I began my role with Splice near the end of 2014 and couldn’t wait to build work right into my life. But as soon as I started I realised- what is my work? There’s no instruction manual for my role- it’s called Creative Ideas & Engagement (a title I made up myself,) and when your ultimate aim is to connect people in Auckland’s city centre it takes a bit of experimentation to figure out just how to do that.
In 2015 the core Splice team was me and John MacDonald, Chaplain-At-Large to the city centre. I knew my work was definitely different to his, drawing from my experience working in community arts organisations, but with a shared philosophy of relationship-building- because every person is good at something and has something to offer their community.
So over the year I met a tonne of people. I’m used to meeting lots of people; I was a DJ and host at 95bFM for six years and I interviewed, made coffee for, bumped into in the kitchen such a diverse mix of musicians, artists, volunteers, and more, from here and overseas. I was always meeting new people, immediately wanting to find out things about them in interviews and over beers at our DJ meetings. (I didn’t necessarily like all of the people I met, but I always made the effort to try.)
I figured that skill applied to my work with Splice; always making the effort to get to know someone. It wasn’t necessarily the goal to then ‘work’ with every person, just for them to know that we were here to get things happening when it was desired. I’ve been able to contribute creativity to pop-up tea events, our bi-monthly community get-together (the Splice Cuppa), this website, our monthly newsletter, a youth conference, art exhibitions, and… loads more that I can’t remember right now.
Even more importantly, as I learned my way through a whole bunch of experiments with people from the city centre, the community came through as a bottomless well of ideas for things that they wanted to see happening here.
Together we’ve staked a claim for young musicians, yogis, mothers and children, faith groups, and more to see their needs reflected in the redevelopment of Ellen Melville Hall, the only community centre in the inner city. We’ve brought people together to make and experience art from different cultures. We’ve seen a massive perspective shift in attitudes about the enjoyability of the city centre; by supporting locals to act on dreams, residents, students, and city workers are all starting to see the potential of this city as it grows and gets even better.
As 2016 gets underway I figured it’s time to review: now that I feel like I might actually know what I’m doing, how can Splice progress and expand even further into this community using all the skills we’ve learned in the last few years?
We welcomed two new people into our Splice core at the end of 2015; Sandie Ritchie, a community development worker for the city centre, and Mik Smellie, a part-time Splicer, who are both looking at an overview of the connections already made and building on them this year. As a team we are developing a strategic plan with five directions for how we will enact a shared vision: core Splice values, relationships, creative ideas, advocacy, and building a movement. Our strategic plan will be foundational for Splice’s growth, and the process of dreaming it up has also brought with it the nuances of what Splice means to each of us.
So this year, expect to keep seeing us around at ours and others’ events, join us for coffee sometime, and get to know more of the resources we can connect you into. We’re always personally contactable, and are looking forward to this year being packed out with your wildest imaginings.
- Charlotte Red