I was contacted by Manchester Creative Collective (MCC) and asked if I would take part in Manchester's vacant place consultation. As part of the Manchester Beacon for Public Engagement, Manchester Creative Collective (MCC) in collaboration with MMU and the Manchester Architecture & Design Festival, have been commissioned to undertake a consultation project to investigate the current use of space in Manchester.
They required one person from each of the core groups: public sector; development; academia, architecture/design; creative; and community to take part in speakeasy-style conversations around vacant space and place making. Due to my interest in such topics I was asked to represent the creative group. Their key aim is to understand the barriers to using vacant buildings and to find out what community groups can do to contribute to place making.
The discussion took place in a shipping container in Piccadilly Gardens as part of Future Everything. It was fascinating to talk to people from other disciplines and gain their perspective on the subject. I'm not sure that we really came up with any answers as such but it was a healthy discussion that I feel could have gone on for much longer then an hour.
The conversation was recorded and will be stored in an open-data audio-visual archive for Manchester, with the data collected being used to highlight the key issues. A blog is going to be set up to keep everyone up-to-date with the progress of the project. I will post the link as soon as it has been set up by MCC.