Ashford's Future

Ashford's Future

Location: Greater Ashford Area
Role: Artist in Residence to the Masterplan
Date: 17th April 2004 - 30th November 2005
Client: Ashford Borough Council/Kent County Council
Commissioning Body: Arts Council England
Collaborating Organisation(s): Office of Deputy Prime-Minister, SEEDA, Ashford's Future, English Partnerships

A pioneering attempt to enable artists' involvement at Design Team Level of a Masterplan.

Historically it has been rare for artists to influence policy decisions in masterplanning. Usually they are commissioned much later on in the process by being asked to produce specific artworks. To involve an artist at a far earlier stage provided this Design Team with the opportunity to challenge systemic fears and assumptions about public art. A demanding and discursive process ensued.

Since this consultancy CABE, Public Arts South West and other agencies have developed strategic programmes to embed artists within Masterplanning and Architectural Design Teams as an accepted and legitimate role.

Written soon after the end of the residency period, David attempted to summarise some of his experiences in an unpublished report. Rather than being a document for the public domain, it was initially helpful as a method of reflection on the immersive and complex consultancy undertaken over the previous 18 months. This piece of writing can now be downloaded and viewed here.

Selected Key Outcomes include:

  • Commissioned Cultural Chapter for GADF masterplan and helped develop content with consultants;
  • Raised profile of cultural projects to key organisations, namely SEEDA, EP, KCC & Ashford’s Future Core Delivery Team;
  • Work with legal and maintenance departments to develop frameworks for contracts and appointment processes of artists;
  • Securing funding and established precedents for commissioning of artists and designers within Council led development. This included early-win commissions for the lighting project, 'The Long Walk' between the Station and public art commission within Stour Centre development;
  • Won consensus for a combined public art commissioning process for KCC Ring Road highways project. Developed the mandate and brief for the appointment of an arts consultant, to oversee the commissioning of artwork throughout the Ring Road project;
  • Secured Cabe Space support to mentor Highways Department in the development of art and engineering collaborative practices.
  • Collaborated on the authoring of the Public Realm Strategy and wrote development Public Art Strategy.
  • Devised project, wrote commission brief and appointed the artist, Simeon Nelson, to work in collaborative team with landscape architect and engineers for Bank Street and develop the new work Flume;
  • Commitment form Alan Baxter Assoc and KCC to fund artistic value of 5% for art.
  • Collective agreement between SEEDA and KCC to pool budgets and collaborate on artistic commissions.

A full list of outcomes is included in the article referred to above.


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