Wide Open Space

Wide Open Space

Wide Open Space aimed to develop a programme of strategic public art projects which place Dorset at the forefront of a new rural cultural agenda. These projects will add to existing evidence that art, craft and design contribute to making a better environment, creating sustainable communities, enhancing local distinctiveness and adding to our overall wellbeing. It is hoped they will place the county at the forefront of a new rural cultural agenda. It was an initiative of the Dorset Design and Heritage Forum, curated by Alex Murdin in association with Willis Newson and supported by funding from Arts Council England and Dorset County Council.

London Fieldworks proposal for Chickerell

London Fieldworks proposal for Chickerell

It is hoped that these case studies will add to existing evidence that art, craft and design contribute to making a better environment, creating sustainable communities, enhancing local distinctiveness and adding to our overall wellbeing.

This work has been implemented through the commissioning of four research projects / case studies based around these themes and a wider educational and advocacy programme in Dorset.

In order to help people in Dorset and further afield consider these issues and to develop their own projects these pages provide information on these themes, use the 4 commissioned projects as examples of what is possible and provide some practical advice on commissioning artists. They also include information on two conferences organised by the Dorset Design and Heritage Forum in 2011 which emphasised the ongoing need for adventurous partnerships who create spaces and places that allow for what is different, sublime and unexpected.

Themes
Sustainability & design quality / public space 
Creative engagement / rural housing 
Traditional materials / innovative design 
Collaborative design / protected landscapes

Case studies
Rural roads protocol – Michael Pinsky
Intergeneration – London Fieldworks
Road for the future – Anna Best
Common places – ZMMA and Simon Thomas Pirie

Information
The case for art in public places – values & evaluation
Creative community planning
Practicalities, project management and funding

Wide Open Space Conference May 2011

A conference looking at the contribution of artists, architects and designers to public and private places and spaces at a time of radical change for rural counties and their communities.
Key themes of the conference were: Localism, enabling community planning and enhancing housing projects; creating new, intergenerational, common spaces in the countryside; enhancing sensitive landscapes/roadscapes and relational infrastructure; tourism, heritage interpretation and public space in market towns and villages. Contributions from Professor Malcolm Miles, Oliver Letwin MP, Maggie Bolt, Stephen Ratcliffe – included Art by Committee gameshow by The People Speak.

Healthy Communities and Sustainable Places (2011)

Healthy Communities and Sustainable Places was commissioned by Arts and Health South West and the Dorset Design and Heritage Forum and organised by Willis Newson. Held in February 2011 this one day looked at how can the arts reduce social isolation, improve community capital, encourage active travel and physical exercise and improve the food environment. The conference showcased an inspirational range of successful and effective arts-based approaches to creating healthy and sustainable places – post conference documentation  of presentations, a review of evidence and a podcast is on the Willis Newson site.

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