Gap Filler People
Creative Placemaker and Co-founder
Coralie is a born organiser, catalyser and communicator. She has fluency in placemaking from both a practical and theoretical point of view. She has been involved in the creation and delivery of many placemaking projects of all sizes and has contributed to the growth of Gap Filler from start-up volunteer organisation to the social enterprise it is today.
Coralie has given many public talks, led workshops, tours, managed projects galore and fronted the organisation in the media. As one of Gap Filler’s founders she has played a number of roles – inaugural Director, Marketing & Relationships, and Commercial Placemaking Support. She has a background in Public Health, Theatre and Film Studies, events and public art processes. She was one of the conceivers of Life in Vacant Spaces and a founding trustee of the Christchurch Transitional Architecture Trust which operates as Te Puutahi – Centre for Architecture and City-making and produces the biennial Festival of Transitional Architecture (FESTA).
The thing Coralie most appreciates about Gap Filler is the playful yet layered and thoughtful nature of Gap Filler projects as they play with social, spatial and behavioural conventions. It should come as no surprise that her favourite project is the Dance-O-Mat. Fun fact: Coralie loves to dress up like Jane Fonda and lead 80s aerobics on the Dance-O-Mat. It gives her a giddy, giggly sort of pleasure as people of all ages get right into leg lunges and star jumps. Coralie is also a potter and ceramicist with her own small business and a mum of two young children.
Designing and delivering bespoke community spaces, installations and events, Damian is equally skilled on the tools building installations, generating ideas and designing Buzzwire courses on his laptop, or nurturing relationships and developing collaborative opportunities. Often working across all modes in one day, Damian’s abundant creative energy, lateral thinking and passion for connecting with people and connecting people to a place, drive him to deliver several of Gap Filler’s largest and most complex installations, including the Super Street Arcade, The Detour pathway and #chchswing.
Damian sits on the executive of several community groups advocating for the delivery of youth orientated spaces, skateparks and pump tracks around New Zealand. Drawing on his decades of experience and participation in high level snowboarding and skateboarding, he works to design and build beautiful functional playing places for wheels and boards of all sizes.
Damian’s Christchurch home by the sea keeps the work/life balance healthy allowing a good dose of surf time and missions to the mountains for snowboarding. Damian’s fondness for fresh powder snow even brought about a change in Gap Filler work policy to include the ‘20cm Rule’; whereby a short notice day off to go snowboarding can be taken should 20cm of fresh snow fall on a work day!
Working with people and creating social interactions that give communities a sense of worth is what led Elisha towards a career in placemaking. A genuine people person, Elisha enjoys working with individuals to create a sense of collective identity and pride in a place that can be facilitated through events and placemaking initiatives.
Elisha has a Diploma in Professional Photography and a Diploma in Event Management. With over eight years of experience in event, project and production management, Elisha has gained expertise across a number of creative industries whilst living in London, Melbourne, Auckland and most recently, Christchurch. After two years working as a Production Manager in an Advertising agency in Melbourne, she decided to shift focus and took a position as an Event Manager, managing private corporate events and activations. After ten years living overseas, she returned to Aotearoa and landed in Auckland where she delved into the world of Placemaking working as an Events and Activation Manager for Fresh Concept in Auckland. She brings all of that wide-ranging experience to her work with Gap Filler.
Elisha’s favourite thing about Gap Filler is spending the days with her colourful co-workers and having the opportunity to delve deep into her busy head and pull out some wild ideas that might just make it to the street one day.
uLinda is quick to see the potential in others and has a drive to connect people to their greater purpose. Her role as Office Manager sees her building and maintaining relationships and nurturing those relationships to get positive outcomes for community development: places and neighbourhoods will flourish most if people are activating their strengths and passions.
Her experience in governance has also seen her become an active member of the Gap Filler Board. She has come to Gap Filler with a wealth of experience from the retail and print sectors, having been a national systems trainer, community fundraising champion and regional events planner. Her varied roles and experience have led her to more community-based leadership roles, as board chair of a local primary school and junior club captain at her local rugby club.
Linda’s favourite thing about Gap Filler is its ability to connect people and place and the deeper connections that are made when people really feel connected to something. Her favorite project to be involved in, whilst at Gap Filler has been the Moodshift events that were undertaken in collaboration with AllRight? and were based on the Five ways to Wellbeing, something that Linda feels particularly connected to.
