‘The Curated City’ views the city as a site for visual exploration. Developing this thesis was an opportunity to bring together my interests in grassroots arts activity and architecture as a tool for community building.

The arts are intrinsically political, yet, the industry is still riddled with inequalities and doesn’t always fulfil its civic purpose. This project aims to enable access to the arts through interventions that reframe the city as a curatable space. One where arts practice is brought into the public realm as a new form of exhibition practice which empowers citizens. 

The typologies explored are in the form of adaptable pods which are brought together in fixed steel frame structures to form cluster spaces across Cheetham Hill. The sites chosen for testing within Cheetham Hill are a mix of established cultural institutions (The Jewish Museum) outdoor spaces (Halliwell Lane) community hubs (The Wai Yin Centre) and unconventional spaces (Manchester Fort).  

The Performance Space is suited to small scale performances, but when extended and developed within a large cluster, it can host larger audiences. Within the Workspace, individuals have an option to extend the pod to form an ‘open studio’ or to create a new meeting space. The Assembly Space is dedicated to community action, the elevated pod encourages public activity at different levels and is a meeting spot for community groups to share ideas.  As the only mobile pod, the Resource Bank can be transported between clusters and is a library of resources for cultural activity within the area.

The Curated City within Cheetham Hill leaves a legacy that brings cultural activity into the everyday. Each cluster uses arts activity as a way of strengthening alternative spaces and illustrates a cultural strategy that stretches beyond the traditional arts centre, and towards innovative use of existing spaces.