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FESTA - a celebration of urban creativity

FESTA 2016 brought thousands back into Christchurch city centre for celebration of urban creativity

Zero Waste Ōtāutahi housed at Hence (Ara) for Lean Means, FESTA 2016.

A hands-on activity for kids where they created ‘mutant monsters’ from the parts of old toys; a pop-up restaurant in a bespoke pavilion where diners encountered the full food system; a speaker session on loving our institutions and caring for our bureaucracies; a village of resourcefulness formed from a series of temporary shelters (designed and fabricated from hazel wood), where skilled craftspeople undertook high quality crafts; a spectacular temporary city, where waste materials were transformed into beautiful installations, which in turn transformed vacant sites in and around the Christchurch Art Gallery into Christchurch’s brightest display of urban creativity.

These are just some of the ways FESTA explored the theme We Have the Means, with more than 30 events ranging from speaker sessions to workshops. From 21 to 24 October, the festival highlighted resourcefulness - making the most of the means available to us, in terms of our people (and their skills and knowledge) and reusable materials. It was a wonderful celebration of urban regeneration.

Some highlights of We Have the Means:

Kids were shown that they had the means also. They made new creations from the parts of pre-loved toys at the extremely popular Mutant Monsters workshop at the Christchurch Art Gallery; they made instruments from recyclable materials at Gap Filler’s Reduce, Reuse and Rhythm workshop; they paraded their costumes made from repurposed waste materials in the Wearable Art parade that kicked off FESTA’s headline event, Lean Means.

The WikiHouse Open Day sessions that ran as part of FESTA were fully booked. Participants learnt about the research and development behind crafting affordable, healthy, safe housing that doesn’t cost the earth and discovered how ordinary people can engage in the process of building high performance homes. All were invited to be a part of the discussion on how we conceive and make our built environment and who gets to build it.

Zero Waste Ōtāutahi, which was situated at the Village of Resourcefulness, ran basket-weaving and rope-making workshops, giving the public the opportunity to connect with resources (in this case te kōuka cabbage tree leaves) through craft. It ran also as part of our headline event, Lean Means.

Cultivate Christchurch ran an Urban Farm Day and Home Garden Workshop on the Sunday, where 40 people turned out for a tour, lunch and to learn how to create your own home garden using what is readily available in the city. Participant showed particular interest in Cultivate’s approach to community building – in terms of the farm’s accessibility and work with young people.

The elegant and beautiful Lost Christchurch exhibition showed at the NZIA branch rooms (Sir Miles Warren’s old inner-city flat), which approximately 100 people visited over the course of Labour weekend. Artist Danielle Rose Mileo’s (Melbourne School of Design) works explore the immeasurable impact on the built environment that the vast erasure of heritage architecture in Christchurch has had. Lost Christchurch stressed the value of remaining heritage architecture and asked viewers to reflect on the concept of ‘waste’ on multiple levels.

At Freerange Press’s Talking Books, which ran on Saturday afternoon, a group of passionate experts were available for the public to book a twenty-minute, one-on-one conversation with on a range of subjects. Titles included How to Buy Train Tickets in India, Birthing Well and One Good Thing About Music.

Lean Means, FESTA’s headline event, brought 15,000 people back into the city for Christchurch’s biggest, most creative street party. The public followed street performances, interacted with the 18 colourful imaginative installations made by student studios from waste materials, played street games, participated in glowga (yoga with UV paint), danced to DJs, visited art galleries (Christchurch Art Gallery saw over 9000 people come through its doors for late night viewings) and more.


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