Millbank Stories

Shibboleth Shechter

‘Millbank Stories’ is a collaborative project between Millbank Creative Works (MCW), a community social enterprise based in the Millbank neighbourhood and students and staff of BA(Hons) Interior and Spatial Design (ISD), Chelsea College of Arts.

The project aims to progress establishing a creative local ecosystem in Millbank, with Chelsea College of Arts as ‘creative community anchor’ and to further the authors pedagogic inquiry, exploring what skills and tools designers need to enable, and to participate in community building processes and how these competences can be taught and learned within the curriculum.

‘Millbank Stories’ has three phases:

Collecting stories took place during October 2015. Students were asked to use creative approaches to compile local stories, to explore and understand the community- in- Millbank1Manzini, E. (2016) Communities in a Highly Connected World [online] Cultures of Resilience Available at: [Accessed 15 June 2016] and initiate dialogues and encounters with spaces and people, establishing nodes for communing2Ibid.

Sharing stories took place during November 2015 in the form of a ‘Storytelling Procession’, composed of ‘stalls on wheels’ constructed from locally found, sourced, recycled and up-cycled objects. It travelled around Millbank to share collected local stories. Design objects were used to physically connect community nodes, to draw people together, to overcome barriers and create new spaces of possibilities3Ibid , encounters and collaborations.

Plotting stories was launched in January 2016 at the first joint exhibition between staff and students of the college and Millbank residents. Students exhibited the procession structures and video recordings of the event. Millbank Creative Works showcased artisan collages by residents depicting the local area; a project sponsored by the local city council.

The show in the Cookhouse Gallery at Chelsea College of Arts, was co-curated by Sophie Pradere (a Chelsea graduate), MCW and ISD students, had around 400 visitors, including residents, councilors and the wider Chelsea College of Arts community. It made visual the emerging creative local ecosystem and was the first step towards plotting a long-term resilient, local creative eco-system.

References   [ + ]

1. Manzini, E. (2016) Communities in a Highly Connected World [online] Cultures of Resilience Available at: [Accessed 15 June 2016]
2. Ibid
3. Ibid