Back in December, HERE + NOW's Curatorial Director and co-founder Jenny Humberstone was asked to present her previous work activating stalled or vacant spaces in Australia at the Architecture + Design Scotland 'Stalled Spaces Seminar'. 

Jenny presented her work developing 'Secret Cinema', a series of outdoor cinema events in Melbourne and Brisbane, which worked with both local volunteers as part of the Urban Fabric collective, together with local businesses, artists and film-makers.  These vacant city spaces became catalysts for connection, activity and community through a variety of short film outdoor cinema events and exhibitions which brought together key stakeholders from the local area. 

Architecture + Design Scotland interviewed Jenny about what she had learnt from organising these Secret Cinema events and how this related to the Stalled Spaces initiative in Scotland.

Other highlights from the Stalled Spaces Seminar included Bobby Niven speaking about The Bothy Project and Walled Garden in Glasgow, and Andreas Lang of Public Works speaking about participatory methodologies and co-production in London.



Here + Now’s engagement director - Lisa Jeffrey - has just returned from a chilly yet inspiring trip to Budapest in Hungary! A city full of faded grandeur and opulence is subtly interwoven with an exciting new pop up culture. What better way to engage people in a place that was previously unused than by simply; using it?

Budapest being dominantly an old and traditional city reflects many of Edinburgh’s characteristics. The interesting thing about Budapest however, is the small but significant grass roots urban takeover which is slowly developing.

The ‘karavan’ site for instance (photo above) is a space that was once vacant and unused but is now buzzing with life due to simple changes. Dump a few shipping containers, drive in a few gourmet food vans and build a few up-cycled benches and Bob’s your Uncle.. or András if we are talking about Hungary! Another good example are the ‘ruin bars’ in the city. Buildings that were once grand apartment blocks or hotels have become bars that engulf the entire buildings and inject life into a once dead space. All these ideas and changes in the city have only benefited and improved the offer of the place to a wider group of people. If we talk about engagement, I’m sure you’d agree that by simply ‘doing’ or 'using' something we are indeed engaging.... In the end actions do speak louder than words!