Professor Jane Rendell
BA (Hons), Dip Arch, MSc, PhD is Director of Architectural Research at the Bartlett, UCL summing up at Not yet.... Art and Archaeology in the Context of Urban Renewal, Arnolfini April 2007, organised by Situations
In Lottie’s work I liked the word ‘bravery’, I think this is brave work because I would be very nervous to attempt any of the sort of moves that we saw at the end, as she described, ‘eloquent moves’, just amazing stuff. But it is also possible to think in her work of the body as a drawing tool, as a way of recording space but also intervening and critiquing space, as a critical tool. I thought this was really refreshing and really exciting in the way that she is working. Very gentle in a way but also potentially really, really challenging.
BA, PHD lecturer and researcher in sociology at Goldsmiths
After some group discussion, the young people took us out on to the estate to teach us some ways to be playful and joyful, such as climbing on roofs, squeezing through railings, jumping over fences, jumping over bollards, balancing. They also hosted a tea party in their den under a tree. . As my colleague Aida reflected afterwards, this was quite an unusual way of presenting a project. During the walk we were invited to explore the city physically, bodily and performatively. We were encouraged to behave, as adults are not supposed to. Indeed, our realising how awkward we felt was important part of the pedagogy of the conference. Conversations with the police revealed that they had enjoyed the training but I was also interested in hearing how, through taking part, they had got know some of the young people who lived on the estate people lived on the estate and how they were much less likely to think of them as causing trouble as they realised that they were just legitimately using their own local space.
2008 author of No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society, formerly director of Play England
“Jacobs’ paradigmatic ‘place of socialization’ is the busy, lively sidewalk of a downtown city street – as poetically described in ‘the ballet of Hudson Street’ a much-anthologized lyrical evocation of her own neighbourhood in Lower Manhattan. By her standards the secluded, largely unpopulated spaces within Sceaux Gardens would seem desperately unstimulating. Yet by comparison with what is on offer to many of London’s children, the young residents of Sceaux Gardens are well provided for. Most children today, if they play at all, play indoors or in sterile, unchallenging playgrounds, and their playmates are highly age-segregated. Contact between children and unfamiliar adults is in decline, and is actively discouraged.
Sceaux Gardens is by any measure a deprived part of the capital, so I do not have any illusions about the difficulties faced by children growing up on the estate. And yet, what we saw and shared on that cold day reaffirmed my view of the transformative, even redemptive power of play. For me, the value of Lottie Child’s street training is that is reminds us of the human appetite for playful engagement with what is around us, no matter how depleted the environment may appear.”
Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Crime and Conflict Research Centre, Middlesex University, UK. Quote from his article Disparity, Diversity and the Criminalisation of Indolence, published Taylor Francis 2009
“Play-fighting, sliding down handrails or running up down escalators are among other acts epitomising less leisure, which is ‘part of the cycle of productive behaviour’, than pure ‘glorious waste’. Street Training provides manuals containing a wide variety of advice on how to be safe and joyful on the streets. Polemically, it responds to the notion that unless young people are engaged in structured activities or acting as mini consumers, they may cause trouble.
Academic papers on ‘social disorder in the city’ are not as creative as such projects, but allow us to rethink about fear, threat, isolation, inequality and crime, all categories intertwined in conventional, realistic or otherwise, appreciations of the urban environment.”
convenor of Nanopolitics research group Queen Mary/Goldsmiths
What I really like a lot about Lottie’s facilitation is the way it flows very easily, without her guiding it very much-
On the one hand it's about breaking with our routine ways of inhabiting the city (putting the going-down-the-street face on, appearing busy, closed body and face, rushing, looking to the ground...) - so to experiment with new (or actually old, known from childhood) ways of moving and being in the streets, to just linger there and see what we can do, creatively –
On the other hand it still all flows in continuity with the everyday, I really liked that the basis of the experiment is not some attempt at performativity (I found that at least;) or virtuous moving, of breaking with routine at any price. I really liked the fact that half the time we were just walking or standing, and all took our time to get into the various different possibilities for exploring the space and our bodies. I think this becomes effective in changing social norms (if that's what we mean by performative) in that it actually has continuity with our everyday, the constitution of our bodies, our desires, the architecture around us. In that it inspires rather than impresses upon people. We take care not to forcefully intervene in the space of others: rather we create a new space and offer it to others to contemplate or enter...
director of Pailais Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich
“I think Street Training is perfect for “team building” and “opening your mind” experiences. It makes you dare things and take care and trust in other participants at the same time and has effects on different parts of your life”
actor and participant in Street Training workshops and co producer of session for Ars Electronica
“About the street-training in Linz I want to say that it was a very important experience for me. I thought, I’m walking through my city with open eyes, but to DO things in open space that can enchant the surrounding: wow! I wish all the best and say THANK YOU to Lottie who is a very special woman.”
Child’s work addresses issues around the criminalisation of children, power and ownership, and the use of public space. Street Training is a provisional set of actions and suggestions which have been developed by Child and her collaborators over the past decade. Made up of often minute gestures: smelling wildflowers, climbing walls, floating leaves in puddles and smiling at strangers, street training is designed to facilitate creative and empowering interactions with the urban built environment. It combines situationist tactics such as the dèrive with elements taken from parkour, capoeira, martial arts and urban planning. It treads the boundary between legality and illegality to explore creative uses of public space, foregrounding the body as the site of political meaning and potential social change.