A macquette of a structure made with cardboard and sticks

Designing the Rural Roaming Room

A photo of the person.
Dr. Tristian Evans

Work is currently underway on developing the innovative Rural Roaming Room – a multipurpose creative space for bards, artists and musicians, which will tour around the Isle of Anglesey during the summer months, offering fun, free events for families as part of the Public Map Platform’s Voice Places engagement activities, whilst concurrently providing valuable research data.

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The design and production of the Rural Roaming Room, led by the pioneering architect Piers Taylor (Invisible Studio) in collaboration with Lean Structures, Onion Collective and PEARCE+ began in February 2024 during a two-day workshop at Ucheldre Centre, Holyhead – a former chapel within a convent that has since become an integral part of Anglesey’s cultural landscape. The well-attended event, facilitated by Alec Shepley from the School of Art at Wrexham University, invited children and young people to think creatively about designing a mobile space to imagine a better future. Over the two days, Piers Taylor and Georgie Grant from the social enterprise Onion Collective led activities that were packed with creativity and imagination.

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The participants were encouraged gently to sketch things that made them feel happy, before letting go of their artwork and contributing artistically to the work of fellow participants, by adding new elements to the drawings and reflecting on their additions. Everybody conveyed their visions of the Rural Roaming Room, incorporating some of their initial ideas, and thought about designing a room that could be big and small at the same time, also offering shelter for use during all weather conditions. In the afternoon, they worked collaboratively in small groups, producing unique and innovative maquettes using cardboard, eco-friendly bubble wrap, cable ties, fabric and balsa wood.

The second day was focused on developing a larger structure as a team, incorporating some of the ideas from the previous day, and the group was joined by Christian Knight from the structural engineering consultancy Lean Structures. Problem solving and team building skills were crucial as everyone thought about ways to construct the room, attaching willow sticks securely with cable ties, and providing shelter with bubble wrap and sheets of drawings made during the previous day. Once constructed, the space offered a welcoming and reflective space for the participants to sing and chat about their visions of the Rural Roaming Room. The portability of the prototype was later tested as everyone moved the structure around the room, before it was eventually dismantled. The workshop concluded with a wonderful drawing and storytelling session full of laughter and imagination as the children’s ideas were weaved into a magical tale of dragons, skateboards, bogs and smiling faces.

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After packing up, everyone left the Ucheldre Centre full of creative ideas having spent two fun-packed days immersed in thoughts about a space to imagine a better world, with much anticipation of seeing and experiencing the Rural Roaming Room in action on the Isle of Anglesey during the coming months.