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BBRoots Bridge Project

Part of our four year BBRoots project in Barne Barton this project explored the community's access to the water and a creative replacement to the old bridge that stood at Kinterbury Creek.

BBRoots was a project in Barne Barton, grown over a period of about 4 years. The project was developed initially to grow an arts action group for the community. But the energy and enthusiasm of partners and community members lead to the development of additional creative projects.

During the Bridge project Take A Part collaborated with Barne Barton's Art Action Group, young people in the community and Stepping Stones to Nature to commission artist/architects MUF.

Access to land has always been an issue in Barne Barton, with many green spaces still owned by the MOD. Additionally Kinterbury Creek is one of the only places where the community can access water. A bridge at the shore was damaged a long time ago; money was spent to rebuild it but it was quickly damaged again in a fire.

As part of the BBRoots creative programme, work being undertaken in greenspaces via Stepping Stones to Nature, and the desire of the community, a project was developed to rebuild the bridge.

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To ensure the bridge wasn't damaged for a third time it was important that the community had a real sense of ownership of the project and that the build was robust. Working closely with the Young Ambassadors and project partners we developed a programme that lead to a co-commission with the community writing the brief and selecting the artist.

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The Young Ambassadors went on a Go and See to a series of local bridges to gain inspiration and think about the practicalities of design. They then supported us in hosting artist Graham Guy-Robinson at a series of community events where people could experiment with different bridge builds using scrap materials. These sessions opened up the opportunity for conversations with community members around if and how they access the water and what type of bridge they might like to see. Fotonow CIC, who were commissioned to document the project, also lead some sessions down at the creek to talk to people about the bridge and create short pieces for their film.

The conversations with the community and Go and See opportunity enabled the Young Ambassadors to have a sense of what was wanted for the commission. They worked with us and Stepping Stones to Nature to create the brief, shortlist, interview and then select the artists. MUF artist/architects were chosen to deliver the project.

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Alongside designing and arranging install of the bridge MUF also delivered some community workshops in smelting. Using found objects from in and around the Creek MUF showed people how to create a clay mould of the object, these were then filled with melted metal to create charms. Some of these charms were then incorporated into the final design of the bridge.

All the creative sessions at the creek were supported with other nature based activities with Stepping Stones to Nature and the Blue Space project. Fotonow CIC's film documenting the process is available to watch here. The bridge was completed and celebrated with a community launch in the summer of 2016.

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