Before and After

"Memory Gardens", a vibrant community of people on the autistic and dyslexic spectrum has grown up around a real garden.

It was initially based within a piece of derelict land owned by the charity "Action for Children" in Legard Road, in Highbury, north London. It ran between 2002-2009 when our contract was terminated at the height of the financial downturn and the land was sold for housing. We ran art programs, growing projects and sensory projects here for both adults and children.

Below is an excerpt of a document that was handed in to "Action for Children" at the end of our project there .



An eight year self-organized sculpture Garden project initiated by autistic/dyslexic artists, gardeners, therapists and outdoor enthusiasts.


The garden was set up as a way of building up a memory for simple movements and acts that on their own could appear to educators or care-providers to be nonsensical or unproductive.

In the garden we wanted to create a living practice between all those who visited, whether autistic adults, children, care-professionals or parents. This could act like a note-book that included the gestures of many and allowed them to operate together.

In simple domestic tasks we all create a semblance of a whole and rarely do break down into component parts the actual procedures for making a cup of tea, walking from room to room, stopping mid-track as a thought appears to us, sounding that out through a walk in the park or a casual chat between appointments.

We wanted Memory Gardens to be such a place of incidental meetings. An informal pause-gap that could mean many different things to different people and whose joint meaning was adapted in an on-going way according to small acts that in various ways affected one another.

In everything we do, we create a Memory. When this is shared, it is rich and resounds..

Ruth Solomon, Coordinator, Dec 2008