Artichoke’s take on Participatory Design


Large amounts of designer’s forget or rather disagree with the reasoning’s behind participatory design. A large amount of focus is on achieving the clients goal, of which may not involve the community. Participatory design is a method used to work with the community in order to teach or deliver something back to them. Often these projects are non-profitable but achieve much more than any emotion or effect money can bring. Artichoke is a self funded company founded by Helen Marriage and Nicky Webb, they curate ideas and approach specific designers to develop their proposed vision. Artichoke flee to the streets to enthusiastically grab the attention of the general public, appeal to those that believe they have no interest in art. Art is commonly thought to only be perceived within the 4 walls of a museum, most feel if they don’t understand the art and the basis of the design, that they just don’t get it. Realistically not everyone does, even those art enthusiasts sometimes won’t understand or visualise what the artist is trying to imply, and truthfully this doesn’t matter, it’s about your own interpretation. Artichoke have visited many cities, ranging from; Northern Island, Durham to London the city we are all most familiar with. Each show is individual to itself and is always influenced from the history and political background of the city and the surrounding environment. They extend to the architecture as their performance stage, reflecting artists work onto the elegant objects of the City. The show fully encapsulates the community within the city, they are designed to change the memories and experience of familiar spaces to allow excitement and joy. The projects also reach out to involve the general public within the art itself. In Northern Island they worked with primary schools to develop pieces of art work and attempt to minimise the segregation between the schools. During the burning of the bonfire the community were encouraged to bring items or memories that they wished to burn within the spectacular wooden cathedral. The Lumiere 2009 that took place in Durham Is an amazing show that encapsulates the mystical beauty of the city. The light show varied in style artwork from magnificent fire displays to projections of Images of the Lindisfarne Gospels artwork among the architectural face of the cathedral.  Each show expresses different styles and emotions, artwork varies across the city. Artichoke partner with other artists and form many collaborations within the company. This allows them to Implement all their initial thoughts into successful design ideas. The idea of community design projects creates a great aspect of the design world, they are self funded projects that create activities and creative ideas among mostly unused spaces. Participatory design gives opportunities to many and become a great aspect of the community. Artichoke (2016)


Artichoke. (2016) Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)



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