Wednesday, 9 July 2014


The opportunity to listen to, and experience the thinking behind and descriptions from professional artists who had experience of working in the public realm, was fantastic, it far exceeded my expectations. It was a privilege and a motivation to live up to the experiences Beneath the Pavement were offering us.

The variety of ways which we encountered the city were enlightening: guided tours from specialists who were knowledgeable about spaces seeking artists to enhance/work with businesses and buildings; magical mystery tours offering us secret snooping time; blind tours feeling the uneven ground, the input from local onlookers, and the sounds of the city.

We walked in the day, the evening, the sun and the rain. We discussed, documented, took notes and contemplated in silence. We repeated walks but each one was different and each time we noticed something new; a space which called out for the lime light, a corner which sought for a cosy meeting place to encourage conversation.

I tried to think empathetically, about what I would want in the city, after observing and speaking to local residents. I also explored ideas for bringing the public together and encouraging involvement in the building, advertisement, and arts of the city.

A few of the things which struck me:
The signage around the city seemed dismal, old, sometimes incorrect, uninspiring and not very engaging. I spent time talking to the locals about their favourite spaces around the city, areas they would recommend, and places which needed a bit more TLC in order to be public friendly.

· The lack of places/events which could engage a range of audiences and people

· A lack of creative projects advertised in the streets and shops.

· Patches of green- weeds, brown spaces, overflowing guttering, sporadic flowerbeds and trees.

Ideas with view to involving the community:

A city hanging basket competition, miniature hanging installations to encourage colour and pride in the centre, this could be sponsored by local farms, flower businesses, and recycling organisations- reuse containers creatively to create more interesting displays.

Monthly reclaim an empty space event, advertised well- possibly utilising different skills from the public. They could propose the event they want to take place and take turns in designing posters/fliers.

E.G outdoor cinema - bring camping chairs and watch a film together, projected against a blank wall. Alternatively this could be done indoors on an interior wall with astro-turf on the floor to create a soft place to lay picnic blankets.

Open mic’ nights with local bands, comedians or creative acts could also be shown, and a ‘bring and share’ ethos could be encouraged so people create their own buffets.

Every Man’s sign- competition or a commission to create locally inspired signs which highlight the general public’s favourite places- this could create a totem like pole as a focal point in the central square of the city, a point which brings the six towns together by naming a best food shops, pubs, cultural sights, places to sit & entertainment.

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