On 22nd February 2011 disaster hit Christchurch in New Zealand, where a major earthquake ripped through the city killing 185 people.
Here, designer Peter Godkin now based in Christchurch outlines his plans to use creativity to help support Creative’s in the Visual Arts and Education, and the city get back on track.
The day of the second Earthquake.
It was 7.30am in the morning on the 22nd February 2011, and I was in my hotel room in London preparing for breakfast and to attend the second day of the ‘4 Designers Seminar’ at Leicester Square with my HND Graphics Student from the University of Salford, Manchester. My wife Ness, telephoned me to say that another major earthquake had hit the city of Christchurch, and this time there were casualties. My first and only thought was to get back home to Manchester on the train from London as quickly as I could, for news of Family and Friends. It was during this long journey back that I made a note of a few thoughts on ‘how to help, and do my bit for our new adpted home?’
The journey felt like it lasted an eternity, and at the time I was unable to really get my thoughts off the ground, due to being heavily involved in undertaking my Masters of Arts in Communications (also at Salford) and my teaching commitments. It would only be possible once I had completed these that I’d be able set aside the time to get these ideas from my journal and into a form which could be offered up for potential discussion and collaboration. The time became available over Christmas 2011, and the first thoughts came together were developed and conceptualised, which became the branding and is shown attached. Now 2 years on and based in the City, being on the ground has opened up a number of potential opportunities to further explore and support, one of these ‘The Artbox project’ based here in Christchurch, http://www.artboxnz.net and headed by Martin Trusttam from CPIT, they are committed to helping as many if all of the Artists and Creatives in the city who have lost premises and income.
The question I have been asked a few times now, is ‘why do this at the time?’
My answers for this are the following 2 reasons:
Firstly to continue to raise awareness outside of New Zealand and especially at the time the ‘first anniversary’ in 2011. It was very unfortunate that not long after in March 2011, the Earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan, and the shocking loss of life which went with it, however with no disrespect intended this completely took away any focus on the plight of Christchurch at the time or since. I also want to make it clear that this work is all ‘Not for profit’ and never has been.
Before Christmas 2011, I felt it was the right moment to put the word out about my own contribution to the healing support service for my wife’s home city, about the continuing problems still being encountered every day, by the general population a large number of whom, in the last 2 1/2 years have lost everything. This is where the very personal perspective comes to the fore, as my wife and I have Family and friends in Christchurch, and have regular contact with them, the difficulties they have faced especially post the earthquake which struck with such devastation on that day, killing 185 people still continue on some level. Thankfully all our family and friends were ok, however of these a few lost their homes and it has taken a very long time to actually get to a point of when they can rebuild with a promised compensation.
Secondly though not as directly personal but it is still important to help support the ‘existing initiatives’ for fellow Creative's in Central Christchurch. I also hold International membership of DINZ (Designers Institute of New Zealand) in addition to my CSD membership, and I can bring a dual perspective to any discussion on how to move forward. It is also not widely known that many of the Creative's in the city who have been affected, are from the ‘Entrepreneurial level’ or ‘Small Business sector’ and lost their livelihoods in the space of those traumatic few hours. As a fellow Entrepreneur and now Educator the empathy is there, by putting out the word through International networks online in the ‘Creative Industries’ through ‘Creative Strategies’ of Poster Design, Online Branding, Skill Donations to collaborative projects and if possible also raise funds, then this will be a bonus. One of my specialist areas is ‘Typographic Branding’ and the visuals shown are the early creative developments of the process, and have followed on from my MA, MB96 Manchester Bombing creative work, in fact it was this early work which have sown the seeds for this development, and the work for this can be viewed on this link:
http://bit.ly/u8vqOJ and this link: http://bit.ly/VLOurh
In conclusion any support for this will be very much appreciated, not only by me, but also the Creative Community here in CHCH. A further information release is due out in September 2013, with more details of how things can progress especially with Artbox. In the meantime please send on the above links through your own network and connections, if you can this will be very much appreciated.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this article.
Peter Godkin MA, MCSD, MDINZ
Tutor YOOBEE School of Design, and Consultant Mentor, engineroomcreative.