2018 year notes – from cities of the future to rural enterprise networks

10 January 2019 Dee Halligan

2018 surpassed any year to date for the breadth and depth of our projects; and we were excited to mix up our familiar cultural and heritage sector clients with those with a commercial, corporate and technological focus. 

The challenge we bring to clients is consistent: are they asking the right questions? How are they answering the call of a changing world? How can they use creativity to interrupt business as usual and deliver the change they know is necessary? And within this process, how can they prioritise people. 

Here’s a glimpse of our year, and our heady tour through the future of cities, rural enterprise, tropical destinations, the high street, universities and schools. Anything we’ve missed?  

  • Start as you mean to go on: January saw us kick off a research project into the future of cities, working with a world class designer and University of Georgetown economist, we speculated about new tools and infrastructure which might support the high quality of personal, social and cultural life critical to any city’s population.
  • In February we published our study into possible futures for Craft Makerspaces, working with the CCCD in Asheville, North Carolina and a panel of international experts.
  • In March we received funding from the Royal Academy of Engineers to explore a new format for community engagement focused on creative problem solving. This was later to become FixCamp, a design and engineering summer activity programme we devised and delivered full to busting of hands-on brains-on activities. We went on to welcome children from 48 schools in south London to learn skills and imagine futures for living well together in ever-crowding cities. The highlight of our (and 200 kids’) summer – relive it in this fab film!
  • In April we were tasked with shaping a global vision for renewal in a huge redevelopment in Downtown Los Angeles.
  • This was the year that kept on giving. We finished the year working on 3 different projects united only in their creative ambition. One considered the urban high street – a huge development in a high profile part of London, another rural enterprise networks, considering future possibilities for decentralised activity. The last considered the future of tourism, exploring new ways to structure a resort experience, balancing tourism, local needs, cultural connection and ecological respect. Mirroring each other in many ways, all 3 projects had more in common than you might think!

What did we learn? The single clearest message might be a growing recognition that existing models are walking wounded, if not zombies. And from a client briefing point of view it’s all up for grabs. No one is certain any more, and clients are prepared to, or perhaps preparing to, consider big risks.. Whether, or when, they’ll choose to take those jumps is another question- we’re seeing more talk than action right now. But we think it’s just a matter of time..

External Links

A gathering of thought leaders in the fields and associated disciplines to discuss, share knowledge, and make recommendations on relevant topics to the field of craft.

We worked with Dartington Estate to understand and devise ways to organise their rural enterprise programmes.

BrixtonBuzz is now by far the biggest and most comprehensive news and listings site for Brixton and the surrounding area.