Reinventing the Lodge

Shuffle Festival has been staging cultural events at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park for three years. It's crowd-funding campaign recently raised £58,000 to renovate the existing cemetery Lodge building into a unique cultural facility, seeking to create a model that people can use again. As well as a functioning business run by and training local people, the project will be maintained by volunteer input by working with Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. This sustains and channels long-term local engagement from a pool of 3000 active volunteers.

The Lodge remains under local authority ownership and is leased to the community rent-free, protecting it from attempts at external capitalization. The partnership with Shuffle – in particular, the 331 donors to its recent crowd-funding campaign – gives the project a voice and a constituency that will speak out protect it from any such attempt at appropriation.

Social processes that already flow from the project are a mixture of formal and informal, structured and spontaneous. It sees individuals and groups brought together with schools, support groups and institutions such as universities. Reinventing the Lodge is about creating a place to meet, a place to be and opportunities for things to do. To give people permission to inhabit this undervalued environment in new ways is to cultivate local pride, identity and sense of belonging – the feeling of being at home.

Kate MacTiernan
Architecture graduate and urbanist with a passion for space, shaping the urban environment and connecting people in meaningful ways, who founded Shuffle Festival in 2013.

Ken Greenway
Conservationist who has managed the cemetery park for thirteen years and through the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park co-ordinates the efforts of the park’s 3000 volunteers.

Lizzy Daish
Geographer deeply committed to social justice and public ownership of space, Lizzy co-founded Shuffle after becoming involved with local housing organisation East London Community Land Trust.

Jessica Sutton
Theatre-trained designer & maker with a background in architecture and textiles responsible for all web, graphic and structure design for Shuffle Festival.

India Hamilton
Cordon bleu-trained chef who-who has programmed the food-related events for Shuffle Festival since 2013.

Grace Boyle
A chemist by training who directs the science programme of workshops, events, activities and lectures.

Maisie Rowe
Landscape architect and writer having worked in Hackney for regeneration charity Groundwork for four years and who for fifteen years was an associate of Heatherwick Studio.