Art and community project at an interface in North Belfast
April 2013 - August 2014
Temporary Places is a community and art
project in North Belfast at two interface areas, New Lodge and
Skegoneill/ Glandore. It started in 2013 and was organised
by New Lodge Arts, PS² and Skegoneill & Glandore Common Purpose. Temporary Places was and still is a project about social and urban
regeneration, partly through familiar strategies and activities and
partly through more unorthodox, direct and creative interventions. It is
an art and community project for all residents and the wider
The initial Temporary Places project lasted for about six months between spring and summer 2013.
With its different strands- the culture shop; the container workshops; the community garden - it not only provided ‘temporary’ space for activities, it also opened up insights into the social fabric of the neighbourhood, desires and hopes, frustrations and conflicts.
By the end of the project, the containers were removed, but the culture shop remained and is still active and the community garden garden, later named PeasPark, is still an open space for activities, social encounters, gardening, art making and leisure.
Temporary Places’ worked on two locations, the Culture Shop at the Ashton Centre, 5 Churchill Street, Belfast and the container hub and community garden at the roundabout Glandore Avenue/ Skegoneill Avenue and consisted of three different strands:
– the use of a vacant shop in the Ashton centre, New Lodge, as a Culture Shop
– the placement of a container hub at the junction of Glandore Avenue and Skegoneill Avenue
– the conversion of a wasteland to an open community garden as an additional project.
Both sites are at interfaces and are
used as surprising, flexible, neutral and open place for art programmes,
actions, interventions, happenings and fun. As small and
colourful landmarks, these temporary spaces serve as artist hub,
community centre and basis for explorations and interventions within the
area. The programme and activities incorporated interests, desires and
existing cultural practices of the communities i.e. crafts, games,
sports, computing… Using different degrees of participation, these
interests were explored, broadened and translated into clear
projects, with a strong focus on creativity, development of skills, team
working and shared ownership.
A former shopping unit at the Ashton Centre is/ was reclaimed as workplace and studio for artists and cultural workers.
After an open call and selection process, four artists were chosen to use the space for one month each. The culture shop was seen as an open and publicly exposed place of creative production, be it installation, film, happening, social actions, short initiatives and more. The work invited and encouraged participation of the neighbourhood and radiated to its surroundings. This was done through workshops, opening hours, active collaborations with individuals or community groups. Culture shop was a test for artists and the surrounding community alike and an experiment in new forms of participation, local creative skills, empowerment, the relevance of art and its social responsibilities.
Project artists: Joanna Hopkins, Laura O’Connor, Mairead Dunne, Duncan Ross, Yvonne Kennan.
The container hub at the roundabout Glandore Avenue/ Skegoneill made use of and empty site opposite an existing container shop (Sina’s shop). A small container which
served as a small landmark, meeting place and storage was placed in
April and painted in a series of workshops by young people. In July, a
30ft office container arrived and was set next to the community garden.
It has/had a generator, tables and seats and is/was used for
workshops, making it an ideal neutral and exciting temporary place, in
the midst of wildlife and visible for everyone.
Project artists: Charlotte Bosanquet, Duncan Ross, Paddy Bloomer, Philip Hession
Community garden (PeasPark)
centre for creativity/ work station
Although the garden was not part of the
initial project and application, it was quickly realized that this
empty wasteland was ideal for a community garden. To clear the site and work together on a garden project was seen as a natural starting point for change and community initiative in and with the
neighbourhood: a visible sign for change. Currently there are about 10 committed gardeners and families involved in this very much
community driven, non organisational project. Through time- and more
children- parts of the site became an adventure playground (with a tepee), wildlife area and BBQ corner.
All involved want to continue and expand the community garden/ adventure playground and started consultation meetings.
Temporary Places project is supported by Belfast City Council’s Creative Legacies II programme, part of the Belfast PEACE III Plan by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the PEACE III Programme