Release the Wolves! Some themes to consider

This summer I will be co-ordinating a project with young people in the South London area of Elephant and Castle that involves the installation of a temporary go-kart track and a series of workshops to build soapbox style go-karts for the above mentioned track.

There is more information on the project at

And we have also launched a crowdfunding profile on wefund.

I would like to set out a few of the wider themes I want to develop through this project. I will outline some of the starting points of those themes, but from there onwards my aim is their exploration, and I hope to hear other edgeryders’ experiences and comments.

  • #politicalcontext Elephant and Castle is going through massive structural change. The site identified for the Grand Prix Expo is an enormous housing estate, from which nearly all its previous residents have been evicted. It awaits redevelopment by private developers lendlease. The programme has received criticism because if its ineffective consultation process, and because of the diminishing amount of ‘affordable’ housing the new development will offer.
  • I hope the project will build space for the critical discussion of some of these themes as people from different groups/ backgrounds/ perspective come into contact with one-another. (part of a process of stimulating new allegiances and future activity)
  • I want to identify ways to work creatively as an artist and with communities that cuts through the advancing process of gentrification, rather than assist it. This I recognise is a reoccurring debate (the arts used willingly or unwillingly as the carrot for gentrification) and I hope people may have some comments to offer here.
  • #young people often get a bad ride. Treated way more to stop and searches than to awards or any sort of positive recognition. Although two artists are involved in this project, the creativity and skills of the young people will inform the whole thing throughout and the role of the artists will be to support/ feed that creativity. The purpose of the Grand Prix Expo will then be to recognise and celebrate young people (but not in such a mad corny/ cringy way like I just made it sound… hopefully the opposite)
  • #space I am keen to take the ideas out of their conventional vessels: artworks out the gallery, and youth work out the youth centre. Inevitably ideas and practices become fused to the environments they inhabit: institutions institutionalize. This is sometimes difficult to recognise until you start playing outside the playground and a whole world of possibilities opens up.
  • #relationship to the built environment No doubt part of a much broader project, is the question of our relationship to the built environment. The heygate estate, because of its (officially titled) ‘interim’ status presents us with a slightly altered experience of this relationship: the rules and grids as to how we are to use the space are largely absent. Some might find this scary, for others liberating, and some people perhaps both. I'm not suggesting to use the heygate like some kind of weird unique zoo, but rather try and reflect this experience outwards onto the more surveilled and ordered sphere. There are lots of directions this could take, i am interested to hear people's thoughts..

Impressive name

Best name I’ve heard for a project in years, congratulations. From what I remember about Elephant and Castle, the area has been pushed down the drain for a long time. Good initiative, let’s see if it becomes the seed for a proper community feeling there.

Welcome and let’s go!

Welcome, Vita, this sounds like a great project with many interesting unknown quantities. The attitude reminds me of a project in a completely different context. I mention it here because I would very much like to see you guys do some sort of Euro project together.

The Salento SkatePark is located in Mesagne, a small town in Italy’s extreme south. It is an emergent area, with a lot of problems but lots of opportunities too. These people managed to get it together in extremely difficult circumstances. The driving forces are a few local kids who are skateboard enthusiasts and a civil servant:

If you are thinking of applying for Euro funding and you need international partners I recommend them, they are hardworking and dedicated. In that case let me know and I will be happy to do an introduction.


Yeah the salento guys look great! I’ll see how it goes this summer with the project, and what possibilities it throws up for future developments. The nature of it is definately inherently collaborative… right now i’m figuring out how to make it happen on 1/4 of the money i initially wanted for it without exploiting all my friends/ other volunteers (probably a subject for the making a living section). But basically it is going to be like a ‘pilot’ year - we do workshops at local youthcentres to build up/ customize a vehicle, so its like we bring a workshop to their summer holidays programme, and then on the day of the big event - at the end of the holidays - we host the big ‘grand prix expo’ (at the ‘interim’ estate!) and all the youth centres come represent… So (this year) not gonna spend weeks installing rollercoaster style structure (!!!), jus focus more on the peeeeple.

It’s funny how failing repeatedly at getting funding (just now relying on the cash that an artist raised from doing a print run) has actually succeeded in focusing the project towards what i know feel is a better place. i initially wrote an arts council application for this, it strikes me that sometimes big lumps of outside funding  and the holistic, clearly defined proposals you have to write to get the cash, often eliminate the space for collaborations and negotiations between local groups that can make them feel like they have a stake in the project.