Patterns in the Park

In their second blog post, AtelierUCA shares their experience of the first public event of the year, Patterns in the Park, which took place on-site in Kings Hill.

12 Oct 2021

Apples! The starting point for Yinka Ilori's inspiration for the project is the humble apple. Perhaps it’s not so surprising as Kings Hill is in the Garden of England, where the fruit grows in abundance in orchards across Kent. 

As Autumn sets in and we consider the harvest season ahead, the first public event took place at Kings Hill. ‘Patterns in the Park’ saw Yinka engage with local families, with support from  Turner Contemporary and AtelierUCA.

Commenting on the event, Yinka noted: “It was really great to explore with [the locals] my apple inspired concept for the public art commission. These interactions during my residency are helping to influence my design process as I develop my ideas further.”

There is a clear sense of community in Yinka’s approach, with a social element to the workshops allowing the artist to get to know the people of Kings Hill, and what matters to them. Yinka is known for his storytelling, in which he fuses his British and Nigerian heritage to tell new stories in contemporary design. Joining Yinka at the event, AtelierUCA learnt how the artist plants the seed of an idea and ensures a balance is kept between public engagement and retaining a visual voice that is undeniably Yinka Ilori. 

AtlierUCA member, Aishat Bello, said: “Meeting Yinka Ilori was a dream come true. His optimistic and calm demeanour was inspiring to be around. I am looking forward to seeing the amount of joy that this art installation will bring to the public.”

The day saw two workshops with guest artists, Kate McLean and Stitch School. In the first workshop, Kate led participants on a Smell Walk. The walk allowed everyone to familiarise themselves with the area, not only through physical markers but through smell. We took a stroll around the town, mapping the smells and trying to find the words to describe them. 

Kate is a local Kent artist whose work on Sensory Maps brings a fresh approach to how one can engage with their surroundings. Kate’s practice works at the intersection of human-perceived smellscapes, cartography and the communication of ‘eye-invisible’ sensed data. The atelier members were all invigorated by her fresh approach.

The second part of the day brought 'Stitching in the Park' led by Stitch School. The local community joined a group embroidery activity, stitching a large piece of material featuring Yinka Ilori's art motif. A patchwork kit was handed out to residents to take home, who were asked to complete and return the patchworks to be used to create a large community patchwork.  

Stitch School was co-founded in 2017 by Melanie Bowles and Aimee Betts, with the aim of providing professional and inspirational guidance to reconnect to the benefits of embroidery through embroidery kits, workshops and community events around the large communal table embroidery called ’The Supper Cloth’.

Reflecting on the day, AtelierUCA member Ali Usurelu summarised, “The excitement of the day and the atmosphere was like a village fete, in this well-designed contemporary town. The sun came out as the team got to know each other and ate ice creams, familiarising ourselves with the site - the base for the partnership. It was nice to meet the local community, and to feel a part of something rooted in the Garden of England."


AtelierUCA is a collective of University for the Creative Arts’ students and alumni, collaborating on an exciting Public Art commission at Kings Hill, Kent, with Yinka Ilori (MBE) and Turner Contemporary. With specialisms ranging from Fashion to Fine Art, Photography to Architecture, Graphic Design to Illustration, to name a few, AtelierUCA members share a thirst to engage with the Contemporary Arts community and to learn from practising artists. AtelierUCA is grateful for the support of development partners Liberty Property Trust and Kent County Council