Renew Newcastle

After 106 projects, Renew Newcastle have turned the hollowed-out centre of their New South Wales city into a vibrant place again. Empty Shops Network founder Dan Thompson was in the city for the Creating Spaces conference.

‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time’ TS Eliot

P1050553There are three answers to the question (often asked) ‘yes, but what do is your actual job?’ The first, the most honest, is that I’m a social artist. The second, for people who wear suits, is that I’m a consultant. The third, the most secret, is that I’m an explorer.

I’ve been to dozens of towns and cities across Great Britain, discovering insane buildings in Leeds and unusual history in Coventry; I have spent a few short days in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, places that let DIY culture get under the paving slabs; I’ve wandered through an Italian village that was like Portmeirion without the rain. The furthest I’ve been in my exploring, though, was my recent visit to Newcastle…

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