December 16, 2015

The Best of Us project has been collecting and celebrating good news stories from Newington through a whole range of arts activities that took place across the community in all sorts of locations. Local people have been uncovering stories (both past and present) that reflect the best human characteristics and strengths of people and have been sharing them in fun, creative and artistic ways. As the project continues into the new year here is a summary of some of the highlights so far:

Creative Champions

Best Fest- Volunteers & Creative ChampionsCreative Champions and volunteers at Best Fest


Local people from Newington have been meeting weekly on Thursday evenings to  make work and curate exhibitions and events. In the past year they’ve made badges, bunting and banners, placed messages on paper leaves in the community, created seed bombs, designed t-shirts, yarn bombed The Copse, created posters, collected stories and archived photos at Memory Teas.

The Creative Champions meetings will continue on Thursday evenings in 2016. The group is open and free to anyone who lives in the local area; you don’t have to come every week you just have to be enthusiastic about Newington! So please come along to meetings in the new year to help to commission an artist, create art work and eat jaffa cakes. To keep up to date follow The Best of Us on Facebook.

A Newington Story

photo 5Creative Champions helping with the installation, Turner Contemporary


A Newington Story was a project by artist Leandro Stafford commissioned by Turner Contemporary in partnership with People United and Engage. The artwork created a new narrative for Newington, by encouraging local people to contribute responses based on their own views and experiences of Newington, from thoughts and feelings to everything in between. Leandro invited Creative Champions and Newington Youth Group to visit the installation at Turner Contemporary and to take part in a workshop.

Memory Teas

Best Fest- Memory TeasPeople United’s Frances (right) listens to a story at Memory Teas
Photo: Manu Palomeque


Newington Community Centre hosted two memory teas events, inviting people from Newington and beyond to share their stories and photographs of the area. The South East Archive of Seaside Photography (SEAS) came to the centre to scan photographs and record stories while visitors reminisced over cake.

“I was really warmed by the amazing attitude and positive impact being enthused throughout the community on that day.” Jason Pay SEAS Photography

People were invited to nominate everyday heroes from Newington for one of four plaques that will be installed in the area to celebrate the stories of kindness, generosity and courage in the community.

Tate Modern & Postman’s Park Trip

IMG_7062 - CopyRichard talks to the group about  Tree of 12 Metres
Photo: Becky Vincer


Some of the Big History Ambassadors visited London to ponder artworks at Tate Modern that related to the 6 themes of Best Fest. They met Richard who guided them to experience the courage of Richard Serra’s Trip Hammer, the persistence of Nicholos Hlobo’s Ikhonko and the creativity of Giuseppe Penone’s Tree of 12 Metres.

When asked what their favourite part of the day was Tracey, Christina & Valori agreed “The session with Richards thinking about the meanings behind pieces in the Tate, he cleverly linked it to the projects we have done”

After Tate Modern the group stopped for pizza before heading to Postman’s Park. This part of the trip was about everyday heroes and a way to share those stories through commemorative plaques. After reading stories about the extraordinary brave acts undertaken by people the group began to think about Newington and the small acts of kindness or bravely local residents have shown.

IMG_7072 - CopyBig History Ambassadors  read plaques at Postman’s Park, London
Photo: Becky Vincer


Screen Printing Hoodies at Resort Studios

IMG_7221Young Creative Champion, Phoenix, screen printing at Resort Studios, Clifftonville
Photo: Becky Vincer


During the Creative Champions weekly meetings various t-shirt and hoodie designs were imagined. In preparation for Best Fest a group of Young Creative Champions visited Resort Studios in Clifftonville to screen print the designs onto hoodies with artist and poet Emrys Plant.

BEST-7245Young Creative Champion, Laycee, wearing her hoodie at Best Fest
Photo: Manu Palomeque


Best Fest

BEST-7660Visitors make badges to give to a stranger, Best Fest
Photo: Manu Palomeque


Thanks to the Creative Champions and Newington Big Local volunteers the Best Fest was a huge success! With activities in six locations in Newington each with a theme, creative activity and stamp exchange, there was something for everyone. From sharing stories at Memory Teas to creating stop-motion animations at the Imagination Lab, it was so well-received by the local residents that there is already talk of Best Fest 2016…You can read more about Best Fest 2015 here.

Dame Janet Primary Academy- Young Creative Champions

BEST-7646Visitors looking at art installation; Dame Janet: An Inspiration
Photo: Manu Palomeque


Pupils from Dame Janet Primary Academy have worked with artist-in-residence Nova Marshall and Creative Champion Tracey to research Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills.  The Young Creative Champions at the school have been busy creating bunting, artwork, badges and interviewing relatives exploring themes such as generosity, gratitude and justice as part of the Big History Project.

Visit to the Tower of London

IMG_7508From left to right: Nova, Christina, Yeoman Warder, Cara, Tracey, Sam
Photo: Becky Vincer

A group of Newington’s Big History Ambassadors visited the Tower of London and thought about their own personal treasures as well as the treasures of Newington, after visiting the Crown Jewels. They explored the histories of peoples stories at the Tower of London and the menagerie of animals that was once kept there. Click here to read more about the Tower of London trip.

The Best of Us, Film

You can watch a short teaser of the film being made by Tim Knights about Newington and The Best of Us project. The film gives a small taster of what the creative champions have been up to so far but the story continues…
Link to Vimeo: The Best of Us, work in progress – Film by Tim Knights

For updates on The Best of Us project and Creative Champions you can like the Facebook page or visit The Best of Us project page. 

The Best of Us project has been funded by:

NBL Logo clear Square


lottery funded blue small


KCF _logo High Res - Square






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