The Community Barn

Photo of a diagram of a barn, taken during The Community Barn Co-Design event at No.34, April 2018. Photo by Cassandra Gibbs.

In summer 2019, artist Esther Collins brought collaborative design to Swale and Milton Creek Country Park.

Many community groups took part in Joinery, part of our plan to create a Community Barn for Sittingbourne.

Artist Esther Collins ran workshops in Sittingbourne and on Sheppey that played with space and explored designing and making.

The project was designed to spark ideas for a new community building in Milton Creek Country Park and to find new ways of working together.

Our longer-term plan is for the project to lead to a permanent ‘barn’ in Milton Creek Country Park, owned and run by local residents.

Photo of Co-Design event at No.34 in April 2018. Artist Kieren Reed is talking to residents of Sittingbourne in an informal event.
Co-Designing The Sittingbourne Barn event, April 2018. Artist Kieren Reed (left). Photo: Cassandra Gibbs

How to get involved

Are you interested in learning how to design and make things?
Would you like to work in a team, learning new skills and sharing ideas?
Want to be part of a community project with a long-term legacy for Sittingbourne?

We’re looking for people to get involved in hands-on, creative workshops to test out ways of building both physical structures and community spirit together.

We’d love you to share your knowledge of the local area with us, and we’ll keep you informed of further community activities we’re planning for 2020.

Image of The Communty Barn mailing list sign-up website

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About Joinery

Joinery has been devised through conversation and collaborative design activities with Sittingbourne residents. The project explores grassroots methods of designing and making new buildings, with the longer-term aim of creating a permanent ‘barn’ in Milton Creek Country Park to be owned and run by local residents.

Artist Esther Collins will draw on ideas from socially engaged practice and ‘barn raisings’.

A barn raising is a traditional way for people to come together to make a wooden structure that wouldn’t be possible for one family to build. Neighbours work together to cut and join timbers, before lifting the frame into position using ropes and poles.

This joint effort allows a building to be constructed quickly, on a scale that is only possible with teamwork.

This communal activity creates good connections between members of the community who may not normally meet in day-to-day life.

The ideas behind the Community Barn have come through conversation and collaborative design activities with local residents with Ideas Test at No.34 on Sittingbourne High Street, at Milton Creek Country Park’s Art in the Park 2018 event and Joinery workshops in Swale during 2019.

Artists: Esther Collins and Kieren Reed.
Co-producers: Ideas Test and Whitstable Biennale/Cement Fields.

This project is also supported through a Swale Brough Council Grant from Sue Gent.


Logos of organisations involved with The Community Barn project