Bankside Urban Forest Exhibition, Saturday 23 June

Sarah has four paintings on show this weekend in a pop-up exhibition space on Bankside.

On Saturday 23 June Bankside Community Space, Great Guildford St SE1 (just behind Tate Modern), will become an exhibition space showing current and future built environment projects in Bankside Urban Forest.

Learn more about plans for a network of public spaces throughout the neighbourhood, proposals to green the area, and hear about some of the larger developments underway or planned for Bankside. There will also be information about the main London Festival of Architecture events taking place locally.

The Curious Mr Dickens - Wednesday 27 June 2012

As part of her work with Union Press, Sarah will lead an informal walk at 2.30pm from Flat Iron Square, SE1

When we walk down a city street what does it tell us? How curious are we about what we see, about stories caught like fragments of archaeology to be explored? And what was it like for people who walked these streets before us?

Union Street embodies both the universal process of urban change, and the specific experiences here. But the street we see today is just the present incarnation of a place that has changed over time – look at the recent redesign of Flat Iron Square.

188 years ago one person amongst the thousands who have walked here did tell us what he thought. Charles Dickens lived in Southwark for only a short time at the age of 12, but the experience lived with him, and beyond him, through the pages of his books – David Copperfield, Little Dorritt, The Pickwick Papers.

Union Press

Sarah is working with the art and architecture practice public works on Union Press, their forthcoming commission for Bankside Urban Forest. This will take place for 10 days from 21 June in Flat Iron Square, Union Street, SE1. Sarah will be contributing on Wednesday 27 June, exploring what Charles Dickens can teach us about being curious in the city. Do get in touch for more information.

Transports of delight - dbrief Quarterly issue 12 published

Bankside London Bridge dbrief Quarterly issue 12, written and edited by Placeworks, has been published and is now available from Better Bankside's offices, Great Guildford Street, SE1. It can also be read online at:
This issue focuses on sustainable travel in Bankside and London Bridge. Cycling and walking will be even more important as the summer approaches - read about Better Bankside's pioneering Savvy Cyclists events, find your way to the delights of Park Street with a delightful new illustrated walking map and meet Southwark Council officer Jillian Houghton, helping to bring the distinctive blue wayfinding signs of Legible London to the streets of Southwark. To find out more about the award-winning dbrief communications, contact

New paintings added

Please visit the Places and Portraits Galleries to see recent paintings. The two portraits are Duncan (Duncan Grant) and Visiting London; the places are around SE1 - Arriving Tate Modern, Leaving Tate Modern and Bankside Mix, as well as Fife Houses. Please email me at to find out more.

Town centre consultancy work

Sarah has been commissioned to write several reports to support consultancy work in town centres, including work with potential Portas Pilots and towards a vanguard Neighbourhood Plan.

dbrief Quarterly issue 11 published

Bankside London Bridge dbrief Quarterly issue 11, written and edited by Sarah, has been published and is now available from Better Bankside's offices, Great Guildford Street, SE1. It can also be read online at:

Inkling of a good idea

The new painting year began on Thursday with a convivial session by the river. Indoors, luckily, as it's smelling cold again. In December I had been suffering from a cold and found the idea of ink drawing more appealing than painting. I liked the results, quite noir-ish, put me in mind of a graphic novel, or perhaps an illustrated novel, which I am now mulling over at the back of my mind, and I decided to continue with ink this month.
Much as I hate those drawing exercises that involve charcoal tied to a long stick and accepting a lack of control, and despite finding a new drawing pen and two nibs at the bottom of my Christmas stocking, I perversely decided to try out a technique of drawing with a match dipped in ink. It worked well - an acceptable degree of randomness, with a nice straight edge. Just need to work on that narrative now...

Greening the city

Ask someone to draw a city neighbourhood and the chances are that green won’t be the first colour they reach for. Find out more about plans to bring emerald, sap green and viridian (OK maybe not viridian, certainly not straight from the tube) to Bankside and London Bridge, in the next issue of dbrief Quarterly. You can find back issues at:

Painting the city

In future I plan to bring my art and urban communication practices together more directly.
Through my work in Bankside and London Bridge I have built up some knowledge of an historic city centre quarter in transition. Communicating that change through words and photographs, online or in print, is an effective way to reach a lot of people fast. But it is often a means to an end - to convey information that can be seen and then, because it is ubiquitous, forgotten. Exploring this process through oil painting invites a more deliberative engagement with the city, inviting, I hope, deeper thought about what is happening around us and bringing a new perspective to the way our surroundings evolve as new structures emerge. And like oil painting it is not just building up but also scraping back: the process of development brings the chance to explore beneath the surface, as the archaeologist's trowel digs into the hidden city to expose a rediscovered past.