Reimagine Projects Around Ireland

Fieldwork

Reimagine Kells

Reimagine Kells

Reimagine Kells was developed to creatively exlore how Kells could develop in a way that celebrates its rich tapestry of heritage buildings.

    The aim of Reimagine Kells was to think strategically about the spatial development of Kells in the future, with a focus on the fantastic heritage and regeneration work already being carried out in the area. The project considers how the public realm in the area might be improved and aims to weave together the buildings that have been renewed as part of regeneration work.

    A heritage-led regeneration scheme, Kells Creative Placemaking; the Bigger Picture, intend to adaptively reuse a selection of protected structures in the town, for creative endeavour. This scheme aims to reconcile the sustainable management and conservation of Kells’ built heritage with the cultural, economic, and social requirements of its contemporary environment.

    In June 2019 , we ran a community workshop as part of the Hinterland Festival of Literature in a beautiful disused Church of Ireland building that is part of the Kells Creative Placemaking project. For this day-long participatory engagement, the doors were flung open, and the public invited to share their vision, ideas, and concerns for the future of buildings such as this involved in the programme. Participants were able to explore a charette of the building designs, as well as play creative games to stimulate their imagination on the topic.

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    The feedback from this session was rich and creative, as well as practical and thorough. People raised practical concerns, such as financial sustainability, venue management, and how to marry public access with privately owned property. There were also visionary ideas, such the creation of a calm place for contemplation and opportunities for artist residencies.

    Throughout it all, however, there was an overwhelming sense of pride in the fantastic heritage offerings in the town, and a desire and need to share them with more people. Ideas were gathered and shared for public consideration and discussion, as well as to feed into a brief that would be issued to a design team who could take this project to the next step.

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    Responding to a brief developed through this public consultation, an architect team was selected. The objective was to deeply engage with the community, centering them the design process. The brief focused on the task of creating an identity to connect some key buildings that were the focus of Kells Creative Placemaking, looking at how the public realm can build a story that ties together the rich heritage of the urban centre.  This process would then generate highly useful insights and information that would inform spatial plans for Kells, highlighting opportunities  and feeding into larger development plans for the area. This project was due to kick off in Spring 2020.

    As plans were being finalised for the delivery of this project, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the country, and we paused work on this project.  While COVID-19 has restricted how groups meet, it has opened up new ways of sharing, discussing, and responding to ideas, and it is clear that having well-designed spaces to walk, sit, live, and play is more important than ever before. This new context has reframed how this project will progress, so keep an eye out for future updates!

    Local Partners
    Kells Creative Placemaking
    Meath County Council
    www.meath.ie
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