Emerging from the rubble of the Christchurch earthquakes, Gap Filler brings vacant sites – awaiting redevelopment due to one of the many earthquakes – back to life with a variety of temporary creative projects and events. Some of these include art installations, community spaces, a book exchange in a glass-fronted fridge, a bicycle powered cinema and even a dance floor on a vacant site with coin-operated lighting and sound. Staff and Volunteers of Gap Filler are doing this for community benefit, to establish a distinct and vibrant culture of innovation and creativity in activated urban space; therefore making the city of Christchurch dynamic, interesting and energised.
Gap Filler staff, a core team of Christchurch residents with mixed skills and interests, and their many volunteers work with local community groups, landowners, students and their teachers, businesses, artists, designers, and engineers on their projects. They actively seek to involve members of the community in design, preparations, installation and maintenance of projects, while handling legal contracts and liability insurance on their behalf.
In the words of Coralie Winn of Gap Filler: The response from local people has been “extremely positive because for people to see something happening on a vacant site is very powerful. It makes them feel hopeful and also encourages them to be positive. It’s been so bad, so severe and so sad, what can you do but try and turn it around and adapt and change and really engage with what has happened head on? Rather than try to go back to what was, because what was will never be again.”
Gap Filler projects pop up as spaces become available around Christchurch, demonstrating that the city can grow in important ways without large capital expenditure or major construction. The Tindall Foundation is funding Gap Filler to continue to run the organisation, as we recognise the work as a genuine people-centred initiative, focusing on community engagement within the recovery process.
Email: Coralie Winn