Year | 2012
Location | Parson Cross, Sheffield, UK
Client | Ian Drayton / Rachael Dodd

What if…? A Scrapbook of Ideas for the Neighbourhood
In 2012, SOAR initiated a Live Project, to ask ‘where are we now?’ and in conjunction with Yorkshire Artspace explore the future potential of 2 new buildings in Parson Cross: the Learning Zone and SOAR Works. Following a Live Project in 2000 and a community led neighbourhood strategy written in 2002, this Live Project not only examined the 2 buildings, but the Parson Cross neighbourhood as a whole.
We set up Parson X Exchange as a community network for exchanging ideas, aspirations and dreams for the continued regeneration of Parson Cross. It explores ideas for SOAR Works, the Learning Zone and the Parson Cross community through a collaborative scrapbook, one located in SOAR Works and another in the Learning Zone. To understand the complex situation and suggest proposals for the future, we set up a physical location for Parson X Exchange in a prominent unit at SOAR Works, working there for the project’s 6 week duration. We explored ideas through 4 timescales, some of which we implemented to test the interventions, gauge response and act as a catalyst to both promote SOAR Works and ignite ideas across the community.
All the ideas and proposals so far have been generated among local community groups. We attended the extensive diary of local events and classes and through a continual process, developed the ideas through dialogue and presented them on facebook and at the Parson X Exchange in SOAR Works.
This is just the start of the Parson X Exchange; there is loads of space in the scrapbook for comments and drawings: speech bubbles, ‘like’ stickers, pens, paper and doodles allow everyone to add and explore even more ideas. The scrapbook brings together some ideas for linking local shops, a way of exchanging skills or a place to get in touch with things going on in the neighbourhood. Some of the ideas may be taken up by SOAR, others offer opportunities for the community to organise themselves. This is the community’s chance to grab hold of these ideas, twist and turn them, make links and contacts and get involved in the neighbourhood. The subtle details of the initial proposals are just as important as the wider discussion that they provoke. The legacy of the Parson X Exchange passes to the community and the artists in SOAR Works who we have worked with to ensure a collaborative future for the project.
Visit to see the exchange in action.
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