You are probably asking yourself ‘what is City Mill Skate?’
City Mill Skate is a research project that uses a shared design process to build a proposal for the construction of permanent skateable objects within the new University College London campus, known as UCL East, scheduled to open in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 2022.
To find out more, take a look at our film below:
City Mill Skate is part of a wider set of initiatives across UCL that seek to broaden participation in education and ultimately to change perceptions of what attending university can be like.
Via a programme of events throughout 2020, City Mill Skate will build a diverse community of skateboarders around the site of the future UCL East campus. For 2020, this will include design and making workshops, DIY build test projects, skate lessons and more.
City Mill Skate - in detail
City Mill Skate is a project commissioned by UCL Culture at University College London. Historically University College London has been based at their Gower Street campus. This area has a rich history within London skate culture and is home to several well-known skate spots, including the raised plaza within the ULU campus at Torrington Square, the SOAS campus on Thornhaugh Street, and also John Watkins Plaza and Lincoln Square (off Carey Street) within the nearby LSE campus.
UCL are now in the process of building a second campus, known as UCL East in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, E20. Construction work began in March 2020, with the first buildings scheduled to open to students from 2022 onward.
Given the number of existing skate-related initiatives within the vicinity of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, City Mill Skate aims to work with this community to develop, test and ultimately propose ideas for permanent skateable architecture to be embedded into the completed UCL East campus.
City Mill Skate is part of a wider set of initiatives across UCL that are looking at ways to open universities up to a more diverse audience and to encourage a broader spectrum of potential students into the new campus. With the ultimate aim of challenging existing ideas about what life at university can be like.
Throughout 2019, City Mill Skate conducted a pilot research project to meet with local groups of skaters, to discuss their needs and opinions, as well as the projects they had initiated themselves. More details of our pilot research can be found beneath.
Building on this initial research, City Mill Skate was fortunate enough to be awarded funding from UCL Culture to develop and deliver a wider programme of events throughout 2020, to broaden and deepen our research into the needs of the local skate community and to develop ideas for skateable objects or ‘skate dots’ that could exist within the spaces and architecture of the UCL East campus.
If you would like to read more about our ideas around creating skate dots, City Mill Skate recently contributed an article in The Urban Pamphleteer, a biannual publication produced by The Bartlett School of Architecture (part of UCL). The Urban Pamphleteer issue number 8 is dedicated to skateboarding and features articles from Ted Barrow, Claire Alleaume and many others and is available here.
As the events of 2020 have unfolded, we have also had to make a few changes to our planned programme to ensure the safety of our team, our partners and the wider community. For updates on our revised programme and how to take part, please visit our news page for further info.
Best wishes from all of us at City Mill Skate.
'What is a skate dot' poster
Still wondering what City Mill Skate is all about? Feel free to download our special poster with further details of our project so far, where our pilot research took place and what we have planned in future!
CMS pilot research summary
The City Mill Skate project has actually been running for over a year now – check out the summary of our pilot research conducted during 2019, with details of our initial focus groups, the locations we visited, and all the great ideas we came across.
Please use the link below to download the City Mill Skate press kit: