Gillettt Square is an open and publicly accessible space near
the Dalston end of Kingsland Road, close to shopping areas, well served by
public transport, and small enough to be managed with limited resources and has
hosted many successful activities.
Its open layout promotes a “fairground” type of intervention
with many different activities happening adjacent to each other.The small businesses that exist in the huts
would naturally become part of any such intervention without interfering with
their business in anyway.
Degrees of Freedom believe that Gillett Square is not being used to its full
potential as a public space. At the moment it feels like an isolated, grey and
unwelcoming space not conducive to social activities.It is cut off from the vibrancy and utility
of Kingsland Road and Ridley Road market and is used mainly as a cut through to
other places.There is little to attract
or hold families or children or young people so nobody hangs around apart from
the drinkers who have nowhere to go. The Square itself is festooned with signs
prohibiting this, that and the other.
For one day only, we
propose to declare the FREE REPUBLIC OF GILLETT SQUARE and invite people to take-up
citizenship and enjoy the amenities that we will create.
Everyone who enters
will be offered a Free Passport which will entitle them to participate in the
activities described below.Citizens
will collect stamps on the basis of their participation in our activities or
attendance at the various cafes and other businesses in the square.Six stamps will entitle them to a “treat” at
a Rewards tent.
Giant welcome mat
installations will greet people at each of the 3 main entrances.
The Square will be
festooned with flags, pennants and symbols of the Free Republic of Gillett
The Square itself
will be divided into a number of areas identified by distinct colourful matting
and other objects.So there may be a
beach, a ballroom, a pavement....Each area will be governed by a set of playful rules set out on giant
sized boards.These rules will describe
behaviour that is either compulsory or prohibited for occupants of those spaces
(eg: you can only cross the pavement using hopscotch ora pogo stick, dance only with a hula hoop in
the ballroom, only cross the beach balancing a beachball on the nose etc ).
Volunteers in crazy “uniforms” will facilitate each space, encouraging people
to get involved.A PA system will
We will connect
Gillett Square to the adjacent heavily used spaces of Kingsland Road and Ridley
Road market by creating colourful footsteps on the pavements or string
colourful wool to lead people into Gillett Square. Selected stallholders from
Ridley Road market will be invited to occupy the centre of the square to add to
Engaging the public
is critical to the success of the project. We will invite participation from
the wider Hackney artistic community to work with us to manage the proposed
activities in the space.We will ask
schools in the neighbourhood to design the flag, passport and other symbols of
the new country of Gillett Square and to think about some of the rules that we
could have for it.We will get the local
press enthusiastic about the transformation of the square from a dramatic and
human interest point of view. And finally we will connect the Square with the
more vibrant parts of the borough through our footsteps and woollen trail