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Open the Door at Bristol’s Make Sunday Special

What are your hopes and dreams for your own street? What would you most like to see when you open your front door to the world outside?”

This is what we asked members of the Bristol public as we invited them to walk through our large cardboard front door into a small- scale cardboard residential street.  We then worked with them to bring their imaginings to life using cardboard, packing tape, chalk and permanent marker.

In free play, anything is possible, and what a child might imagine for their street can then become true for them, if they are able to use that space. Children were the main respondents on the day and they certainly got this! Some highlights included creating a welcoming committee of princesses for one person and a group of yammering monkeys for another. Yet another person was granted a huge cake (drawn, of course).

Beyond that, Open the Door also encouraged adults to think about their streets – “more space“, “more trees” – and to consider the possibility of opening up their own street for play.

Open the Door was created to make a link between Make Sunday Special – a Bristol experiment, temporarily closing city centre streets to traffic to allow a range of fun and thought-provoking activities – and the playful possibilities available to everyone in their own neighbourhood streets. It was supported by Bristol City Council and you can watch a video about this and other community arts projects they support.

You might also want to read Amy’s blogs on taking small steps to change your street: Easy and Effortless Things and The Place I Call Home Spills onto the Street. And if you want to temporarily close your street and open it up for play, see Playing Out in 4 Simple Steps.

The miniature streetscape was originally conceived and created by artist Pete Goddard, the door was designed by Amy Rose and constructed by maker Michelle Wren. Production support for the event was provided by Ruth Essex and Amy Sinclair.  Researcher Mandy Rose brought the film crew along as part of her ongoing work and interest in participatory and collaborative forms.


This project is available for other community settings.  Please contact [email protected].