East Quay: Watchet with Piers Taylor

East Quay: Watchet with Piers Taylor

What happens when local people have time & space to imagine collectively?

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Every town should have a temple of imagination

Georgie Grant, Onion Collective (The Guardian)

What happens when local people have time & space to imagine collectively?

East Quay in the Somerset coastal town of Watchet, opened in September 2021. A new cultural venue it is home to two contemporary art galleries, 11 artist studios, a paper mill, a geology workshop, print studio, restaurant, education space & 5 extraordinary accommodation pods, all on the quayside in Watchet on Somerset’s coast.

Designed by Invisible Studio & Ellis Williams Architects, East Quay was conceived of & is now run by Onion Collective CIC, a Watchet grown, female-led, not-for-profit social enterprise. East Quay illustrates that when local people have the space & time to imagine collectively, the results can be fantastically creative, welcoming, ambitious & fun. It can point the way to a different future.

ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS:

Piers Taylor is an architect & the founder of Invisible Studio, a multi award winning practice that works internationally. He studied in Sydney, Australia & at London’s Architectural Association. He holds a PhD in architecture from the University of Reading, & was awarded an anniversary PhD scholarship. Taylor is specifically interested in rethinking practice & in ‘contingent making’ as an opportunity for empowerment, rather than merely as a mechanism to project fully formed ideas onto inert. He started Studio in the Woods in 2005, which is a highly influential summer school where ideas are tested at 1:1. He was a design fellow at the University of Cambridge & the inaugural Studio Master on the Architectural Association’s Design & Make Masters Programme. Invisible Studio’s work has been published widely & internationally, & Taylor has lectured widely about the work of the practice. He lives between an olive grove in Greece  & the UK in a self built house in a 100 acre Woodland that he manages alongside practice. His studio was built by unskilled ‘amateurs’ from waste thinnings from the woodland. The practice has no formal employees & operates on a collaborate-only basis.

Jess Prendergrast is a Founding Director of social enterprise Onion Collective. Jess’ background is in social, economic & policy research. Previously, she was Research Director at an independent think tank in Westminster & Economics Editor for a highly regarded economics consultancy, having previously worked in Government research & academia. She holds a Masters from the University of London & a BA from the University of Oxford. Jess has established a number of social & community enterprises. As well as being one of the founders of Onion Collective, she was one of the team behind the £3.2 million youth centre & indoor skate park, Minehead EYE, for which she remains Director, & established Contains Art, an inventive cultural charity, of which she remains Chair.

Programmed in partnership with Arnolfini