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Discovery Quarter, Newcastle

How Art Can Make A Place by Katherine Hodgkinson & Cath Campbell

Discovery Quarter imagery. Photos by Michelle Allen, design by M. Lennon.

Photos by Michelle Allen, design by M. Lennon

The artist strategy is part of a broad consultation for the Discovery Quarter.The Discovery Quarter is an emerging regeneration scheme which is part of the broader city centre plan and the gateway to West Newcastle communities.

It forms a supplement to the ‘my city’ strategy and is intended to give guidance to the planning team, developers and policy makers. The artists’ consultation occurred during 2005-06 and was funded by Tyne&Wear Partnership, One Northeast and Newcastle City Council. The Discovery Quarter is presently completing its master plan study.

Curatorial statement

The Discovery Quarter scheme represents ambitious regeneration. The Discovery Quarter Lead Artist Project was implemented because I didn’t want artists pulled into the scheme at the end of the project. The Artist’s role should not be limited to a discussion about public art and furniture. Art should not be seen as a branding exercise. It’s imperative to have a broad discussion about the facilitation of well designed and active public spaces. Cultural practitioners need to be part of the leadership in this discussion so we move away from insular art strategies and outdated cultural plans.

Great cities are cultural laboratories, great cities give pleasure to their people in contemporary and urban terms. The role of the Discovery Quarter lead artists is to assist in establishing platforms for culture linked to the built environment, the aspirations of the city and the inclusion of the community. Their work anticipates, rather than establishes, the response of contemporary cultural practices within a scheme and the broader context of the city. The Discovery Quarter artists have given us a basis towards establishing a cultural infrastructure.

Matthew Lennon, NCC Urban Design Team Public Art officer

matthew.lennon@newcastle.gov.uk

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