A Place For Words: General Introduction

UrbanWords has spent the last two years researching and considering the role creative writers can play in the process of regeneration. Our interest has been in examining the unique skills creative writers can bring to the table. We are passionate about the potential for exciting and innovative work, in which writers can work with communities, places, and those driving the change and improvement of places, to facilitate real communication, discover connections, and ultimately contribute to making those places more attractive and desirable places to live, breathe, work and play in.

The driver for this research and thinking was an observation that whilst a spattering of public realm and regeneration projects across the UK have involved writers, the sector is dominated by the visual arts, and literature and creative writing seem peripheral to, if not absent from, the debate. The aim of this site is to begin to put creative writing on the map, for urban design professionals, arts professionals and the wider literature world. It aims to open up the debate rather than propose a defined way of working, whilst at the same time offering case studies of successful projects, and practical tips and suggestions to create successful work.

The scope of UrbanWords' work and this piece of research and thinking is not broad enough to address all of the issues of cultural regeneration and the role the creative industries play in the regeneration of places and communities. Our focus is on thinking specifically about writers and how they engage with particular places and with the people who live and work there. It is not just about writers slotting into the role of public artist to place well chosen words in well chosen places, it is about the writer taking on a social role: to question, to listen, to converse and to articulate. Most particularly we are interested in well-planned interventions that happen at a time of change. Regeneration is about change and transformation, and so is writing, with its bedrock of metaphor, narrative, and language that makes us look afresh at our world.

We hope you enjoy exploring this web resource, and that it offers food for thought and practical advice on making things happen. Please get in touch via the blog or email if you have any thoughts, comments, or would like to discuss something in more detail.