Thursday, 23 July 2009

Writers Shaping Places

There is a review of the Writers Shaping Places event that took place last month at Shortwave, on the RUDI (Resource for Urban Design) website.

Here are some of the comments from event attendees:

‘The event was really thought provoking and created a number of new ideas for using writing and digital media to enhance our regeneration projects. Places, particularly changing places, need to communicate to people and vice versa. Writers can make this happen.’
Chris Brown, Chief Executive, Igloo Regeneration

‘Writers Shaping Places is interesting because it reminds you that places are shaped by people, how they use it, their memories and stories. Writers can help reveal this, and help make people aware of their neighbourhood, what is special about it and why they care for it. This is very important in a process of change.’
Dann Jessen, Architect, East

‘Writers Shaping Places showed me clearly what UrbanWords exists to do: to create a dialogue between those who engage imaginatively with place, and those who engage with it practically. Of course, architects and writers do both, but in very different ways. I left feeling excited to find out how each person in the room ‘imagines the unimaginable’ and even more excited about how this might translate into the shape of our city.’
Miriam Nash, poet

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Poetry, Optimism and Delight

I am currently doing an online course hosted by the Homes and Communities Academy, which aims to give people a greater understanding of the sustainable communities agenda. I can't help but feel a bit cynical about the idea of sustainable communities - it's a great idea, but I worry about the achievability of maintaining a growing economy and increased standard of living for all without impacting on the environment or adversely affecting future generations' abilities to improve their quality of life...

Anyway, as part of the course I came across this article by Miriam Fitzpatrick, a member of CABE's Urban Panel, on CABE's website. She begins by quoting from Oscar Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol, and argues that "sustainability must address our needs as human beings before obsessing over the measurable". I enjoyed her use of the engineer Randall Thomas' definition of sustainability as "poetry, optimism and delight. CO2, water and waste are secondary." She argues that "it is only after raising our spirits as humans that design for sustainability should go on to tackle quantifiable issues such as CO2 emissions."

A strong argument for the arts, I'd say, though the rest of this article does talk more about physical and design issues than raising human sprits, I notice...

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Article in Mslexia

I have an article about writing and public art in the Summer edition of Mslexia, in which I interview 3 writers: Linda France, Donna Daley-Clarke and Denna Jones who have all worked on public art commissions in very different ways.
Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Writers Shaping Places

Thanks to Chris Meade, Kate Cheyne, Spread the Word, and all the audience members for taking part in the Writers Shaping Places event on Tuesday. Lots of thought-provoking ideas and discussions came up, which we're looking forward to continuing talking about on
Miriam Nash, from UrbanWords has posted a review of the event on the site - so please do sign up and have a look: