The interest in creating contemporary forms of the commons has grown and grown over the last few years in the UK. This comes both from a realisation that we are losing a set of social, cultural and living spaces, which have always been in need of more attention but now their very existence must be justified. Simultaneously we are amazed by a new richness in the ways we can meet outside the normal channels and have vague desires to do more with each other. We wonder what collaboration means in these new places where digital encounters lead to face-to-face experiences. These experiences are not real dates with a road map but informal encounters that require repetition to become strong and meaningful. Temporary places can play a critical role in strengthening neighbourhoods they leave networks behind them with a shared set of cultural experiences.
The Caravanserai was designed as a critical piece of missing infrastructure in the city. It was called the Caravanserai as it was designed to be a network such as the Silk Road, a safe haven with journeymen and communities meeting for sound reasons in a place where skills and trade could be exchanges of experiences and is a vision we need in London.
Read more about the project on its dedicated website here.
Friends of Leather Lane Stars at our first community meeting.
"When it's like this, it's lovely to be here."
Shola, one of the market's Rising Stars, has been a trader at Leather Lane Market for 7 years, selling ladies' bags.
Mario, a Supporting Star, works at the Craft Beer Co. on Leather Lane, serving fine ales and beers to the discerning Leather Lane clientele.
Henry, an Established Star in the area, is one of the oldest traders on the block, having worked at the market for 43 years. He's lived in the area all his life.
Inga and her husband Andrew, Rising Stars at Leather Lane, have been selling hats, gloves, sunglasses and other fashion accessories at the market for 5 years. She started at Roman Road after finishing school.
Richard "Ritchie Rich" has been working in Leather Lane Market for 27 years, a well Established Star at the markets. He notes that the market 20 years ago "used to be like Mecca." Perhaps now it is again?