Download the Perception Peterborough Booklet, written and edited by Eileen Woods, graphic design by Marcia Mihotich 1.72MB
Haring Woods was commissioned by Peterborough City Council to develop and manage Perception Peterborough, a dynamic and creative visioning project to develop innovative approaches to the challenges and opportunities facing Peterborough.
Initiated by Arts Council England, East, Peterborough City Council and the primary local and regional and cultural development agencies, the Perception Peterborough process held a mirror up to the city and its people, to see through others’ eyes the assets and challenges, and to motivate individuals and agencies to recognise their place in the big picture.
Over 4 days in September 2008, Haring Woods brought together a total of 50 key local representatives and international creative thinkers with over 10 different nationalities to develop innovative ideas and approaches to the challenges and opportunities facing Peterborough and its future growth. Artist studio Proboscis was commissioned to work in partnership with Haring Woods to facilitate the creative workshops.
Within the overarching theme of the Environment, the process focused on three related themes: Growth and development of the built environment; Social cohesion within a climate of migration and Green infrastructure and environmental technologies.
Following the workshops, Haring Woods produced a launch event in October 2008 promoting the initiative and the 5 key workshop outcomes.
Haring Woods' consultants Benjamin Barber and Jan-Gustav Strandenaes were both pivotal participants, introducing international opportunities to promote Perception Peterborough as an important new model of best practice. Through Ben’s profile, the project received significant national press.
Haring Woods has now completed a final report documenting the complete process and advising on delivery models to implement the outcomes.
Photographs by Eileen Woods/Haring Woods/Proboscis
What is Perception Peterborough and what did it set out to achieve?
Perception Peterborough is a dynamic and creative visioning project which brought together key local representatives with creative thinkers to develop innovative approaches to the challenges and opportunities facing Peterborough. Initiated by Arts Council England, East, working with Peterborough City Council, the primary local and regional and cultural development agencies, the Perception Peterborough process held up a mirror to the city and its people, to see through others’ eyes the assets and challenges and to motivate individuals and agencies to recognise their place in the big picture.
Over 4 days in September 2008, a total of 50 key local representatives and international creative thinkers with over 10 different nationalities came together to develop innovative ideas and approaches to the challenges and opportunities facing Peterborough and its future growth. Within the overarching theme of the Environment, the process focused on three related themes: Growth and development of the built environment; Social cohesion within a climate of migration and Green infrastructure and environmental technologies.
The Steering Group for Perception Peterborough commissioned creative and strategic consultants Haring Woods Associates and artist studio Proboscis to devise and produce a series of interdisciplinary workshops. HWA, with their successful track record of generating ideas which bring together partners, stakeholders, and in due course communities, planners, artists and designers, through a process aptly titled ‘CONNECT’, collaborated with Proboscis and their international practice of visual and participatory methodologies.
Working together within the creative workshop environment, responding to a series of bespoke, interdependent activities, representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors contributed their expertise, and shared their life experience. This process helped a diverse group of professionals visualise a wide range of ideas and acknowledged that expertise, vision and commitment already exists to achieve essential step change in the city. Discussions following the workshops have begun to identify identify connections and ownership across related projects.
This document introduces the most exciting ideas which emerged over four intense and inspiring days of Perception Peterborough’s creative activities, dialogues and debates. These outcomes are the starting point of a long-term, stimulating process for the city.
“As a historical British cathedral town and transportation hub, Peterborough has long played a crucial traditional role in an interdependent nation founded on the economic and cultural vitality of its towns and cities.As an observer of and consultant to the new global network of towns and cities that comprise our networked and interdependent world, I am certain that Peterborough’s story and emerging economic potential afford it limitless opportunities for its own flourishing as a great English township and a small but vital hub in the global network.”
Benjamin Barber on Peterborough
Illustration by Matt Huynh
"The real result of the workshops was an energized citizenry, a city re-imagining itself in terms of its assets and aspirations, a city able to see itself in all of its potential connectivity with a world it might help to shape and lead. In a word, the result was an emerging common vision produced by creative housing developers, thoughtful town councillors, inspired cultural officers and a broad range of concerned regional stakeholder"
Benjamin Barber, HWA Senior Consultant and Perception Peterborough workshop leader