About Gap Filler
Gap Filler is a creative urban regeneration initiative started in response to the September 4, 2010 Canterbury earthquake, and revised and expanded in light of the more destructive February 22, 2011 quake. It is now administered by the Gap Filler Charitable Trust.
Gap Filler aims to temporarily activate vacant sites within Christchurch with creative projects for community benefit, to make for a more interesting, dynamic and vibrant city.
Gap Filler will see vacant sites – awaiting redevelopment as a result of the many earthquakes or otherwise – utilised 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! We lower the barriers, by handling the legal contracts and liability insurance, to help ideas become a reality.
Gap Filler is temporary in nature, seeking to activate vacant sites for relatively short periods, to demonstrate that the city can grow in important ways without large capital expenditure or major construction. Gap Filler projects can pop up as spaces become available around the city. All projects will be able to occupy or vacate a site quickly.
With smaller-scale temporary projects, the community gets to try out new ideas and create a dynamic for experimentation. Together, we can work out what works by actually doing it, not just talking about it. Some projects might disappoint, but an unsuccessful project on this level costs relatively little time and money, and can help avoid a much costlier failure in the city rebuild. So, in addition to enlivening and enriching the cultural life of the city, these projects are utterly practical.
We seek to involve members of the community and volunteers in our projects at any stage, from suggesting ideas to the design, preparation, installation and maintenance of sites. In this way we hope to help connect people with their city and provide opportunities to have a stake in the city right now.
Christchurch needs our help! There are wonderful ideas for the future city, but that’s a long way off and many people need reasons to stay now. Gap Filler gives everyday people a way to contribute to the city’s regeneration instead of passively waiting for the professionals to do the job. 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).
People, People, People – it’s all about people who make things happen!
The Gap Filler Trust Board is Dr Ryan Reynolds (chair), Lance Edmonds (treasurer), Andrew Just, Ciarán Fox, Lydia Baxendell, Martin Trusttum and Melissa Reimer.
Gap Filler now has 5 paid staff (3 full time equivalents), after starting as an entirely voluntary initiative. This is as a result of funding that has come from:
Christchurch City Council, Creative New Zealand, Canterbury Community Trust, Todd Foundation, Tindall Foundation, Te Whanau Trust, Community Arts Funding Scheme, Christchurch Creative Communities, Earthquake Appeal Trust and various donations (including $10K plus from Urban Paving’s SILTY fundraiser). WE THANK YOU!
The Gap Filler team:
Coralie Winn – Gap Filler Co-Founder and Creative Director – full-time
Trent Hiles – Lead Project Coordinator
Richard Sewell - Project Coordinator
Hannah Airey – Administration and general miscellaneous tasks!
Sally Airey – Education Outreach Officer
We 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.
We 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.
We 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.
We esteem the spirit of innovation, exploring new ways of engaging, creating and realising ideas, honouring and promoting the arts and artistic practice and process.
We understand and value resourcefulness as meaning both adaptability and a commitment to re-use, re-purpose and recycle wherever possible.
We 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.
To establish a distinct and vibrant culture of innovation and creativity in activated urban space.