By Dan Thompson
A Ramsgate project is part of a new national programme looking at the past and future of our High Streets.
Public art and design studio Mooch will ask people in Ramsgate, and also in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, to create miniature models of high street buildings due to be regenerated and imagine what might fill them as part of the ‘twin towns’ project.
The Connect project is one of the first in a four-year-long national programme led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Over this summer Historic England will unofficially “twin” five sets of towns, through the programme which aims to explore themes of identity as well as the communities’ collective hopes and challenges, culminating in a series of installations, performances and digital work.
The new artworks – including Our Model High Street of Ramsgate and Ryde buildings – will also be considered for submission into the Historic England Archive, the nation’s archive for records of England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history.
Mooch’s Creative Director Theresa Smith said: “Our Model High Street will link the seaside resort towns of Ramsgate and Ryde on the Isle of Wight. The project will create scaled versions of key buildings in both high streets and invite residents to re-imagine and design them for display in an exhibition over the Summer season.
“Participants and visitors to the displays can study and appreciate the characteristics of the two towns. Mooch is delighted to be working on this project with Dan Thompson, artist, writer and founder of the Empty Shops Network.”
The £7.4 million Cultural Programme is part of the £95 million High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative, which is currently working across 68 English high streets. Ramsgate is home to not one, but two Heritage Action Zones.
The programme is funded with £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund, £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Streets Fund, and a further £3 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
For more information, and to find out how to get involved in the project, visit www.mooch.co.