It’s been said that College Street is an education and we learnt a lot on this project.

This was our first tender and our first collaboration with Form Native, with whom we would go on to work with on the Belfast Entries Project. A place making project in the most obvious sense of the term, our objective was to assist FN to deliver a coherent art installation across multiple shutters in College Street Belfast. Initially our role was to research the history of the area to inform the designs and then act as an intermediary between BCC/FN and the business owners in the area.

Once appointed we successfully lobbied to change the method from vinyl to spray paint and as a result also appointed and managed the street artists who delivered this.

The beautiful results of the project can still be seen on much of College Street but holding the vision of a local authority, the business owners, the building owners and the designer in tension was a challenge. Managing a diverse range of agendas and expectations is vital when you are dealing with public space and in this case we didn’t manage to get one of these stakeholders over the line.

But we learnt that when you work in this field, there’s always a chance that someone won’t get it, there’s always a chance that it won’t work out exactly how you pictured it in your head (actually it never works out exactly how you pictured it in your head. That’s what the process of collaboration and consultation and research and development are for). Sometimes there’s a compromise, but sometimes there’s not, and in this case we’re delighted with what we were able to achieve even if it was a slightly scaled back version of the initial vision.

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