Once upon a time a woman called Kayte made a flippant comment on her facebook status about using empty shops as art venues in her hometown of Bedford. Another woman, Erica, whom she’d never met, saw this comment and said Yes! They met, and it was good and they became ‘We Are Bedford’.
We are being supported by RSA Catalyst funds to make something happen in our empty shops.We are doing this voluntarily while looking after 3 children under 4, one business, one MSc and two slightly bewildered husbands.
Our aim is to become a community collective for people who want to make a change in the town, to open up space for dialogue between the community, commerce and the council.
Our first job is to breathe some life into Castle Quay, a new development in what should be the heart of Bedford. The timing of the development was unlucky, and most of the units remain empty. We propose to put on a weekend culturefest in the units and the space around them, bringing the empty shops to life as venues, to make them places rather than spaces, and to enable the town to see this area as a key part of their town.
We also want to map Bedford’s secrets, its art, quirks, nooks and crannies, the best pubs, walks, and independent retailers. We want to do this using a delicate mix of new and old technologies and stories.
There will be many more projects, but this is where we start.
We face many challenges.
This is our story.