Commissioner: Isis Waterside Regneration and Colliers International
The Waterways Renaissance National Awards 2013; Warwick Bar was nominated and selected as Runner Up in the category of Innovation. Presented at the ICC, Birmingham. The selection description is as follows: ‘a large mixed-use redevelopment of a Birmingham site was put on hold by the credit crunch. But rather than leave the site to decline, the management team (Isis, Colliers and MAAP) have worked closely with new and existing tenants to bring life back to Warwick Bar. Warwick Bar has become an inspirational and dynamic waterside destination’.
Cultural Champion, Arts & Business West Midlands; nomination by MAAP of Warwick Bar Client Mike Finkill
Finding the Finance free public workshop, with Daniel Carins, specialist economic development adviser for the social and cultural sector, looking at routes to locating and gaining external funding.
Open Doors at Banana Warehouse, open invitation and consultation with the social, cultural and SME sectors to share early stage ideas for the magnificent vacant Banana Warehouse, 4089sqft of void space with covered wharves on the Grand Union canal. Possible use as a large-scale fabrication & sculpture studio emerge through conversation with Eastside Project.
Warwick Bar Tenants and Partners Consultation, using permaculture principles
Initiated and co-facilitated with Hedvig Murray, Permaculture UK and Jayne Bradley, SenseCity
The 2 day workshop used permaculture principles (see www.permaculture.org.uk) which set out a design process that takes a systems view by seeing the world as a complex of interconnected social and technological systems embedded within a wider ecological landscape. The design process was participative and used approaches and methods that are tried and tested.
The premise of this approach was also to facilitate participants to take control and ownership of their part in the process and in determining where this role might lie. This approach differed markedly from traditional methods of consultation which requires mere comment or revisions on a pre-existing set of masterplans determined by city planning professionals.
Notes and Reflections
There was a consensus on five main themes that became the context for Warwick Bar’s first newsletter and key drivers for future development. Consensus decision-making identified the requirement to keep strong the diverse industrial and cultural mix at Warwick Bar; develop the site as a public destination by co-production and cross-marketing; look at ways to use renewable energy and heat solutions as units were practically unusable during the winter; and develop a closer relationship with the canal and waterside agencies to highlight the potential of the waterside location and canal networks.
The benefits of exercise were enormous, primarily reaffirming a set of values and ethics which would underpin future development. It also consolidated a viewpoint of the site through a lens of ‘appreciative appraisal’, rather than that of deficit and redundancy and which took in account the inter-related latent potential of human, environmental and physical capital on-site and in the Digbeth area.
This position was back-up in the UNEP Green Economy Report ‘Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication’ (Feb’ 2011) which provided a number of indicators which demonstrated the positive impact of redirecting activity and investment in greening the economy and resulted in economic growth and environmental sustainability.
A Special Event in support of Birmingham’s Festival of Contemporary Art with Birmingham Contemporary Arts Forum
Producer of arts & business event in support of The Event, in collaboration with Festival Director Cheryl Jones, and in partnership with Isis and Colliers International
The first public event at Warwick Bar was a collaboration with The Event, to support and extend audiences to Birmingham’s visual arts festival. Opening up Unit 11 and flooding Ikon’s IYP Slow Boat with acid green light to match the livery of the festival, the business community were introduced to the festival, its artists, curator and the programme.
Early Stage Enquiry & Open Doors event at Warwick Bar
Devised and ran engagement events with Birmingham’s cultural sector, in association with Jayne Bradley, SenseCity
New canal mooring for Ikon Youth Programme’s Slow Boat Programme
Initiated a partnership with Ikon to open up and refurbished the Minerva Works’ walled canalside to create a new mooring and public realm setting for their canalboat and artist-led youth programme. Design undertaken by K4 Architects and completed summer 2011.
Cultural Animation of Warwick Bar: commissioned by Isis Waterside Regeneration in partnership with Colliers International. Initial 6 month contract
Principles and Values for Warwick Bar as set out in MAAP commissioning brief
A framework for a cultural animation programme will be developed to facilitate a diverse and imaginative range of programmed, participatory and self-organised activities, the values of which are to;
work at the fine-grain of the arts infrastructure and local business, and use a ‘slow-growth’ ethos for its revitalization in the long term
create programmes that are specific to the site and its context (people, environmental, physical) taking a starting point from its distinctive waterside and industrial features
develop creative approaches that are engaging, participatory, imaginative and fun
partner with local arts, social and higher education infrastructure to produce high-quality and contemporary responses to site and audience
enhance the cultural ‘brand’ of the site at the earliest opportunity as a work/social destination.