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the shields family with two children a toddler and young boy.

our story


Would you describe yourself as an artist? For a long time neither of us would have. At the end of 2021, our worlds became more unblurred in a scary but relieving way as we began to understand what had been missing all these years. 

It's been a while since school days spent in the music block and the art dept but not a day goes by without a bright idea or an art practiced (shout out to the latte art gang). We've always been used to creatively expressing ourselves, however, our surroundings haven’t always reflected our needs as artists. The stiffness of space that exists around us has meant our expression has often been muted and what makes us who we are, suppressed. Our commitment to creating space is for healing and liberation which we believe exists when the artists come together, big, little and discovering. We launched Philo in 2022 with our then two children and faithful little team of volunteers with an amazing £15k donated by the wider community through our first crowdfunder to do something different.

Our children need space to be themselves, to see themselves, for who they are not who they’re not - and this is exactly what we believed we needed to create. 


We’ve seen our borough change in many ways over the last few decades. Where we once lived, we’re priced out. Where we once played, we’re kicked out. Not having the same safe  spaces we had growing up, there is a sense of displacement. Your culture is being erased, your history is being erased, you don’t have a sense of belonging in a place you've always called home.


As we think about what it means to remain and what sacrifices have to be made, we’re convinced that the community knows what the community needs. Listening, learning and laboring with others to hold space that holds us is the objective and as we attend to the voids and silences in our area, as we pay attention to unmet needs of our people - we attend to our desire to imagine, dream and create in the places we’ve always called home. Staying, resisting and being are our encouragements as we build with others.


Intergenerational wisdom, food in its varying portions, doors being open with everyone lending a hand was what we both experienced growing up in close-knit family churches. It still illustrates to us that whatever the size of your contribution, it’s every effort that makes the thing work. Philo is about everyone playing their part and making their mark because that’s what makes the difference.

our story: Text
the art room.JPG

spaces for us exist because we create them

our story: Text
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