Director and Co-founder
Ryan is one of the key figures shaping the global placemaking movement. He has given keynotes, public talks and runs workshops on placemaking in nine countries. He is one of a select 100 Regional Placemaking Leaders worldwide chosen by PlacemakingX and is involved throughout Aotearoa developing the theory and practice of placemaking here.
Ryan is one of the founders of Gap Filler and has played many different roles since its inception in 2011, as board Chair, Director, Project Lead, Designer, Strategic Director and Commercial Director, helping Gap Filler influence permanent developments to have better social outcomes. He is the founder of Life in Vacant Spaces and a founding member of Ohu Foundation, a community-minded property development agency. He holds a PhD from Canterbury University, and has had teaching and research roles at Canterbury University, Lincoln University, University of Technology Sydney and Copenhagen University in Theatre & Film Studies, Environmental Management, Design, and Landscape Architecture.
Ryan’s favourite thing about Gap Filler has been discovering how unexpectedly profound absurdity can be. Simple acts like dancing on street corners can learn, reveal and achieve far more than you might expect. Ryan’s favourite example was Eyes on the City where Gap Filler parked a portable grandstand around the city – replete with commentary box, commentator, and scoreboard – and spectated and commentated upon building demolitions, traffic intersections, stalled construction projects and more.
Project Delivery Manager
Simon is a Sociometrist, working to assist people to be more spontaneous and organisations to become fresher, clearer and more lively. His background working in Social agencies wanting better outcomes for people and communities has meant working in governance, providing coaching, leadership training and organisational development.
He is the man with the means, creating new ways to do anything and get it done as our Project Delivery Manager.. Ever practical, he uses resources at hand to create and encourage creative living. He applies his perceptive, and sometimes edgy, sense of humor to both highlight and ease the flow between people and between organisations. Simon is the owner of The Commons’ favourite four-legged friend Mr Brock! Brokkie has brought joy to hundreds with an endless supply of energy for playing fetch.
His favourite Gap Filler project is the current one, the one he is working on right now, making the most of being on the ground, doing and making, always looking for ways to build relationships. He is inspired by meeting people where they are and finding out what moves and motivates them.
Gap Filler Board
Linda brings her extensive operational experience to bear to keep the Gap Filler team functioning at the best, putting them in contact with the people and resources they need to get the gap-filling done and generally make their life go smoother. While doing this she maintains her cool, keeping the office air replete with serene retro sounds and fresh and soothing aromatherapy mists. Linda is community-spirited and values connectedness and currently sits on the board of two of her chosen communities. Meditation, yoga and connecting with friends and family help to keep this all in balance.
Rachel has been involved with social enterprises since 2015 when she began working with the Ākina Foundation. Through that, she worked with a variety of organisations from Invercargill to Auckland, getting particular enjoyment working with those in her Ōtautahi home. Rach’s background is in engineering, but as her career evolved, she became increasingly interested in not just how to make ‘cool things’, but how those cool things could help people to the greatest possible extent through insight and good product development. Rachel now trains, mentors and consults for organisations – commercial, not-for-profit and the spectrum in between – to do just that. She has served in an advisory capacity for various organisations across Aotearoa and is thrilled to now be doing so with the Gap Filler team.
Sara originally qualified as an infant primary teacher, she taught dance and drama at Children’s Theatre for many years, she has worked as a presenter at TVNZ, ran a fireworks business and started a community agency. Her theatre background includes the improvised and community-focused form called Playback Theatre. She is currently the Director of Training of Psychodrama for the CITP in Christchurch and Dunedin and is a Registered Psychotherapist. She continues to be involved in the building of many Christchurch communities.
Sara believes that Gap Filler is a significant and potent force in the realm of people making. She brings her experience of community, creative events and team building to this role. Sara is from Ulster and has experienced the rebirth of a bombed and broken city to a stunning and vital desirable destination.
What Sara loves most about Gap Filler is seeing the delight and connections that projects ignite in participants. She enjoys participating herself and being surprised by the unexpected ripples of relationships that happen. She particularly sees this in Gap Filler’s Soup and sees the potential for this format everywhere there are people and creativity.
What started in 2011 as a desire to activate vacant space in Ōhinehou Lyttelton – his ‘quake-damaged hometown – led to Trent’s involvement with Gap Filler for the next four years, helping to activate a wide-range of community-building initiatives. Always up for a challenge, Trent’s approach was to say ‘yes’ then find a solution – the bigger the problem the better. Now retired from active service Trent has moved into a governance role, supporting the Gap Filler team to continue to realise its vision of co-creating meaningful experiences that strengthen community through shared decision-making and purposeful engagement.