My Castle Gateway Creative Hack

15th August, 6pm-8pm 
2 Bishopthorpe Rd, York YO23 1JJ.
Access information: there is a ramp available. Email Helen Graham, if you need flat level access.

The Post It Notes are in – we know what matters and the kinds of things people want to be able to do in Castle Gateway – but now it is time to open up and discuss the underlying issues.

My Castle Gateway project is nearing the end of its first step. We’ve been asking people two questions: What matters to them in the area? What would you like to be able to do here in the future? To gather ideas we have done lots of walks, had lots of conversations and generated post its, posts, photographs, interviews and other contributions. We have created a tagged digital archive of all the contributions and are currently drawing together open drafts of a What Matters: collaborative statement of significance and a Brief that the Council-appointed Masterplanners will start to work with.

Yet there are key challenges emerging from all the contributions and we want to address these head on. For example:

The Council wants to explore alternate uses for the car park but needs to think about how we can pay for it, while others worry that money always speaks louder than people.

While the vast majority of people who have taken part so far in the My Castle Gateway discussions, want to see something other than a car park near Clifford’s Tower and think walking, cycling and public transport can serve their needs, some people do disagree and really want to be able park there.

Of the people who want public space in Castle Car Park, some think there should be no buildings and want to be able to picnic in a green park, others think buildings can help public space to work well and want to be able to shop or eat and drink.

Some want Foss basin to be tided up and be a place for tourist to wander, others want it to remain working, ungentrified and to be a place where people can be without spending money.

Some want the area to have another large-scale tourist attraction, others want this to be a place with independent businesses and a ‘community feel’ and think this will add up to a better experience for tourists.

To get anywhere close to resolving these different wishes we need to look at consequences and choices. We need to convene informed public conversations that look at the issues in context and get to underlying economic and political issues. We want to do this in the most active, creative and engaging way we can. We need to move beyond speakers and public meetings or flipcharts and cabaret-style tables… instead we are hoping to initiate playful, collaborative exploration.

We invite anyone to come and think about these challenges with us and to design some amazing public engagement events. You may have performance skills. Or artistic flare. Or you might like big picture thinking. Or know how to tell a good story.

All very welcome – just tell Helen you are coming via

5 thoughts on “My Castle Gateway Creative Hack”

    • Hi Hannah and Christian, thanks so much for the comment. We’re looking at a weekend event in September to extend this discussion and planning. We’ve now got a list of people interested so will write to arrange a time that works for as many people as possible. Back in touch soon, Helen

    • Hi Hannah, just to follow up. We’ve set up a number of Challenges events for September/October (see Events page). Hope you can come to some of these and we’ll be in touch generally as community arts has been a theme and is included in the Draft Brief published for further feedback today.

  1. Hi
    I think this is a great example of collaboration working with the residents and engaging with what the community wants and needs. I love the idea of it being a community space where visitors and residents could enjoy the beautiful historic surrounding, whilst at the same time allow local business to have a presence. I would love to see something creative there. A place where performers, street artists could have an open space in a beautiful unique garden

    • Thanks Dan – your ideas here have been reflected in many other people’s comments too. Hope you can see these ideas in the Draft Open Brief we’ve published today. Any further feedback, let us know!


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