Gap Filler is a creative urban regeneration initiative that temporarily activates vacant sites within Christchurch with cool and creative projects, to make for a more interesting and vibrant city.
We utilise vacant sites and spaces for temporary, creative, people-centred purposes. We work with local community groups, artists, architects, landowners, librarians, designers, students, engineers, dancers – anyone with an idea and initiative.
By recycling materials, harnessing volunteer power and being creative, Gap Filler proves the regeneration of the city does not only rely on large-scale development by the private or public sectors. Great things can be achieved with community power and resourcefulness; we can be flexible and swift in adapting to our changing city, meaning our projects will always provide contemporary reflection on the state of Christchurch’s rebuild.
Gap Filler gives Christchurch people an opportunity to contribute to their city’s regeneration. Site-specific projects can help us celebrate, mourn and criticise all that we’ve lost; can help us play, experiment and toy with ideas for the future; can make otherwise empty areas active; and can ultimately pave the way in the revitalisation of the city (without using pavement).
- Community EngagementWe believe in encouraging and promoting community spirit, growth and awareness by assisting people to experience and participate in artistic projects. We believe that vacant land and buildings present opportunities; through developing and investing in gap sites, communities will recognise the value of social/cultural activities and communal endeavour in building social capital and resilience, stimulating economic development and creating connectedness. We feel that ‘community spirit’ is necessarily related to the idea of ‘the public good’: communities are strongest when working for public benefit, social capital and a flourishing environment.
- ExperimentationWe value trying out new things and not repeating ourselves, taking calculated risks to lead by example with high productivity and turnover of projects. We want to draw on the opportunities presented by each site, neighbour, business, community and individual involved.
- LeadershipWe believe in leadership, expressing our values through fearless implementation – by doing. We want to celebrate playfulness, hope, critique and positivity. We are living out our values in, and contributing to, a flourishing city.
- CreativityWe esteem the spirit of innovation, exploring new ways of engaging, creating and realising ideas, honouring and promoting the arts and artistic practice and process.
- ResourcefulnessWe understand and value resourcefulness as meaning both adaptability and a commitment to re-use, re-purpose and recycle wherever possible.
- CollaborationWe believe in seeking out partners to implement ideas together, as well as co-operating to realise others’ ideas. We feel that collaboration unlocks creative potential.
Gap Filler was initially formed in response to the September 2010 earthquake in Christchurch, then expanded after the February 2011 quake. It is supported by the Gap Filler Trust and is a registered charity.
Our first project ran from Thursday 25 November until Sunday 5 December, 2010 and involved us transforming an empty site on Colombo Street into a space which hosted a temporary garden café, petanque, live music, poetry readings, outdoor cinema and more. The project was incredibly well-received and utilised, which led to further projects including art installations, concerts, workshop spaces and eventually semi-permanent structures such as the Pallet Pavilion, RAD Bikes and the Dance-O-Mat. All of our previous projects can be read about here.
Gap Filler Volunteers
Hundreds of amazing people have made the Gap Filler projects possible. There are far too many to name but all contribute their bit.
The Gap Filler Trust Board
Dr Ryan Reynolds (chair), Lance Edmonds (treasurer), Andrew Just, Ciarán Fox, Lydia Baxendell (currently on maternity leave til 2015), Martin Trusttum, Melissa Reimer and Katrina Hunter.
Gap Filler Staff
Gap Filler was initially run entirely by volunteers, but as the volume and scale of our work increased, we were able to secure funding for a core team of staff to make it all possible.
Gap Filler now has 7 paid staff who work the equivalent of 3.7 full time equivalent staff:
Coralie Winn – Gap Filler Co-Founder and Creative Director
Trent Hiles – Lead Project Coordinator
Richard Sewell – Project Coordinator
Hannah Airey – Administration and General Miscellaneous Tasks
Sally Airey – Education and Outreach
Claire Cowles – Sponsorship and Fundraising
Rosaria Ferguson – Assistant Project Coordinator