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As part of Gasworks' families programme Even Better Together, artist Janetka Platun ran three consecutive Saturday art workshops for families based in Ashmole Estate. On each day, families living on or nearby the estate attended the workshops and explored different ways of mapping and recording their relationship to the estate.

Saturday 8 November 2008
10.30am - 12.30pm or 2pm - 4pm

The first session explored the use of language and composition to communicate varied, personal reflections on the neighbourhood. Starting with a game, families were handed a mystery, textured letter shape and with their eyes closed were asked to draw how it felt using watercolours and pens. The shapes and the drawings they inspired, were then revealed to spell Ashmole Estate. Developing the idea of re-arranging letters and words to create altered meanings, families cut out and collaged their own words about the estate. Using brightly coloured paper for the various words, families worked collaboratively on a large sheet of paper which symbolised the estate, and placed their coloured words in a location appropriate to their ideas.

Saturday 15 November 2008
10.30am - 12.30pm or 2pm - 4pm

In this session, families used photography, performance and montage to create snapshots of surreal happenings in the Kennington area, taking inspiration from two pieces of work by the artist Claes Oldenburg. Using images of local landmarks as a backdrop, families used each other as the subject matter to create imagined worlds, adding layers of text to create fictional narratives. Presented in small boxes, the works became windows into a fantastical world based on real locations. Families brought their boxes together by creating a collaborative map, building connections between each window through bridges, paths and rivers.

Saturday 22 November 2008
10.30am - 12.30pm or 2pm - 4pm

Using a combination of verbal and visual methods, the final session responded to the question ‘What sentence would best describe the place you live?’ Together the group discussed their reactions to this question and in turn, used a dictaphone to record their opinions. Thinking about how the phrase could be conveyed physically, adults and children posed for a polaroid photograph while mouthing the words, which they worked into with speech bubbles. Building upon a dialogue that has opened up around these descriptions, families used both images and text to plot their routes to the estate on a large scale map with our location, Ashmole Tenants Hall, as the central destination. Along the way they created signs, built landmarks and put together a visually descriptive route that annotated their journey. The resulting map is included in the design for the Even Better Together Billboard on display between 11 December 2008 and 18 January 2009.