Inspiring A Whole Community with Art
The Engine Room is at the heart of Tottenham’s Hale Village, and serves the entire community with a range of community activities and classes.
Hosted at the facility is a children’s art workshop, run by the award-winning Nailah Daley-Allen. Nailah helps children channel their artistic and creative talents, helping enrich the lives of the young artists, their families and the wider community.
Tell us more about your after-school art workshop at the Engine Room?
I have been running a Monday art workshop at the Engine Room for more than five years. The workshop is a hit with young children from the area, as it provides a fun and safe environment for them to explore their creativity.
At the workshop, we use a wide range of materials, which helps the artists learn and develop new and existing skills.
Art is not just about moulding and crafting materials into masterpieces – it’s also about expression, which can help boost the children’s confidence and develop communications skills. As part of their development, we encourage the children to form a circle at the end of each session, so that they can discuss their work; we call this circle time.
We have built relationships with local creativity businesses, such as Tottenham Hale International Studios, Fifth Column t-shirt printing and embroidery, and Design and Genix Printers. Working with professional creatives offers our young artists excellent insight into how their creativity can be channelled in future years.
The art workshops have proven to be such a tremendous success, and our young artists receive deserved recognition for their work. For instance, we’ve been commissioned for local artworks by the NHS Dialysis and Diabetes Centre for two light boxes located at the front of their building. Most recently Network Rail and Volks Fitzpatrick commissioned us to create two A0 pieces of artwork themed around railway and building site safety.
Visitors can also view artworks produced by the children at our annual Christmas and summer end of term exhibitions: this is a great time for our young artists to show their work to friends, family and the local community. Such occasions boost their sense of achievement and provide an opportunity to present them with certificates and gifts.
Why is art and creativity so important for children’s development?
Art and creativity is very important for children’s development, as this allows them to explore new ways of expression.
At times, even adults struggle to articulate their feelings, so we can only imagine the frustration for children. Creativity is a fantastic way to communicate feelings and emotions using a visual language.
They also nurture invaluable skills, such as problem solving, teamwork (especially when working on group projects), and the ability to think outside the box.
Workshops offer a balance of structure and freedom to explore and experiment. As an abstract artist that has attended school and grown up in the area, I know the positive impact that art and creativity can have on a young person’s development.
I know this, as it has helped me for many years; it’s what inspired me to run art workshops for communities within London since 2008.
We heard that you recently won an award from Haringey Council, for your work with children and young people – what does this award mean to you?
I recently received an award for “impacting the lives of children and young people in Haringey”. It was such an honour to have even been nominated. Receiving an award really adds a special touch, and it feels good to know that the work I do is acknowledged and appreciated by the wider community.
I feel that I am rewarded every day though by working with the children and their families. To see them transform into confident and skilful young artists and receive recognition from their parents is a blessing.
What impact has the Engine Room had since it first opened?
The Engine Room has had an enormously positive impact on the local community. It has brought people together, as it offers a safe and welcoming space staffed by an excellent team.
It has allowed local people to get involved in a range of activities that can improve mental and physical well-being.
It is a great place to meet new people whilst obtaining new knowledge and resources, which has helped improve the daily lives of local people.
The Engine Room also acts as a beautiful venue to hire for community, personal and business events, whilst also offering Christians a place of worship.
What do you love most about Tottenham Hale?
I love how the old and new communities have come together. Tottenham Hale is a thriving place with people from different cultures and walks of life.
With the Lee Valley at its doorstep, the area features some beautiful landscape nature, which is perfect for relaxation. Also, if you look around you, there is some amazing architecture to appreciate.
But the thing I love most of all, is the fact that it’s my home.
What are your favourite places to visit in the area?
I would recommend taking a walk to visit the beautiful Walthamstow Wetlands. It’s like visiting the countryside and is perfect for relaxing walks where you can be surrounded by nature.
When visiting Tottenham Hale, you should certainly visit the Engine Room, there is so much to offer for everyone. After that I’d recommend popping into LOVENbakery and grabbing a slice of pizza and a refreshing beverage.
If you’re looking to move to Tottenham Hale and join this community, then discover our Hale Works development. Make sure you get in touch with one of our Anthologists today by calling 020 7760 1583 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography Credit: Clark Gregory