The Agency For Architectural Investigation at Plymouth Art Centre.

I have been invited to work at Plymouth Art Centre and make an event to mark the launch of Plymouth community radio in November 2013.

This exhibition was a fact finding mission and part of my research. The responses made will inspire my Radio Flash Mob later in the year.


Common Place, Pictured Left invited walkers to respond to a series of tasks whilst out on a walk in the city. Their observations were recorded on Post It notes and used to re- configure the map.


Map Over (W)rite (below) started as a 2m hand drawn map of Plymouth. Residents were invited to re invent the city by rubbing areas out and drawing over.


Third line of images, Nutopia: a town planning game. The game invited players to take on job titles associated with town planning and city development and redesign the city using the same constraints that a city planning team would face.


Plymouth Photo Drift, pictured here early on in the exhibition, asked people to respond to set titles and image the city.



Exhibition notes:

Caroline Mawdesley


Jennie Savage
The Agency for Architectural
21 June - 7 July 2013

Jennie Savage is an artist who seeks to transform people's perception of place through the creation of mediated experiences. Drawing out hidden stories, narratives and anecdotes she records local knowledge and maps current lived experience.

Plymouth City Council is currently developing a Plan for Plymouth for 2032 and in recent months has set up a number of opportunities for consultation with the residents of the city, in addition the city has been rebranded as the Ocean City. It is in this context and that Plymouth Arts Centre invites Jennie Savage to make a new work for Plymouth and its future.

Plymouth like any city is continuously in the process of planning for the future; the current developments are part of the Makay Vision, a 21st century ‘Plan for Plymouth’, which launched in 2003. This plan proposed a future of the highest possible quality for citizens, investors and visitors and matches the Plymouth 2020 Vision.
The 20th century Plan for Plymouth was published in1944 with the intention to resurrect the city from the devastating impact of WWll. The vision of town planner Patrick Abercrombie and city engineer James Paton Watson resulted in a complete redesign and construction of the city centre. The magnificent 20th century architecture that currently dominates the city centre is the legacy of this plan as well as the development of neighbourhoods, which expand the city beyond its pre-war boundaries.
The Agency for Architectural Investigation is a project and exhibition by Jennie Savage, which considers the city as a site of transformation and change, a stage on which to play out the human narrative and locate our personal stories. Jennie Savage invites you to rethink Plymouth, to consider your relationship to this city, your experience and memories as well as its potential futures.

The Agency For Architectural Investigation is a public 'think tank'. A flexible set of parameters established to collectively explore place and engage with the built environment. Place is considered in relation to time: streets as rivers of memory, buildings as statements about ‘our’ future, and pathways as opportunities to consider who ‘we’ (collectively) want to be.

The Agency considers that wandering, day dreaming, cycling, seeing trees, listening to birds, enjoying things that aren’t finished, seeing diversity of buildings, taking the long way through the park, seeing our culture happening around us, are all important activities. Time and time again, city centres are redeveloped or regenerated scientifically, rationalising space and reducing human interactions to ‘spend power’ and ‘dwell time’, which diminishing our human need to connect and be part of something, to a commodifiable act(ion). The recession and rise of internet shopping means that we are increasingly using cities differently, perhaps in 2032 there will be less need for shops or their scale may change.

How would you re-configure the Plymouth? What sort of spaces can you imagine would support the call for a more social and connected place? What would those spaces look like and how would they feel? How would they function and who would make use of them?
Use the Agency for Architectural Investigation to articulate your ideas for a future Plymouth, document existing spaces that are meaningful to you or new places that you encounter which alter your perspective on the city. The artist invites you to

− Redraw the city in Map Over(w)rite
− Wander around this fascinating city and use any kind of camera to document Plymouth for the Photo Drift
− Take a walk through Common Culture following the artist’s instructions and take note of your experience.
− Play Nutopia a game within which you determine the future of the city.
Your contributions will be collated by the artist and used as the raw material to develop a new sound work for the future of Plymouth.

Launch Weekend
The artist will be present to lead a full weekend of events.
Friday 21 June; From 6pm.
Join Nutopia a game of town planning that plays with the tensions that exist between the need to make cities for people and to generate wealth, increasingly for independent corporations. Set in future Plymouth 2032 the game invites you to participate in a light hearted experiment in town planning, whilst also experiencing its inevitable obstacles and compromises.

Common Place
Saturday 22 June; Walks start at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm.
Common Place invites you to take a short walk across Plymouth following your own map of personal way-points, landmarks and sites of memory whilst completing a series of tasks which aim to draw out your local knowledge. Your insights will be included in the ‘shared city’ map of Plymouth. Over the course of the exhibition this map will be over written by your local knowledge, ideas and reflections.
The walk begins and ends in the gallery at Plymouth Arts Centre.

Plymouth Photo Drift
Saturday 22 June; Drifts start at 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm and 4pm
Calling all photographers professional and amateur.
Capture and contribute to a growing patchwork of images that envision a unique Plymouth.
You can use any kind of camera for this project: mobile phone, Polaroid, SLR etc.
All submitted images will be shown in the gallery and credited to the photographer.
More info email:

Plymouth Drift
Sunday 23 June; 1.30 – 4pm
Our individual experience of the city is unique, we imagine an idea of Plymouth that is constructed from facts and folklore as well as personal perceptions and experiences. This imagined city is the city we live in and it informs our sense of place.
Plymouth Drift is an opportunity to explore our imagined city and share our sense of place whilst exploring a collective reality, the city of others.

Plymouth Arts Centre would like to thank Councillor Chris Pemburthy, RIBA and SAICA for their support with this project.