....Research Topics and Speculation about Art and Public Space by Scottish Citizen and artist Matt Baker

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

regeneration stories

On Monday 18th May I took part in a round table discussion about the Future of Regeneration in the Scottish Context. In the room were an excellent bunch of diverse folk with an interest and experience in the topic and particularly how the idea of regeneration is expressed in the way we conceive of 'place'.


There is a good commentary on the themes of the discussion at Julian Dobson's Blog 'Living with Rats' and ongoing discussion on Twitter @regenfuture

My problem with this sort of discussion usually is that I genuinely do not understand how work 'on the ground' that is specific to context can be translated into a centralised strategic approach ie an approach that creates the general conditions that allows the specific to happen.

I was delighted that our discussion centred on the important characteristics of the specific - the story, the trust, the risk, the individuals and the group. In so doing we were able to build exactly those things within our room (ie live within our self-created context) instead of trying to create a set of 'one-size-fits-all-rules' for the world outside.
By adopting this approach I think we made a significant statement about the Scottish Context for regeneration - we talked about small-scale and genuine projects such as Neilston, Inverness and the island of Gigha.

There was optimism in the room that the new climate of reduced funding for 'megaschemes' could be an amazing opportunity for grassroots initiatives to flourish in the spirit of the crofting tradition of mend and make do.

We are hopeful that this group might continue in some form yet to be defined - in the meantime I'd recommend Local People Leading as a good resource for small scale initiatives in Scotland.

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