We’ve set up all sorts of projects with Revolutionary Arts. One, Empty Shops Network, has made the case for town centres, and it’s now accepted that we should be reusing spaces on our High Streets for something more interesting.
Projects like Workshop 1a and Workshop 24 tested the ‘agora’ idea, Retail Ready People gave young people a voice in the debate about tomorrow’s High Street, and I’ve just curated the Amy Winehouse Foundation’s pop up shop in Camden. All that experience meant that I was asked to write a book, Pop Up Business For Dummies – seeing it in a bookshop for the first time was rather special.
Starting #riotcleanup in August 2011 meant I got to hang out with some great people, And building on that experience, Revolutionary Arts got funding for #wewillgather and used it to test, prototype and try new ideas around getting people together to do good things. It’s shown that people love the places they live, and are willing to roll their sleeves up and make change happen.
Travelling to talk about these ideas and to help people start their own projects, I’ve seen more of England than ever before. I’ve fallen in love with some of the places people never tell you that you should visit – Boston, Coventry, Leeds, Margate, Rochdale, Southsea. Trips to Belfast, Rotterdam, Stresa, and Newcastle in Australia have been experiences which I’ll never forget. I’ve been to 10 Downing Street, watched the New Year fireworks from the roof of the BBC’s Bush House, and went to the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Better than the places were the people I’ve met; inspiring, challenging, entertaining.
I’ve been feeling a little bit like that work’s done. I need a fresh challenge, new angels to wrestle with, another unexplored corner of the map. And I’d like your help. So – as Jed Bartlett would say, what’s next?
You can tell from this site what I’m interested in, and the skills, knowledge and experience I have. You might have heard me talk, seen me on telly, or read something I’ve written.
I’m interested in architecture, in the problems around housing, in cycling and the infrastructure that goes with it, in the return of small-scale manufacture, in local distinctiveness, in easy listening music, in going back to Newcastle NSW for a longer visit, in writing about England, in looking at the working class culture I grew up in, in working with young people, in Mod style, in reusing old buildings, in design and typography, in making social media useful, in tomorrow’s High Street, and in taking a DIY approach to problems. I’m looking for fresh challenges, new collaborations and further adventures. Want to talk about something?