James West, Overbury Road resident and Haringey Arts Director, decides its his time to step down and move on from the area. We asked him what he’ll be remembering most from his experience.
“Warehouse living is a curious way of creating new work – it’s unlike any other community arts. You’re immersed in the environment, you’re side by side with other creative practioners and your daily life (work and pleasure) are part and parcel of the experience. I have been a warehouse resident, lease holder and volunatary director of Haringey Arts for over eight years.
Joining the community before it’s rapid period of growth, I remember when I knew almost everyone’s name in the small cluster of warehouses on Overbury Road. Although the area has more than tripled in recent years, the same heartbeat of community curation and creative expression continues. There’s a tangible hunger amongst the community to shape an alternative environment for living and culture is at the core of this process. In many ways, the organised set ups like Haringey Arts are even more important now – through the rapid growth the tenacity and voice of the area can get lost. the noise of growth drowns out the subilities of possibility.
The highlights from my experience with Haringey Arts are rich in their detail. We have been able to facilitate several warehouse residents to create permanent installations that express the quirks of the community, without conforming to traditional gentrification models. Fuelled live events and temporary exhibitions with funding and planning knowhow. Connected to the wider arts landscape in and outside of the borough. And, something I particularly enjoyed, we’ve put a spotlight on the area for all its cherished attributes – showcasing our community engagement model at a European conference ‘Human Cities‘, appearing in Time Out London, Evening Standard, in several magazines and on London Live TV a number of times.
Success for me is not something quantified by reflection; it’s something living, something in the present. The legagacy I hope I offer is some foundations that will continue to grow and flourish brighter than they ever did before. I helped build our warehouse, the community and Haringey Arts. What really excites me is coming back, taking part and championing what’s happening in Haringey’s precious warehouse community.”
Haringey Arts is pleased to welcome to new voluntary Directors, Christina a Fountayne Road warehouse resident and Leia an Arena warehouse resident. Carolina, who has been living on Overbury Road since 2009, continues as a Director. The team of three have ambitions to tour all of the warehouse communities over the coming months – keen to hear ideas, discuss possibilities and to give everyone a chance to get more involved.
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