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Devolving Yorkshire: politics and poetics

Part 2 Project 2005
Mark Swinburne
University of Sheffield, UK
This project for a Regional Assembly was born out of the desire to bring people together. An initial intervention used the medium of street theatre to encourage and stimulate debate.

The Regional Assembly goes on to provide a more permanent address for such debate. In order to function at a cultural, political and social level, there needs to be a strong relationship between people, politics and place. This forms the fundamental theoretical spine to the project.

The political and public realms are exposed to one another, so encouraging informal communication. Physically this is manifest through the design of the public realm realised as a series of pleasure gardens. This opens up the site as a flow of movement integrated into the historic fabric of York.

Mark Swinburne

Studio 7 investigated the relationship between our media driven society and the relatively static nature of the built environment.

Mark’s project evolved from proposals for performance theatre in the public realm as a strategy for communicating and stimulating political debate and awareness.

This resulted in a proposed regional assembly – formalising the environment for debate – with site and building informing each other. By placing people at the heart of the Regional Assembly, public space becomes the key mechanism for communication, realised through a series of gardens in which the pragmatic elements (library, debating chambers, offices) are sub-ordinate to the public realm.

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