On the 7th July 2007, over 200 members of the public gathered in Chapelfield Gardens to review and add to the many ideas and proposals we had gathered about how to improve this much-loved public space. The People Speak provided them with a dynamic, entertaining direct democracy game-show to decide on which ideas to take forwards.
We began by gathering ideas from people in the park. There were many ideas and suggestions from many enthusiastic people.
The ideas included:
These ideas were collected into a video that was shown before the game show during the Chapelfield of Dreams event and online.
We then worked with Fruitful Arts, students from Norwich School of Art and Design and City College Norwich, as well as children from Earlham School to develop those
ideas into visualisations. We ran a series of discussion events around the Talkaoke table at each campus, and gathered more ideas and feedback from students.
All the ideas so far were then worked into an interactive 3d map of the park and the ideas, which we put online with videos at http://whowantstobe.co.uk/map/ so that people would have a chance to see and respond to the ideas before the event. During the event, over 200 people gathered in Chapelfield Gardens and participated in a direct democracy game show, shaping and amending the ideas we had gathered into a new proposal.
The ideas that emerged on the day synthesised lots of the ideas put forward earlier, and brought different groups of park users into contact with one another.
Although there were differences of opinion on many issues, especially between generations, the eventual points of agreement were that the park should be made safer by encouraging more positive uses of the neglected spaces such as the bandstand – encouraging local bands and performers to use it as an outdoor music venue. There was also agreement that some kind of facility for young people such as a small skate park would help with this. In general, all the different groups felt that encouraging positive and creative uses of the park by each different group would help reduce the high perception of antisocial behaviour in Chapelfield Gardens.
Having run an event in the park, and got such good feedback and responses, we felt that regular public events and use of the bandstand as a cheaply and easily available small scale venue to showcase local talent, brass bands and other entertainment would be a very positive influence.
After the project, the commissioners had this to say:
“The People Speak offers an extraordinarily innovative and technologically exciting approach to socially engaged public art that enables ordinary people to feel energised, excited and fully involved in the process. Our ‘Chapelfield of Dreams’ project in Norwich gripped 300 people, most of them under 25, for nearly four hours in an open air game of ‘Who Wants To Be’ that allowed them to imagine their own vision for the park. Highly recommended!”
Nicky Adamson, director of The Garage arts centre.
Chapelfield of Dreams was a project by The People Speak, as part of Contemporary Art Norwich ’07, in collaboration with The Garage, Norwich School of Art and Design, Earlham School and City College Norwich.