Place Markers mapping lab: conversations about people, place and prosperity

For two weeks, DELVE ran its Place Markers mapping lab at East Gate Gallery in Harlow.   Members of the public were invited to contribute to a conversation about people, place and prosperity through three gaming mechanisms designed around town, street and home.

In collaboration with local residents, DELVE artists and planners captured and honed ideas, initiatives and interventions across place-making, health/wellbeing and economic development to create a landscape of project, programme and policy starting points for the local authority.

Place Markers was a performative installation that grew the more we talked.

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Image credits: Richard Sobey (DELVE)

Place Markers – join the dots and talk about Harlow, Nov 26 – Dec 3 2016

DELVE Associates presents Place Markers

DELVE invites people living and working in Harlow to join the dots; using a map, a magnifying glass, the odd dice and a lot of ping pong balls, help create an installation that grows the more we talk.

Focussed around two themes, but going off in all directions, you are invited to contribute to a conversation about people, place and prosperity.

You just need to bring your voice and remember where you live.

Dates: Sat. 26 Nov – Sat. 3 Dec 2016

Open: 10.30am to 4pm

At Gatehouse Arts & Gallery, East Gate, Harlow, CM20 1HP


The value of adding creativity into the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEAM) mix

Following on from our latest post – we’ve been thinking about the value of the STEAM subjects in schools and in informal educational settings. There’s been an emphasis in recent years on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), but by adding arts subjects (STEAM) into this mix – creativity is harnessed.

We particularly like Ken Robinson’s thinking around creativity:
‘Our starting point is to recognise four characteristics of creative processes. First, they always involve thinking or behaving imaginatively. Second, overall this imaginative activity is purposeful: that is, it is directed to achieving an objective. Third, these processes must generate something original. Fourth, the outcome must be of value in relation to the objective. We therefore define creativity as: Imaginative activity fashioned so as to produce outcomes that are both original and of value.’
From: All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (1999), for the UK National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education

We believe that linking creative/arts subjects to other subject teaching and learning – young people’s innovation and invention skills will be more strongly developed.


Image credit: Sarah Spanton (artists and teachers working together at Whitecote Primary School, Leeds, 2009)

What makes a town resilient and prosperous? Research and conversations in Harlow.

Over the Summer and Autumn, we’ve been undertaking further conversations about Harlow as part of our wider research project exploring cross-cutting initiatives for the town.

We’ve been asking questions about prosperity and what makes a town truly prosperous. We define a prosperous town as one which is thriving, characterised by its inhabitants’ high levels of well-being and access to fulfilling jobs and varied employment opportunity in a high quality environment with many, varied social / communal activities – shifting away from a definition focussed solely on financial success.

We’ve also been exploring what a resilient town might be. We think a resilient town is one able to respond to opportunity and is ready to withstand unknown challenges that may be around the corner, whether they be environmental, economic or social. It has the means to bounce back from such adversity, maintaining its sense of wellbeing by having strong relationships and interconnections.

We’ve been investigating strategies and approaches that might help make Harlow a more prosperous and resilient place.

Mind (2013), ‘How to Improve and Maintain Your Mental Wellbeing’, Mind, London.

Hopkins, R. (2008), ‘Transition Handbook; From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience’ Green Books, Cambridge

Mind (2013), ‘Building Resilient Communities: Making Every Contact Count for Public Mental Health’ – accessed 22.1.13

McInroy, N. and Longlands, S. (2010), ‘Productive Local Economies: Creating Resilient Places’, Centre for Local Economic Strategies, Manchester.

Harlow Habitats: what makes you feel good around here?

Following on from our previous post on Heart4Harlow Festival. We’re analysing the responses to the Harlow Habitats game. We asked participants one of a set of questions, including:

  • What or who would you give an award for being here? and why?
  • Complete these phrases: Harlow gives me….. I give Harlow…
  • What makes you feel good round here?
  • Where do you go in Harlow for a laugh?

We’re building up a picture of what makes Harlow a good place to live. And we plan to hold an exhibition presenting all the responses to the Harlow Habitats game in the Autumn, in a town centre venue.

Also from our position within the festival, we got a good feel for what a good community asset the Water Gardens are, in the centre of Harlow.



Image credit: Delve Associates


Mapping people’s positivity about their town, Harlow

On May 28 and 29 2016, Delve engaged directly with over 100 people at Heart4Harlow Festival. Playing our Harlow Habitats game, using two large 8 sided die, we found out just how positive people feel about their town.



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We mapped everyone’s responses, onto a map of Harlow, indicating where people liked to ‘just be’ or where they like to go ‘for a laugh’. With each individual response being recorded on a tag.



Image credits: Delve Associates

Harlow Habitats: playfully exploring Harlow with local people at Heart4Harlow

DELVE’s new project is Harlow Habitats, which creatively engages local people in identifying the assets and possibilities of their home town, Harlow – one of the original post-war New Towns.

We’ll be playing one of our Harlow Habitats games with people in Harlow on Sat 28th and 29th May at Heart4Harlow festival.

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Image credit: Delve (Sarah Spanton & Richard Sobey)