About Gap Filler

Gap Filler is a creative urban regeneration initiative that facilitates a wide range of temporary projects, events, installations and amenities in the city.

These short-term and comparatively small-scale projects are far less risky than new permanent developments – and consequently open up opportunities for experimentation: trying new ideas, pushing social boundaries, adopting participatory processes to get everyday people involved in creating their city. Working with local community groups, artists, architects, landowners, librarians, designers, students, engineers, dancers – anyone with an idea and initiative – we activate city spaces for temporary, creative, people-centred purposes.

By recycling materials, teaming up with suppliers, harnessing volunteer power and being creative, Gap Filler proves that the regeneration of the city does not rely solely on large-scale developments by the private or public sectors. Great things can be achieved with community power and resourcefulness; we can be flexible and swift in adapting to our changing city, meaning our projects will always provide contemporary reflection on the state of society.

Ultimately, Gap Filler aims to innovate, lead and nurture people and ideas; contributing to conversations about city-making and urbanism in the 21st century.

Always Evolving

Temporary, site-specific projects are still our core activity. But along the way we’ve realised that it’s the principles – especially of experimentation, adaptability and participation – that are most important. Doing temporary projects is one way of lowering the risk to enable those principles to shine, but we’re pursuing any means of fostering more experimentation and meaningful participation in the city, whether that’s through education and work in schools, partnering on large-scale permanent developments, working with Council to create an enabling regulatory framework and incentives for property owners to be more community-minded with the use of their vacant sites and buildings, or anything else in line with our principles.

Our History

Gap Filler was initially formed in response to the September 2010 earthquake in Christchurch, then expanded after the February 2011 quake. It is supported by the Gap Filler Trust and is a registered charity.

Our first project ran from Thursday 25 November until Sunday 5 December, 2010 and involved us transforming an empty site on Colombo Street into a space which hosted a temporary garden café, petanque, live music, poetry readings, outdoor cinema and more. The project was incredibly well-received and utilised, which led to further projects including art installations, concerts, workshop spaces and eventually semi-permanent structures such as the Pallet Pavilion, RAD Bikes and the Dance-O-Mat. All of our previous projects can be read about here.

FAQs

How do I get involved?
Thanks for asking!

  • Suggest your ideas for a Gap Filler project via Get Involved (top right)
  • Become a Gap Filler volunteer by going to our volunteer sign up form to be put on our Volunteer eMail List.
  • Sign up for our newsletter (at the bottom of this page)
  • Visit our Facebook page when we need you (remember to ‘Like’ us!)
  • Become a Gap Filler Supporter, Sponsor or Donor please go to our Donate page
Where does your funding come from?
Our principal funder is the Christchurch City Council, and we have many others … please visit our Supporters page and have a look.
How do I keep up to date with what’s going on?
The best way is to like us on Facebook or sign up to join our mailing list (below). That way you’ll get notifications about projects, events, calls for help and other requests.
How do I get a gap?
In the first instance, please contact (Life in Vacant Spaces).  Life in Vacant Spaces (‘LiVS’) was created by Gap Filler (with help from others like Greening the Rubble and some folks at CCC) to make it easier for individuals to make temporary use of vacant sites and buildings in Christchurch. LiVS was created because Gap Filler gets lots of enquiries for help to access sites and we feel like a bottleneck. We don’t want to be! LiVS is a broker, connecting people with read-to-go ideas with suitable sites and handling the paper work and insurance. Gap Filler makes use of LiVS gap site database, too.
I don’t live in Christchurch, how can I help?
If you’d like to make a donation please go to our Donate page for more information on how you can support us. Spreading the word about us is invaluable – you may not be able to give us money or resources but if you can tell people where you are about what we are doing in Christchurch, ask them to Like our Facebook page, suggest they come and visit us when they are in town, discuss us at work, tell your friends and family – who knows what might come of it! Thank you.
Have you guys thought about doing a “Before I die wall?|| (This is based on Candy Chang’s famous project)
This is a question that we get asked all the time. We don’t repeat other people’s projects, but if you’d like to do it yourself – go for it!

Some University of Canterbury students from College House took the lead and painted a I hope Christchurch will … wall. It was at 166 Tuam Street. There was also a Before I Die wall near Black Betty’s Café on Madras Street, opposite CPIT.

I’m doing a research paper and would like to interview you.
We are a tiny organisation and our inboxes get flooded frequently, but we’d still like to help. Please send through the questions you would like to ask and the timeframe in which you would to have them answered and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
(Question we’d like to be asked) “How can I donate $100,000?!”
Don’t hold back! We’ve never been asked this question. Please ask us. If you want to make a donation, you can Donate to Gap Filler.

Awards

  • Civic Trust Award 2011
  • Mayor’s Earthquake Service Award, 2011
  • SHAC (Sustainable Habitat Challenge) Award, 2012
  • Sustainable Business Network Social Innovation Awards, 2012
  • BEST Design Awards, Silver (Exhibitions and Temporary Installations category) for the Pallet Pavilion, 2013
  • Coralie Winn, New Year’s Honour list, Queen’s Service Medal for Service to the Arts, 2015
  • City to City Barcelona Award FAD 2016 for Eyes on the City in the Learning Initiatives in the City category

Finalists

  • Resene Architectural Design Awards, Finalist for Dance-O-Mat, 2012
  • Coralie Winn (Gap Filler Director and Co-Founder), Finalist for NEXT Woman of the Year (Arts) 2013
  • International Award for Public Art, 2015

Our Values

Community Engagement

We believe in encouraging and promoting community spirit, growth and awareness by assisting people to experience and participate in artistic projects.  We believe that vacant land and buildings present opportunities; through developing and investing in gap sites, communities will recognise the value of social/cultural activities and communal endeavour in building social capital and resilience, stimulating economic development and creating connectedness. We feel that ‘community spirit’ is necessarily related to the idea of ‘the public good’: communities are strongest when working for public benefit, social capital and a flourishing environment.

Experimentation

We value trying out new things and not repeating ourselves, taking calculated risks to lead by example with high productivity and turnover of projects. We want to draw on the opportunities presented by each site, neighbour, business, community and individual involved.

Leadership

We believe in leadership, expressing our values through fearless implementation – by doing. We want to celebrate playfulness, hope, critique and positivity.  We are living out our values in, and contributing to, a flourishing city.

Creativity

We esteem the spirit of innovation, exploring new ways of engaging, creating and realising ideas, honouring and promoting the arts and artistic practice and process.

Resourcefulness

We understand and value resourcefulness as meaning both adaptability and a commitment to re-use, re-purpose and recycle wherever possible.

Collaboration

We believe in seeking out partners to implement ideas together, as well as co-operating to realise others’ ideas. We feel that collaboration unlocks creative potential.

Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti

We also strive to honour the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti in our projects, approach and relationships. We believe in honouring the stories and histories of this place, Ōtautahi, and its tangata whenua.

Volunteers

Hundreds of amazing people have made the Gap Filler projects possible. There are far too many to name but all contribute their bit.

Sign up to Volunteer

Gap Filler People

Profiles and Photos

Gap Filler in the Media

In the Media 2016
In the Media 2015
In the Media 2014
In the Media 2013
In the Media 2012
In the Media 2011
In the Media 2010

A video introducing Gap Filler What is Gap Filler (3 mins)

Radio Nz Interview with Coralie Winn

by Radio NZ

(20 mins) Video interview with Co-founders Coralie Winn and Ryan Reynolds giving history including earthquakes, beginning of Gap Filler and first projects. BMW Guggenheim Lab Berlin, Marathon of Transformation

Gap App

Woo! Now you can find Gap Filler projects all around Christchurch.

Get the Gap App

Contact Gap Filler

Our Partners

Greening the Rubble
Rata Foundation
Creative New Zealand
COGS

Donate to Gap Filler

... and help make more projects happen on Gaps in Christchuch!

Gap Filler is a creative urban regeneration initiative that facilitates a wide range of temporary projects, events, installations and amenities in the city.