Allford Hall Monaghan Morris has been supporting the Accumulate Art School for the Homeless since xxxx. In May of 2022 it was announced as our Charity of the year 2022. Supporting the Utopia project was an important part of this partnership.

AHMM volunteers have shared their skills including architecture, modelmaking, sustainability, and art and design with Accumulate participants, supporting their individual interests and ways of working, and helping them create their own vibrant imaginary, utopian places. AHMM has also undertaken the exhibition design and production, responding to participants’ work.

This exhibition is a celebration of the extraordinary creative achievements of a group of people, living in hostels and temporary accommodation, who came together and participated in the ‘Utopia - a new world for everyone’ creative workshops organised by Accumulate and St John’s Waterloo with Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

From April to June 2022, modelmakers, architects and other specialists from AHMM led weekly creative workshops with Accumulate participants at St John’s community hall in Waterloo. Here, they were given the opportunity to voice and visualise their ideas of utopia through modelmaking, collage, drawing, discussion, mapping exercises and creative writing.

Many participants identified as important the sense of freedom and inner peace that the natural world gave them, with some designing environments using sustainable energy. Through creative exercises, participants’ individual stories emerged: ‘Utopia’ became a place to heal health problems, change the refugee experience and ensure the wellbeing of everyone in society.

A central approach of the Utopia project was to ‘flip the hierarchy’ around who made decisions. The project’s professional tutors and industry practitioners supported and enabled a group of people, often denied the opportunity to make choices about their environment to imagine, design and create their own utopia.

In addition to architecture, the group participated in weaving and music workshops, expanding the ways they understood and interpreted utopia and developing their creative knowledge and skills.

Each participant has selected their own work, including creative writing, to exhibit.

Accumulate, the art school for the homeless