© Miriam Kelly
11 May 2014
by João Guarantani
From 2015, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, in partnership with the British Council, will be offering overseas Travelling Fellowships for Designers in the applied arts (Architecture, Interiors, Product and Graphic Design). Over the next few months, we will be featuring past Winston Churchill Fellows' profiles in these fields to illustrate the wide variety of possible themes and approaches.
Architect Miriam Kelly’s Fellowship took her on a tour of the rust belts of America and Germany, with the aim of bringing back inspiration for the creative reuse of redundant industrial sites in the UK, particularly in ways which contribute positively to local communities. Her 6-week journey encompassed sixty sites of former heavy industry across Brooklyn, Buffalo, Detroit, and the industrial heartlands of the German Ruhr Valley.
In Brooklyn, Miriam visited the Army Terminal, a decommissioned military base which has been transformed into a diverse space containing an array of businesses, from chocolatiers to balloon makers. Meanwhile in Germany, she saw how the Zollverein Industrial Complex (a disused coal mine and coking plant) has been redeveloped as a cultural and tourism centre, and is now a recognised UNESCO World Heritage site.
As a conservation specialist, Miriam is particularly interested in the way the regeneration of redundant industrial sites can revitalise local communities.
“A number of the architectural projects I’ve worked on involve industrial buildings located in areas of deprivation, often linked to the closure of the site. This makes investment more difficult to attract but all the more important. During my study trip I discovered that creative approaches to the reuse of industrial buildings can be successful in attracting funding and unlocking regeneration opportunities to the benefit of local communities and the protection of our industrial heritage.”
Miriam hopes her experience will provide valuable new perspectives on the challenge of regeneration for redundant industrial sites and directly benefit a number of on-going projects. She also hopes to help broaden the debate on the cultural significance of industrial heritage and its value in today’s post-industrial society.
Applications for Fellowships in 2015 are now open and will close on 23 September this year. For full details and information on how to apply visit www.wcmt.org.uk.