Last month the North West Cambridge Development opened its doors to the public, with a programme of events celebrating the near-completion of Phase One of the project. Over the course of one day, 4,000+ visitors descended on the new neighbourhood of Eddington.
In 2012 the Contemporary Art Society and InSite Arts produced a visionary public art strategy designed to span the life of the development, creating a platform for artists to respond to the rapidly changing landscape, and allowing existing and new communities to engage with the development through a creative lens.
As part of the Open Eddington event in September 2017, three new permanent public artworks were showcased alongside a panel discussion about the Habitation Artist in Residence programme and inspiring children’s art workshops facilitated by the ArtScapers education programme.
The first completed permanent public art commission for the development was Ruth Proctor’s artwork We Are All Under the Same Sky, embedded into the architectural fabric of the interior courtyard of the University of Cambridge’s new Primary School. Hordes of children took part in ArtScapers workshops in the school throughout the day, creating a number of mini versions of the second permanent artwork to be completed, Winter/Hörbelt’s Fata Morgana Teahouse. In the Teahouse itself, located in the green expanses of the Western Edge, a tea party offered visitors the opportunity to experience the mediated views of the landscape. Alongside the Teahouse sits another recently completed artwork by the duo, Pixel Wall.
A thoroughly engaging panel discussion about the artist’s residency programme, ‘Habitation’, took place on the day. This focused on the North West Cambridge development as a set of communities in transition and how the resident artists have contributed to a narrative of place and an enhanced sense of community in a new neighbourhood.
Heather Topel, Project Director of the North West Cambridge Development commented: “This marked the culmination of over a decade of hard work from thousands of people. The day really illustrated the depth and breadth of our project ethos and the University and City’s joint ambitions to create a sustainable community of exceptional design quality at Eddington”.