Agenda item

Presentation on Interwoven and Place Making

Jo Jo Spinks to attend to outline the work of Interwoven and Place Making, particularly using the arts, with examples of her work in Exeter including work in Heavitree, linking with the university, Councillors and the local community.


(Place making - a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Place making capitalises on a local community asset, inspiration and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being).



JoJo Spinks attended the meeting and provided a PowerPoint presentation and outlined the work of Interwoven and Place Making which used a multi-faceted approach to community led projects, by orchestrating community planning, design and management of public spaces or within a local community to promote health, happiness and wellbeing.


The approach adopted from the very beginning included the following:-


·         cross disciplinary approach to enable bonds and connections to be made in order to make progress.


·         a strong participatory model which could include anything from the views, thoughts and involvement of individuals in the local area.


·         an awareness of the Place-led model to explore in a one square kilometre space, or the phrase they have coined of ‘squilometre’, which is co-created by participants and by nominated projects made by residents.


There have been projects around the city starting in Heavitree and others have followed in St Thomas, Polsloe, the West Quarter and St David’s.  Ms Spinks outlined the main premise for the projects which operate in a ‘squilometre’, with nominations from residents, which can be as simple as exploring a street or small area, or even an inanimate object.  A steering group or ‘pod’ is formed, which remains open for the duration of the project expected to be six to nine 9 months in duration and should close with a sharing event with everything they found out about their place and project. The projects have been completely self-sustaining and not dependent on funding from external bodies, and was one of the most sustainable ways of creating a community building project and celebration of place.


Interwoven are a Community Interest Company (CIC), providing governance guidance and a network of participation, so that volunteers and participants were immediately rewarded by being part of a wider network. Ms Spinks referred to her voluntary role as an animateur or facilitator, using the arts and heritage as a mechanism to carry out community building projects and the aim to find other voluntary participants to continue the good work using the framework. The squilometer projects were inherently intergenerational and also captured the value and sense of the place right on people’s door step.  It was important to have a community aim with a shared language with an intergenerational audience. The sharing events encouraged a ‘pay it forward’ approach to provide a small level of continued funding. Interwoven were currently on their seventh project and each time there had been an accumulated sum to kick-start the next project, which was useful alongside the usual community and ward grants that may be available.


Ms Spinks responded to Members’ questions and was delighted with the response so far to bring existing community builders to see how the ‘squilometre’ worked. She noted a Member from Pinhoe had expressed an interest in forming a squilometre. She added that such participatory models through Exeter had helped manage a number of very positive projects, often with consultation weary public.  She hoped that it would also be possible to consider introducing a squilometre in the South Street/West Quarter areas taking into consideration the future development of that area.


Place Scrutiny Committee noted the presentation and thanked Ms Spinks for her attendance.