Hi all – Marisa and Naomi of Connect the Dots here. We wanted to take our first post as an opportunity to tell you a little bit more about Connect the Dots, and give a sneak peek into our upcoming event this Thursday, December 10th.
Connect the Dots started almost exactly a year ago – with our first event taking place at DIT Grangegorman on December 9th. As practitioners and researchers in the cultural / creative / urban regeneration space, we had spent the past few years mapping the ecosystem around reuse of space, and getting to know the people involved. We were so inspired by so many people doing such great work in the city, but realised many were disconnected from each other. With many alternative / creative community spaces closing down over the recent year (Exchange Dublin, The Joinery, Moxie Studios – to name a few), we hoped that by connecting people to pool resources, share knowledge, and develop solutions, a more resilient community could emerge, better enabled to tackle the challenges involved in reusing space, together.
Our first event gathered 50 people of diverse backgrounds – from architects to artists to squatters to councillors to planners to heads of grassroots initiatives to academics – all in one room, at one table, where dialogue and food were shared. We started – and still start – with questions; each person brought along a question about underutilised space which became the topics for discussion. We then analysed the recorded notes from the night, and saw key themes emerging. These themes became the topics for our next event. Since then, we analyse the data from each event to feed into and shape the next event, in order to ensure that the solutions being developed are as closely tailored as possible to the needs of our participants. Our events move across the city – from Grangegorman to Dublin Food Coop to D-Light Studios to Dublin Castle and most recently, to an underused Merrion Square building. Along the way, we’ve gained partnership and support from national and international institutions, including the EU TURAS Project, the InTransit initiative of the Goethe Institute, and the Institute without Boundaries.
For our sixth event – our one year birthday! – we will be looking at what we’ve learned, with a specific focus on the potential services and actions to address the reuse of space that have emerged over the past year. We hope that together, we can bring these plans into reality.
*We would love to have you there. It will take place at the Back Loft (of La Catedral Studios), kindly sponsored by the Goethe Institute, Teeling Whiskey Company, and Inis Wines. Though it is currently booked out, please sign up to the waitlist (http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/connect-the-dots-birthday-potluck-tickets-19592876822) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will let you know if spaces open up!