Common Ground Festival

Common Ground: bringing community initiatives and activist groups together for fun and action filled afternoon

The Common House is co-hosting a street festival on Middleton Green, together with Teesdale & Hollybush TRA and Phytology from the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve.
We are going to bring what happens inside community spaces outside – ‘Common Ground’ will be a one-day party with stalls, music, talks, performances, workshops and games on Middleton Green, acting as a chance for connection between local community groups, spaces and people.
We are hoping to enable local groups and organisations to connect with the communities and individuals who live in the immediate area, so that we can meet each other and build community in the local area.
Learning how much is going on within community spaces behind closed doors is inspiring, so we hope Common Ground will facilitate more chances for encounter and sharing. The opportunities to share skills and resources will help work towards building a local network of spaces that can support each other in different ways.
This event will be free and open for all to attend, and all of the activities put on by each participant will be free.
The festival will take place on and around Middleton Green and we will provide some covered spaces in case of rain.
Two accessible toilets will be available, a compost toilet at Phytology which is on Middleton Street, and in Keddleston Community Centre, E2 9QT.
If you have any accessibility needs or questions please get in touch

Supported by Mayor of London’s Culture Seeds.


Contributors include:

Swadhinata Trust, Teesdale & Hollybush TRA, Nightsniffing: Bats, Data and Development, Rocky Park Community Garden, Phytology, Queer Kickabout, Earthlings, United Voices of the World, London Renters Union, Screen Printing, Feminist Fightback, Concrete Action, Art and Aroma, Positive Money Tower Hamlets, Non Violent Communication, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, Radical Towels, St Josephs Hospice, Fuel Poverty Action, Green Anti-Capitalist Front, Contact Improvisation, Catwalk4Power & ACT UP London Women, NELMA, Sam Berkson Slam Poetry, Facepainting/Bubbles/Henna

Middleton Green

Teesdale & Hollybush TRA – painting of the day, map making of where people have come from
Common House – Information about the Common House alongside pay by donation / freecycle shop
Alpona (Swadhinata Trust) (also known as rangoli, in west india, chowk in north india, kolam in south india and alpona in east india).
Alpona is an art form originating in india, dedicated to decorating floors, here i have adapted it to creating templates that celebrate the patterns from all corners of india so that people can colour them in. in indian cultures, all guest and visitors occupy a very special place, and alpona is an expression of this warm hospitality. therefore indian festivals are widely celebrated with alponas, as people visit each other’s homes to exchange greetings and sweets.
Art and Aroma –  Fragranced room spray making workshop, and selling fragranced room spray with essential oils
Screen Printing Workshop & Info Stall (London Renters Union) – Join London Renters Union to screenprint t-shirts with empowering slogans for renters. This will be a fun and creative way to engage with the public and raise awareness about LRU and renters rights.
Positive Money Tower Hamlets – Sharing leaflets and booklets, offering information and answering any questions about how banking and the economy works and what we can do to change it.
Nightsniffing: Bats, Data and Development (Cliff Hammett) During the day, there will be a stall exploring the relationships between bats, datasets and regeneration. Then an 8.15pm there will be a bats-data-development walk. The walk will consist of a combined exploration of bats, development and gentrification, with two devices:  heterodyne bat detector to find bats with – and London development datasniffers to find planning data with.
Non Violent Communication – Stall for offering empathy. If there is interest we can demonstrate some simple grounding tools that people can use and ways of holding connection to ourselves and others. These are best offered in the context of a full workshop though where people can try these new skills out and practice them. Offering empathy using some simple connective language. Using feelings and needs cards to help identify these feelings that arise and what they may be signposting to. This is not a workshop or counselling environment, so this would be a light and brief introduction to what could take longer to explore. It usually lands as an enriching and rewarding experience.
Contact Improvisation –  Join us for an introductory session to basic principles of contact improvisation! CI is a playful improvised dance form, that takes from martial arts and dance. During the session we will warm up into our bodies which will lead into a few exercises exploring momentum, weight sharing and balance. The session will be taking place outdoors in Middleton Green and will be facilitated by Mira and Luc.
Green Anti-Capitalist Front Info Stall – The Green Anti-Capitalist Front is an alliance of groups and individuals united by a belief that capitalism is one of the core causes of the environmental crisis threatening us all, and that if we do not act soon the costs of that crisis will fall on the poor and powerless.
Radical Towels – Radical Tea Towel fundraiser for Phone Credit For Refugees
St Joseph’s Hospice Stall – We would like to run an information stall and talk to people about the services available to the community and what support people could receive from us and how everyone could get involved in helping people with life limiting conditions to live their lives to fullest.
Dementia Friends Workshop (St Joseph’s Hospice) – A 1 hour dementia friends information session that is an interactive session to help people to be more aware about dementia and become a dementia friend.
Catwalk4Power & ACT UP London Women – A stall providing info about the issues on women and HIV and how to get involved
Climate Justice at Home (Fuel Poverty Action) – Conflicts between climate and social justice are nuanced. What is best for the climate is not always best for people. In our day to day lives, these conflicts are best understood in the home. Green tariffs can be the most expensive, the imposition of much needed insulation can be dangerous, and energy efficiency can become a punitive measure. Let’s skill-up about fuel poverty and the perils of greening the home, to continue the work for genuine climate and social justice.
Sam Berkson – Slam Poetry; Sam Berkson is a poet, published by Influx Press. He has been running live events with Hammer & Tongue since 2005, part of the biggest network of slam poetry in the UK and performed at festivals and venues including Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall. He hosted a show on NTS radio for 5 years.
Reclaim the Hides Birdwalk – Reclaim the Hides radical bird walk are like an outdoor Ted Talk, where we take a gentle stroll around a local park while exploring the examples common birds set us when it comes to solidarity and cooperation
United Voices of the World
Concrete Action
Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
Queer Kickabout

~ KIDS ~

Facepainting – Supernova Faces
Giant Bubble Making

In and around Bethnal Green Nature Reserve with Phytology:

Earthlings – Poetry Trail around the gardens, with evening poetry readings & feast, + workshops and activities. Trail Map by Soofiya.

Join us for a creative treasure trail around Bethnal Green’s amazing community gardens. So many hidden stories and treasures to discover – the trail will begin at the LADA / Simple Gifts garden > Middleton Green > Rocky Park > Keddleston community Centre + surrounding gardens > St Margaret’s House > Bethnal Green Nature Reserve

Nature Connection Workshop (Shaira Begum),

Henna (Hafiza),

Billboard making workshop (Saif Osmani),

Mobile Apothecary tea and wellbeing stall (Shumaisa Khan and Melissa Moore)

Feast by Fadi Sultagi Bethnal Greens

Reading corner (facilitator tbc)

Mobile Apothecary – Herbal tea and wellbeing stall