Each week we are asking one member from each Working Group to share what they discussed at each meeting and plan to do for the next session. Here is the third Culture Working Group overview:
There was a sense of turning the corner about the third of our four group meetings. Only a finite amount of progress could be achieved in the time available. This was actually helpful in that it obliged us to focus and to be practical in our recommendations. As ever, the discussion was frank, and informed by real-life experience of past projects and proposals. Again, a large part of our work was simply a verbal continuation of email exchanges, and an exploration of issues raised.
Co-exist and co-create
The city’s cultural activity has to co-exist with commerce, and can exploit and re-purpose vacated spaces. Efforts had been made to establish a pop-up shop agency, or broker, and this was felt to be very positive and desirable, given that rents here were said to be as high as London’s Oxford Street, and a number of units were empty. Enabling short-term occupancy would provide flexible spaces for creatives, and have a rejuvenating effect.
Cultural Corridor through Collaboration
Progress had been achieved on the concept of the Culture Corridor, with a useful site visit to North Walls and some online work using the City Council planning map. It would have a thematic link of Youth and the Arts, potentially engaging students from the School of Art and skateboarders in public art, such as designing murals. Raising the level of the road surface to the pavement along the route would give it clear indication, and rubbish bins could be decorated. Could the route be extended and form a loop? This would be investigated.
The Culture Collaborative was an idea that was less well-defined, physically and structurally, but models did exist in other cities, and it had attracted excited interest. It would be an enabling and inclusive body, harnessing the energy of community groups and linking to wider, external organisations. With the possibility of local government reorganisation, its role could gain in importance. There were things that the community could do for itself, and where it did not need constant reference to an ineffective bureaucracy.
Image: Fine Art student at Winchester School of Art.
Share your views on what you might like to see for Winchester in the comments box below and stay tuned for the next update from the Culture Working Group next week! Don’t forget you can also join the conversation on social media, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram