About Gap Filler

Gap Filler is a creative social enterprise that designs and delivers public placemaking installations, and offers a range of services to help others achieve strong community outcomes in and alongside public and private developments – or while developments are still in their planning stages. We pursue any means to foster developments, towns and cities where people feel empowered to take creative action, and to experiment with fun ways of contributing to the wellbeing of the place.

Our passion is creating frameworks for participation: crafting a creative installation, or design competition, or financial incentive, or legal structure, or selection panel that’s tailored to get local people engaged. We’re best known for our temporary installations, and are trying to get better at communicating and facilitating the holistic thinking and organisational systems that underpin those successful installations.

Gap Filler has played a wide range of roles on clients’ projects: providing a bit of inspiration, running some pointed workshops, developing a strategic framework or designing and running an entire programme of activity and organisational structure to house it. Our recent clients and funders include Christchurch City Council; Fletcher Living; Taipei Urban Regeneration Office (Taiwan); Kaikoura District Council; Christchurch International Airport Ltd; Lyttelton Port Company; Red Cross; Yarra Ranges Council (Australia); Siddhartha Arts Foundation (Nepal); Copenhagen University (Denmark); New Zealand Planning Institute; Wellington City Council; Panuku Development Auckland; Antarctica New Zealand; Leadership NZ; South Taranaki District Council; Grey District Council; and more.

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 pioneering all sorts of ways 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 led to a couple more, which eventually led to some funding and becoming a charitable trust, and the creation of 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.

FAQs

How do I get involved?

Thanks for asking!

    • Suggest your ideas for a Gap Filler project via Get Involved (top right)

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?

More than 50% of our income is from commercial contracts all over the world, from short speaking gigs and workshops to designing and coordinating multi-year placemaking programmes over a 14-hectare area – and everything in between. We also enter a range of grant funding agreements to help councils, arts and community development trusts achieve some of their aims. Our principal long term 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 support from Christchurch City Council and Greening the Rubble, to make it easier for individuals to make temporary use of vacant sites and buildings in Christchurch. LiVS is a broker, connecting people with read-to-go ideas with suitable sites and handling the paper work and insurance.

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 FAD Award, 2016, for Eyes on the City as one of the top three global Learning Initiatives in the City

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.

Gap Filler People

Profiles and Photos

Gap Filler in the Media

In the Media 2018
In the Media 2017
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

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!

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