The N3: Nature/Neighbourhood/Network project was a partnership over three years between the Dorset Design and Heritage Forum, Dorset AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), Dorset County Council and North Dorset District Council, curated by Alex Murdin with Ginkgo Projects & Suzanne Heath. Its objectives were to: stimulate a greater sense of local ownership of Dorset’s built and natural environment; support neighbourhood activism to improve public places and spaces for the benefit of all; demonstrate the value of cross-sector collaboration – public, private and civic sectors – for public art projects. It involved the delivery of four action research projects, work with new commissioners and a range of public engagement.
Artists/architects were We Made That, Parasite Ceramics, Something & Son and Screenplay working with Dorchester Business Improvement District, Synergy Housing, Dorset Wildlife Trust and Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan.
“We have been very pleased to be part of this innovative project… [as a scientist] why would I be interested in working with artists with a bunch of agendas and no real understanding of the real world ? Why would artists be interested in working with a bunch of tree hugging geeks ? …having a different culture was a fantastic help to getting people to get into our research.” Simon Cripps, Director, Dorset Wildlife Trust
Outputs of the project included: the new guidance, “Creativity in Community Led Planning” outlining how communities might engage with the planning process more creatively which has been taken notice of nationally as a model of public art’s potential as consultation process within the new localism agenda; new and reinforced local networks with those concerned with the built and natural environment, generating debate about the role of artists in the planning process and proposals for further information sharing and joint projects – connecting public art in the county to emerging economic, environmental and social agendas (e.g., through cultural tourism, housing and transport projects).