Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Taking a Break

I'll be taking a break until early April, but will be on the look out for interesting things to blog about when I return....

Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Tragedy of Suburbia

I listened to a TED talk this week: The Tragedy of Suburbia by James Howard Kunstler. It has a bit too much American invective for my taste, but it's definitely worth a listen. A passionate challenge to modern planning and a demand for better quality places ...

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Artists and Regeneration

I'm talking at 'Artists and Regeneration', an event organised by The Architecture Network at The Building Exploratory in Dalston tomorrow night. It features myself, Anna Strongman from Argent and Sam Wilkinson from Insite Arts. Tickets have sold out, but they're going to put a podcast online so I'll post once that's up. Should be an interesting conversation....

Sunday, 7 February 2010


I went to the launch of Dryden Goodwin's stunning project, Linear, for Art on the Underground on Friday. He's drawn portraits of 60 members of staff on the Jubilee line, and recorded both the process of drawing and the conversations that took place. The results are 60 short films that give an incredible insight into the people that took part. There's also something really magical about watching their faces emerge from a blank piece of paper as you hear them speak. Funny, moving, gorgeous. Check it out.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Negotiate Your Place

A great conversation at the Know Your Place event at the German Gym in King’s Cross last night. I could have carried on for at least another hour!

Some ideas and themes that stuck with me:

1. The negotiation of power within residencies – how can and should a writer approach a residency? As an anarchist, a negotiator? Nick Mahoka made a good point that he thought organisations who asked for a residency were to some extent asking a question, inviting a line of inquiry. Lemn Sissay talked about the need for commissioners to take a creative approach.

2. The balance between structure and freedom, and the role of the organisation in supporting and enabling the writer to really work magic.

3. The need to accept that you can’t know what will happen in a residency, balanced with the need to draw boundaries (especially to do with resources), and then to measure and advocate for the work done.

4. Kat Joyce talked about her One Mile Away residency and how all of the stories and conversations amassed into something bigger than its constituent parts, and also the satisfaction she found in watching new connections being made within a neighbourhood as a result of her work.

5. Lee Mallet commented that within the field of regeneration there is a real need for work like this to deepen our (and specifically planners/architects/developers’) understanding of place.

6. Tamsin Dillon from Art on the Underground talked about their growing interest not just in the physicality of the Underground but also in ‘the people who animate those contexts’.

And so much more!