For me personally, Granby Park was never a ‘pop-up’ project. Nothing about it appeared suddenly and easily overnight and much of what made it exceptional was the way in which it has, and continues, to resonate.
For anyone who was involved, Granby was more than a series of temporary structures and installations, it was also about a process – a process about which we are still learning and one that perhaps we don’t yet have the right words for.
To all the thousands of people who helped make Granby Park happen, and the 40,000 visitors who came over one month, the impact of your kindness has been epic. And a plain old ‘Thank You’ seems inadequate.
How can we really thank the builders, architects, designers, artists and local residents who one damp winter came to a workshop on Strand Street to hear us out? And who day after day, month after month, as one year rolled into the next, continued to suspend their disbelief and put their hearts into plans for Granby Park?
Or the people who came on board later to help us build, open and run the park? It was nothing short of mind-bending to see them turn up every day in their hoards with their DIY and gardening tools, their kitchen steel-toed boots, their laptops. Even now, even after the park has closed, offers of help and materials are STILL coming in.
Of highlights, there are so many; the little lady who climbed three flights of stairs in sweltering August to hand me her yarn-bomb knitting; the couple who turned up on site with a barbeque to feed volunteers; the hostel owners who took in Granby out-of-towners; the individuals who trusted us with the things they cared about and care for – plants, trees, books, art, materials.
If any one of these examples seem unremarkable, consider this: over the past two years those of us who have worked on Granby have witnessed acts like these, literally, in their thousands.
Out of vacancy, has come generosity and for me, a refreshed understanding of space, history and what it means to be here and to be socially engaged with challenge, disappointment and hope.
In the absence of the ‘right’ words, and in what seems to be the middle of a much wider dialogue, I can only say how humbled I am by the experience of working with so many good souls. Everyone should be a volunteer coordinator at least once in their lives!
THANK YOU the volunteers: the youth workers, community workers, artists, academics and researchers, funders, musicians, writers, social activists, builders, engineers, gardeners, cooks, critics, collaborators, anyone who wore a glorious oversized yellow hi-vis jacket and everyone who made Granby Park 22 Aug – 22 Sep 2013 happen!