AirSpace Gallery transforms into the Brownfield Research Centre, to investigate the current state of and potential future for the city's open brownfield spaces.
Brownfield - The Definitions
adjective: brownfield; adjective: brown-field
1. vacant or derelict land or property, usually industrial in nature.
2. denoting or relating to urban sites for potential building development that have had previous development on them, as opposed to greenfield land, which has never been built upon.
3. in the United Kingdom, often conflated with the technical term 'previously developed land' (PDL). PDL was originally defined in planning policy for housing development in England and Wales, and was carefully distinguished in such policy from 'brownfield', which was undefined but considered to be different. The two terms ‘brownfield” and “previous developed land” are now used interchangeably.
AirSpace Gallery Definition
adjective: brownfield; adjective: brown-field
1. vacant or derelict land which, through wilful nhuman neglect, and intentional barricading, has been successfully reclaimed by nature, developing thriving and important natural ecosystems, and acts as a model for future use as urban centre greenspace.
The Brownfield Research Centre
It is our contention at AirSpace that the future for provincial city centres, is not going to be based around traditional retail, and so we need to find new sustainable purposes for our urban zones. Like many other former industrial cities, and exacerbated by a failed housing renewal scheme, Stoke-on-Trent has physically emptied out over the last two decades, as industrial buildings and former residences have been demolished. Invariably the resulting land has been cordoned off – with Heras or Pallisade fencing, allowing Nature to reclaim the land.
For many, these areas are ugly, gaining a reputation as eyesores, and dens of iniquity, used if anything by the city’s homeless or for nefarious purposes. However, there is an alternate view. They can be seen as thriving natural ecosystems, home to a series of itinerant native plants, such as Coltsfoot, Buddleia, Tansy and Rosebay. More than that, we believe this successful natural reclamation can point the way to a new future for our city. What if – at least in their interim, we managed these spaces as City Centre Parkland, offering these native species the chance to thrive and cultivate, and simultaneously offering visitors to our city the chance to do the same.
Stoke-on-Trent has a history of successfully Greening former toxic land, as Hanley Forest Park and half of the 1986 Garden Festival Site, 20 years on, are now successful rural idylls in the heart of our city, turning the toxicity of their former occupants – Steel and Coal mining, into areas of Local Beauty. This is a model which we can learn from and repeat right in the centre of our city centres.
AirSpace gallery will split into 3 zones for this activity.
1. Exhibition Space
- we will exhibit works by each of the 6 resident artists - Rodrigo Arteaga, Edward Chell, Rebecca Chesney, Anna Francis, Lucy McLauchlan and Vicky Sharples.
2. The Research Centre
- From an open call, we will display both physically in the specially designed research centre, and via our online resources, the works of any artist working in this area who wishes to submit their works for inclusion. **
3. Residency Space
In order to properly understand these sites and their possibilities we need to carry out some research. And so, for 6 weeks in the summer of 2018, AirSpace Gallery will transform into a Brownfield Research Centre, as we invite 6 artists, working in different disciplines, to the city to carry out consecutive 1 week residencies, tasked with exploring the current situation of and future potential for the ubiquitous Brownfield.
The Brownfield Centre Residency Line-Up
June 16th to 21st - Lucy McLauchlan
June 26th to 30th - Rebecca Chesney
July 2nd to 7th - Rodrigo Arteaga
July 10th to 14th - Edward Chell
July 17th to 21st - Victoria Sharples
July 2nd to 21st - Anna Francis
(5 Floating Days)
July 21st and 22nd - The Oasis Social Club
(TOSC) with Rebecca Davies
July 22nd 1pm to 3pm - Brownfield Discussion (in the TOSC)
Each Resident will be tasked with exploring the Brownfield and producing a proposal for a brand new piece of work in response, for exhibition in a proposed Grand exhibition in association and partnership with the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Spring 2020.
Additionally, at the end of the period, a panel will select and invite one artist from the Open Call to producing a proposal for a brand new piece of work in response, for exhibition in a proposed Grand exhibition in association and partnership with the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Spring 2020, alongside our 6 Residency artists.
: in Spring Summer 2019, we intend to build on the initial findings of our artists, and extend our remit by carrying out a series of Multi-disciplinary Bio Blitzes.