City Mill Skate
City Mill Skate is a research project that uses a shared design process to build a proposal for permanent skateable objects on the UCL East campus.
Via a programme of events, skate lessons and making workshops, it brings together a diverse community of skateboarders who want to democratise the spaces between buildings, and bring fresh perspectives to the sport itself.
Connect with the project on Instagram for the latest news and ways to get involved with this exciting project.
Research skateboarding, the public space and urban design
Skateboarding is undeniably part of mainstream culture appearing for the first time this year an olympic sport, yet it is seldom thought of as valuable tool in the design of urban spaces for social change.
City Mill Skate challenges this, arguing that co-designed architectural elements built into the fabric of the campus almost like a sculpture trail, will help make these spaces more enjoyable and welcoming for everyone, whether from UCL or beyond.
Interlinked architectural punctuations
Skateable elements or 'skate dots' positioned around the campus will offer the creative freedom that skateboarders experience when street skating, the objects open to their interpretations.
Co-designing for inclusion
By running design workshops and DIY build events with local youth groups, City Mill Skate is democratising the space, and making local skateboarders key stakeholders in an emerging field of research with a global potential.
Creating diverse spaces
These objects will open up the skateable area of the campus in ways that an enclosed skatepark couldn't - and in doing so create multiple opportunities for social interactions, encouraging diverse groups to meet.
Meet the project leads
Esther and Sam are working with UCL Culture, the Bartlett School of Architecture, Urban Lab and the east London skateboarding community.
Dr Esther Sayers
Dr Esther Sayers is Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths College, London, Head of MA Art and Learning and part of the Centre for Arts and Learning. Her research into creative learning in the cultural context of the skatepark explores the immersive and reciprocal learning that motivates people to push limits and build resilience. Finding the balance between exhilaration, concentration, and reward helps skaters navigate risk, failure and the sub conscious.
Esther skates regularly in East London. The experience of learning to skate alongside her children has been a significant influence on her use of embodied research methodologies.
Sam Griffin is an artist, writer and researcher based in London and has exhibited across the UK and internationally. Sam has also participated in numerous skate-related projects, including contributions to publications, lecture programmes and designs for skateable architecture.