About Gap Filler
Gap Filler is a creative urban regeneration initiative that facilitates a wide range of temporary projects, events, installations and amenities in the city.
These short-term and comparatively small-scale projects are far less risky than new permanent developments – and consequently open up opportunities for experimentation: trying new ideas, pushing social boundaries, adopting participatory processes to get everyday people involved in creating their city. Working with local community groups, artists, architects, landowners, librarians, designers, students, engineers, dancers – anyone with an idea and initiative – we activate city spaces for temporary, creative, people-centred purposes.
By recycling materials, teaming up with suppliers, harnessing volunteer power and being creative, Gap Filler proves that the regeneration of the city does not rely solely on large-scale developments 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 society.
Ultimately, Gap Filler aims to innovate, lead and nurture people and ideas; contributing to conversations about city-making and urbanism in the 21st century.
Temporary, site-specific projects are still our core activity. But along the way we’ve realised that it’s the principles – especially of experimentation, adaptability and participation – that are most important. Doing temporary projects is one way of lowering the risk to enable those principles to shine, but we’re pursuing any means of fostering more experimentation and meaningful participation in the city, whether that’s through education and work in schools, partnering on large-scale permanent developments, working with Council to create an enabling regulatory framework and incentives for property owners to be more community-minded with the use of their vacant sites and buildings, or anything else in line with our principles.
- Civic Trust Award 2011
- Mayor’s Earthquake Service Award, 2011
- SHAC (Sustainable Habitat Challenge) Award, 2012
- Sustainable Business Network Social Innovation Awards, 2012
- BEST Design Awards, Silver (Exhibitions and Temporary Installations category) for the Pallet Pavilion, 2013
- Coralie Winn, New Year’s Honour list, Queen’s Service Medal for Service to the Arts, 2015
- Resene Architectural Design Awards, Finalist for Dance-O-Mat, 2012
- Coralie Winn (Gap Filler Director and Co-Founder), Finalist for NEXT Woman of the Year (Arts) 2013
- International Award for Public Art, 2015
- 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.
We also strive to honour the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti in our projects, approach and relationships. We believe in honouring the stories and histories of this place, Ōtautahi and its tangata whenua.
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.
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 is an organisation that’s committed to growing and nurturing people. All of our team have multiple ‘other’ lives as artists, educators, entrepreneurs, event organisers, parents, caterers, consultants, jewellers, community workers and more. For that reason, almost all of our team members are employed part-time. This makes for a diverse team with a range of interests and strengths and, we hope, makes for a healthier and more diverse organisation. Balance can be difficult to achieve, but we’re always trying.
Coralie Winn – Co-founder and director (currently on maternity leave)
Rachael Welfare – Operations director
Ryan Reynolds – Co-founder and strategic director
Richard Barnacle – Project coordinator
Sally Airey – Education and outreach
Hannah Airey – Wellbeing Activist and administration power
Simon Gurnsey – ‘The Man’ technical assistance and practical everything
Correna Davies – Activator
Trent Hiles – now mostly, kind of, retired but can’t seem to keep away and is rolling out some fun projects (like Big Ball!), mostly.
Here’s a wee bio on each of our staff and Board members. Each was written by someone else to get another perspective on each other’s character, and characters they are!
As the name suggests, Hannah Airey is an uplifting figure in the Gap Filler family and brings enthusiasm to all tasks. She’s our Wellbeing Activist, all-round administrator, works the finance books, updates the website and bakes ridiculously delicious brownies.
When Hannah’s not filling gaps and facilitating laughter workshops (yes! really!) she’s juggling family commitments, ticking things off her bucket list and eating apples by the sea. Hannah’s life mantra is: “Do what you would be done by” and she realises that every day through her work with Gap Filler.
The elder statesman of our board, Martin Trusttum balances his senior status with a vibrant energy for things creative and urban. Martin started his working journey in music before switching to fashion, where he ran a business for fifteen years followed by teaching at CPIT. Teaching morphed into a project-oriented role, putting on events and facilitating relationships into and out of CPIT. Recently this included initiating the Arts Hub within CPIT and leading Artbox. Martin brings with him a great combination of organisational experience, creative direction, people skills and business understanding, joined with a quick laugh, warmth and a good hug.
Ciaran Fox is the Chairperson of our Board. Ciaran is also a Mental Health Promoter with the Mental Health Foundation and has given us much valuable information and advice around community wellbeing and is always looking out for the wellbeing of our staff and fellow Board Members.
Ciaran is an artist of words and has been Master of Ceremonies at many of our community events. He has a warmth and caring about him that is a joy to be around.
Melissa Reimer is like the forbidden fruit: we were half-scared, half-desirous to invite her onto the board for her reputation as a ‘business-minded’ and killer saleswoman. She’s wicked smart, with a background (and PhD) in Art History, and brings an exciting-almost-neurotic energy to the board. She’s always entertaining, loves camping, is very happy when in Wanaka and hates having wet hands.
Sally Airey manages the education and youth programme for Gap Filler. Sally has formalised the work that Gap Filler does with young people and taken the Gap Filler message into schools and youth groups across the city. Sally has helped get funding for the education activities and run the programme in a way that has made the most of the money given. Sally started off as volunteer for Gap Filler and is a faithful advocate for what Gap Filler stands for.
Gap Filler co-founder and Director, Coralie Winn leads a team of six people in the creative activation of vacant sites around the city.
She is relationship-focused, creative and determined. Gap Filler’s success can be attributed to Coralie’s ability to engage and involve people from across the community in collaborative projects. She also enjoys dancing like an crazy person in public at the Dance-O-Mat.
Avid cyclist, cinematographer and wharf jumping enthusiast, it seems there isn’t much Richard Sewell hasn’t turned his hand to… One of the younger members of our team, Rich is a Project Co-ordinator as well being the go to person for web/open-sourcing/teach support. He has worked with artists on projects such as Giraffing Around, Faux Arcadia and Concrete Propositions and on community building projects such as RAD (Recycle a Dunger) Bikes, and Gap Golf. Rich is great at working with people young and old alike and is the driving force behind our volunteer offerings and internship programme.
Lance Edmonds is the Treasurer for the Trust Board. As an Associate for Kendons Chartered Accountants, Lance contributes his specialist expertise when it comes to trusts, business planning and performance, budgeting and cash flow forecasting and much more! Known for his easy-going manner, he’s regularly called upon for advice and has a knack for explaining financial things in layman’s terms that can be understood by all.
Trent Hiles was the lead project coordinator at Gap Filler (from Nov 2011 – March 2015), rolling out and overseeing Gap Filler projects. He brings his eye as an artist, skills as a handy-man and endless energy as a human dynamo to the role. His unflappable creativity, baking prowess, energy, wisdom, good humour and constant supply of cold/old toasted sandwiches make Trent an integral part of the Gap Filler team.
Dr Ryan Reynolds is one of the co-founders of the Gap Filler Trust and Strategic Director, this means Ryan has the difficult task of reining in wild discussions (while injecting some of the whackiest ideas himself). As a consultant he travels widely, speaking to councils, universities and other organisations about adaptive urbanism. He has endless enthusiasm and ideas and has worked relentlessly since the conception of Gap Filler, donating hundreds and hundreds of hours to the initiative.