One of my greatest inspirations is the Renew Newcastle project who have been doing meanwhile massively in the hollowed-out heart of ex-industrial Newcastle, New South Wales for two years. This is Newcastle…
They’ve changed the town centre so much that Novocastrians (as they call themselves) seeing the pics have said they must be photoshopped because they can’t believe so much life could be going on in the town centre! Led by Marcus Westbury – a Novo himself, Marcus founded the successful TINA (This is Not Art) festival writes for The Age, and is a renowned critic, thinker and doer. The Meanwhile Project in the UK has learnt/borrowed a lot from them – including our see-through transparent logo for project windows. I got to visit at a perfect time when the TINA festival was on and got a full tour of all the shops which were truly wonderful. My favourites were the tea shop with two determined women getting a chance to try something and the mad installation where a small remote-controlled car with a stylus attached is driven around over loads of vinyl records on the floor and somehow manages to ‘play’ them onto a sound system…yes, really!
And I loved their transparent signs that each shop put on the window and then painted with different colours and styles behind to make it their own. We adopted something similar for the Meanwhile Project
Renew Newcastle have been working with the main town centre property owner GPT. See the links for the latest challenges.
But they will weather it and no doubt get stronger. As the indomitable Marni Jackson says: the project will continue to inject life and interest into Newcastle’s boarded-up CBD. “While a plan to dramatically change Newcastle is good for the city we have always been a ‘meantime’ project,” she said. “We are just going to keep doing our thing – we complement what’s going on right now in the city.”