid in soothing chesty coughs, as well as achy joints and bones. Loose herbs were also offered for making winter wellness tea bag blends.
Sign-making for the Garden
A drawing and sign-painting activity exploring how we inhabit the garden together, led by design team Design Print Bind. Together we thought about how we can welcome all kinds of life into Peveril Gardens.
Peveril Gardens Tours
Local gardener Richard Court led introductions to Peveril Gardens every hour, sharing knowledge about how to identify plants and the work that goes into maintaining this rooftop oasis. Learn more about the garden and how to get involved.
Outfitting Session Hosted by artists Hannah le Feuvre and Ulijona Odišarija
Outfitting was an invitation to clear out closets and bring old and unwanted clothes and accessories to make new outfits together. This was an afternoon of swapping, donating and styling old and new garments, sharing styling tips and telling each other how good we look in a comfortable and safe environment.
The session included food and music and mending tools were available to sort out any holes and rips on the go.
Creative Writing Workshop with Babylon Migrant Project
26th April, 5–7pm
This creative writing workshop was for migrants who want to try writing about their experiences. Co-hosted by Babylon Migrant Project and facilitated by Erica Masserano, it was open to complete beginners and people who enjoy storytelling.
Steve & Samantha EP Launch
29 April 2023, from 6pm
Flatness and Presse Books hosted a gig by Steve & Samantha to celebrate the launch of their new EP ‘Better is Better’ and the culmination of Flatness’s residency. Ulijona Odišarija (one half of Steve & Samantha alongside James Lowne) is a long-standing contributor to Flatness and co-hosted the Outfitting event in February.
The EP is available to listen on all streaming platforms, including bandcamp.
Alexandra Yellop is a community grower whose long-term vision is to empower communities towards food sovereignty and encourage people to spend time in communion with The Land. Ancestral land practices and reverence is at the centre of her work.
She currently teaches workshops & curates educational programmes for community projects and organisations.
Design Print Bind is the studio partnership between graphic designers Flaminia Rossi and Samantha Whetton. They specialise in the design and production of books and other printed matter, working in a way that is hands-on and practically experimental. Alongside those specialties they make websites and teach letterpress and bookbinding skills. Recently they worked with Flatness on the Queer Diasporic Futurity book and have produced all the design for their Fellowship at Forma.
Ulijona Odišarija is a Lithuanian-Georgian artist based in London. She works with video, photography, objects and words and makes music with her band Steve & Samantha.
Hannah Le Feuvre born in the UK, lives and works in London. She is sometimes an artist, currently interested in textiles, collage, poetry and photography.
As well as working in the performing arts as a multi disciplinary artist in contemporary dance, theatre, voice and live art, Richard Court has evolved his skill set to become a gardener and garden designer with a focus on creating beautiful sustainable and biodiverse environments for people and planet
All welcome to a swap shop and screening on Saturday 14 January, the first event Flatness have planned as part of our residency at FormaHQ.
Do you have items you no longer need? Give what you can, take what you need at the swap shop at FormaHQ from 10am-1pm.
And in the afternoon we’re very pleased to be hosting a screening by Tomás Fernandez Vértiz entitled ‘El Sentir de las Montañas’ [The Feel of the Mountains].
“El Sentir de las Montañas” (The Feel of the Mountains, 2022) by Tomás Fernandez Vértiz is a work made with members of the Latin American community in London.
The film is divided in 3 chapters, through which we meet different people. Trying to understand more about some of the different situations that Latin American people have experienced or are experiencing in London, the film is an exploration of arrival, community and healing.
We hear the story of an arrest, we meet a volleyball playing community in New Cross and take a look at an alternative therapy. While all the stories are different, they are linked together through conversations of time and memory.
Tomás Fernández Vértiz (b. 1994, Mexico City) is a London based artist who works with photography and moving image. Tomás uses the documentary form to explore landscape, community and migration and the circumstances in which they co-exist.
“Through [moving] image, my intention is to immerse the viewer in a sensorial space, in which I invite the audience to question the political reality in which we live.”
FormaHQ (downstairs from Peveril Gardens due to rainy weather)
Saturday 14th January, 10am – 4pm
10am – 1pm
Bring your Clothes (if possible with hangers), Homeware, Books, Kids’ Clothes & Toys, Plants & Seeds, Art materials, Skills and Knowledge to Swap or Donate.
Swap, barter, take away for free. No cash needed!
During the swap shop we will be holding knowledge swaps with Southwark Notes and gardener Jack Jeans.
Southwark Notes invites you to an informal chat around the question of what do we mean when we say ‘Community’?
Working from some of our recent involvement in housing struggles across North Southwark, we can look together at how even though any community is made up of multiple experiences and histories there remains at the core a desire to defend what’s seen as ‘ours’. We can think about how the fight to defend our Council estates, local shopping centres, open and green spaces etc connects deeply to other larger ideas of solidarity, care and a belief in something better for all.
We will bring some materials from all the recent struggles! Bring your own desires. See you there.
Jack Jeans is a teacher at Walworth Garden and volunteers on a variety of community growing initiatives as well as experimenting and developing new regenerative growing methods, closing waste stream loops and building healthy soil.
Jack enjoys building ecosystems and bringing regenerative growing practices into horticulture through learning and exchange. For the swap shop there will be bee homes and pollinating seed bombs to distribute through the garden and local area to provide refuge, food and forage for solitary bees. Visit the gardens to see new homes for nesting mason bees made by Jack Jeans and buy or download his accompanying Bee Zine: Solitary:Solidarity.
Join us for food and Mexican Hot Chocolate at 1pm.
2pm – 4pm
Screening of ‘El Sentir de las Montañas’ [The Feel of the Mountains, 2022] by Tomás Fernandez Vértiz in which we meet three Latin American Londoners and explore the different situations that Latin American people have experienced or are experiencing in the UK.
Film starts at 2pm, followed by a Q&A with the director.
140 Great Dover Street
London, SE1 4GW
Peveril Gardens is on the first floor above FormaHQ, a lift is available but needs to be requested in advance. Please email email@example.com or text/call 07595368744.
A wheelchair-accessible toilet is located on the ground floor. Seating will be available during the Swap Shop and Film Screening. The Film Screening will be captioned.
Presse books & café on the ground floor of FormaHQ will be open until 3pm.
Kids welcome! Bring friends 🙂
Design by Design Print Bind.
Photography by Forma.