A symposium at the newly expanded MK Gallery which will discuss the potential for art in new and expanding communities. It will explore the legacies of art and culture in the first generation of New Towns and consider what might be learned from such examples. The symposium will interrogate contemporary understandings of placemaking from a civic perspective, and how they can be applied responsibly in 21st century new towns.

24th May / 10am - 7.30pm.

In recent years, a surge in global migration and housing crises have accompanied a renewed use of garden city and new town masterplanning as an appropriate framework to manage urban growth. At the same time, the notion of creative placemaking has emerged as a ‘new’ strategy for building communities and creating a sense of place through artistic practices and cultural infrastructure. Understanding the impact that artists and arts organisations made on new town communities in the post-war period is therefore particularly relevant at this time, as well as a consideration of the potentials and problems of contemporary placemaking.

The symposium will bring together leaders in the field of creative placemaking to talk about how they place people and communities at the centre of their work as well as critics of the instrumentalisation of art. Through artists’ presentations, films and workshops, we will examine the past and present of new town creative ecologies. Together, participants and audience members will explore the capacity for arts and arts institutions to contribute to the new generation of planned towns and cities.

Speakers and participants include:

Sir Nicholas Serota (Arts Council England), Dr Stephen Pritchard (University of Northumbria) Dr Cara Courage (Tate Exchange), Assemble, Eastside Projects, Barbara Holub (Transparadiso), Thamesmead Arts and Culture Office (TACO!), Dr Alina Congreve & Kate Harding (Harlow Arts Trust), Verity-Jane Keefe, Katy Lock (Town and Country Planning Association), Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, Gingko Projects, Creative Folkstone, Whitstable Biennial, Ed Webb-Ingall, Public Works, Jes Fernie, Fiona Boundy, Independent Cinema Office and others.

In order to encourage attendance from local authorities, non profit organisations and arts professionals, we are offering bursaries to support travel and some expenses including childcare. Please email clstaunton@mkgallery.org for more information.

Programme

10:00   CAFÉ Registration and coffee

10:30   SKY ROOM Introductions

PANEL 1: POST WAR NEW TOWNS ART HISTORY     

10:35   Katy Lock (Town and Country Planning Association)

            Dr Alina Congreve & Kate Harding (Harlow Arts Trust)       

            Dr Su Fitzpatrick (York St John University/Warrington)

            CHAIR: Jes Fernie

PANEL 2: CREATIVE PLACE-MAKING

11:50   Dr Cara Courage (Tate Exchange)

            Dr Stephen Pritchard (Northumbria University)

            Sir Nicholas Serota (Arts Council England)

            CHAIR: Fiona Boundy (MK Council)

13:00   LUNCH

PANEL 3: ART AND CULTURE IN 21st CENTURY NEW TOWNS

14:00   Alastair Upton (Creative Folkstone/Otterpool)

            Kevin McGeough and Marc Jaffrey (Ebbsfleet Development Corporation)

            Tom Littlewood (Gingko Projects/Cranbrook)

            CHAIR: Katy Lock (TCPA)

15:05   BREAK OUT SESSIONS

a)      GALLERY 1: Exhibition tour by curators Fay Blanchard and Claire Louise Staunton with artist, Dr Ed Webb-Ingall

b)      SKY ROOM Discussion: Post-war New Town culture-led regeneration with Glassball, Mat Jenner (TACO!), and Harlow Arts Trust

c)      LEARNING SPACE Workshop: How to work together? Convened by Torange Khonsari/public works with Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, Marc Jaffrey and Whitstable Biennial

 16:05   COFFEE BREAK in the SKY ROOM

 16:25   GROUP FEEDBACK

 16:35   PANEL 4: ARTIST-LED PROPSALS FOR 21st CENTURY NEW TOWNS

            Assemble

            Zoe Sawyer (Eastside Projects)

            Barbara Holub (Transparadiso)

            Verity Jane Keefe

            CHAIR: Helen Nisbet (Art Night)

 17:55   Concluding remarks

 18:00   Break

 18:15   INDEPENDENT CINEMA OFFICE SCREENING: New Towns, Our Town  introduced by Senior Partnerships       Manager, Jemma Buckley