John Wallett

John is a graphic and information designer and educator who has worked with arts, education and campaign organisations in East London for over twenty-five years. Coming originally from the Fine Arts he worked through the 1980s developing local publishing, exhibition and community photography projects in East London. He is a founder of the ‘Common Knowledge’ network based at 18 Victoria Park Square and is also founder member of the pop-up community cinema project ‘Moving Image’ in East Anglia. In 2013 Phil Cohen and John Wallett founded Livingmaps which became incorporated as ‘Livingmaps Network’ in April 2015. Since then John has been responsible for the design of many Livingmaps project proposals, displays and web-based projects. Since 2013 John has been developing the design strategy for Livingmaps and delivering creative mapping projects in the Stratford E20 area and more recently in North Colchester.


Events Manager: Network Events Programme

From its beginning in January 2014 up to March 2016 John was responsible for design and events coordination of the Livingmaps Seminars and Events programme and for printed and online publicity.

Community Mapping and Collaborative Drawing

John has worked with adults and young people running creative mapping sessions using basic art materials and working in small or large groups to develop a shared narrative and the use of spontaneous drawing to explore personal and social spaces. He is currently working with other Livingmaps associates Phil Cohen, Giotta Alevizou and Nicolas Fonty on the design methodology for Our Kind of Town to develop a Citizens Atlas of London. The project aims to create user toolkits and to develop a long term strategy to empower local citizens and community groups in their engagement with the planning and development processes of the London 2050 Plan.

John is currently working on We Will Remember Them: a children’s community history project in Colchester mapping and documenting the social history of the seventy five young men who all attended one Colchester primary school who left to fight in WW1 and did not return. The children’s researches have brought together creative writing, archive researches and local geography to create a media-rich website and devise local walks visiting the houses where they lived. Special ceramic ‘Poppy’ plaques are being installed on all the houses which still exist. The walks are accessible now on the We Will Remember Them website.

‘Groundbreakers’ ‘Invisible Signage’ and other projects

John is developing a new project idea to explore the notion of ‘Invisible Signage’ using Bluetooth BLE beacons and NFC (Near Field Communication) technologies to create locational signs that point and direct using novel technologies and imaginative interventions. These developments will play a part in the new ‘Groundbreakers’ project coordinated by Toby Butler who John worked with on the Bethnal Green tube disaster book last year. ‘Groundbreakers’ will develop two audio heritage trails, one for adults with a guide book and learning resources, the other a family adventure trail. The aim is to explore the history and heritage of the Olympic Park area, drawing out the hidden archaeology, environmental and social history of the area by telling its back story through the voices and stories of the tunnellers, canal builders, engineers, and Park workforce who create and manage this newest of London’s great parks. Groundbreakers project has recently received support from the Canals and Rivers Trust and from London Legacy Development Corporation who funded our partnership projects ‘MyPlaceYourPlace’ and ‘This is Our East 20‘.


Maps and map-related projects

High Street 2012: Map on Bus

Bus-length pictorial map of the journey from Aldgate to Bow displaying over 100 children’s images of landmarks and historical figures associated with Whitechapel, Mile End and Bow Road. The banners were commissioned for the TfL fleet of 205 buses as part of High Street 2012 and developed by the intergenerational project ‘Magic Me’ with production management and overall visual design by John Wallett. Originally planned to be displayed just for the Olympic fortnight, these nine-metre long displays have proved enduringly popular and many can still be seen on the 205 route. These visual maps have now been viewed by an estimated ten million people at least, making them one of the most seen pieces of community art in the whole of the UK (image and link to follow shortly).

Lights On For The Territory

Map for Phil Cohen’s book on East London and the post-Olympics
Download the pdf:


Young Peoples Guide to the Olympic Park

Download the pdf:

Livingmaps Network

Projects and Events site for network of critical and creative cartographers, artists and activists.

Livingmaps Review

Online Journal and editorial workflow CMS using OJS (Open Journal System).


Website development and content management systems work

Oral History Society

National and regional member network, extensive resource sections and online journal access through JSTOR

Priseman Seabrook

Education and loan collections of 20th and 21st Century paintings prints and drawings from British and Chinese artists

Contemporary British Painting

Artists’ peer-group network, portfolio site with extensive events and promotions
splash page:

Peter Gibson

Biographical and social history site with extensive visual archives, timeline and personal reminiscences of mid-to-late 20th Century Music scene.


Information Design, Printed Publications and Community Engagement

The 1943 Bethnal Green Tube Shelter Disaster: Illustrated Oral History book, plus Teachers Notes and Worksheets on CD

Download the pdf: and and

Neighbourhood Plan

Three-year project developing local Neighbourhood Planning and Community Consultation process and materials including accessible presentation of complex local planning issues and clear information graphics

Download the pdf: and

Pathway: Health for Homeless People

Download the pdf: and


General work and project experience

1971 Derby and District Touring Museums Service

Museums Assistant. Work repairing, labelling and packaging exhibits for regional loan scheme offering schools and organisations museum exhibits throughout the Derbyshire region.

1971-1972 Hancock Museum of Natural History & Ethnography

Museum Designer. Creating dioramas, exhibition displays and printed materials.

1977-1982 University of London Goldsmith College Library

Cataloguing Assistant. Purchasing, acquisitions, cataloguing and specialist MA course book-lists plus general library duties for Goldsmiths School of Art Library and for Goldsmiths Education Library. Also managed cataloging shipping and storage of art library during transfer from New Cross to Camberwell site.

1983-1990 Tower Hamlets Arts Project

Community Arts Worker. Developing local history, writing and photography projects, publications and displays in East London.

1984-2008 Tower Hamlets Advanced Technology Training and Tower Hamlets College

Design Lecturer and Course Director: Adult training course in graphic design, web development and IT/Network Services. Also developed OCN accredited Art Foundation and Computer Graphics Course for late returners.

1991- to date Freelance Designer

Graphic and Information Design for education, arts and third-sector organisations including community development, youth arts and local history projects.

Relevant projects

1984-6 Secretary Exploring Living Memory

Developing life history projects across Greater London and managing annual exhibition in the Festival Hall.

High Street 2012 Map in a Bus

In 2012 he worked with inter-generational arts project ‘Magic Me’ as part of ‘High Street 2012’ to produce a bus-length 9 metre ‘route map’ of artworks by East London schoolchildren illustrating landmarks along the 205 route from Aldgate to Bow now estimated to have been seen by over five million passengers and still on view.

Lights On For The Territory

2013 Worked with the writer and ethnographer Phil Cohen to create ‘Lights On For The Territory’ illustrated map for Cohen’s book ‘The Wrong Side of The Track’ chronicling the post-Olympic situation in East London

Olympic Park Community Access Projects

From 2013 planning, developing and delivering various community access and photography projects in the East Village/Stratford area including ‘This Is Our East 20’ and ‘MyPlaceYourPlace’.