What Makes West!?

9 December 2022
Collab. with De Voorkamer en Perron West


What Makes West!? centres on how the urban environment of Lombok is changing – think shops, apartments and squares. Together with partners De Voorkamer and Perron West/The Creative Playground and Utrecht city council, Gemene Grond is examining the possibilities for residents to have a say about art in Lombok. The neighbourhood belongs to them, after all. The council has ambitious plans to redevelop Lombok, especially when it comes to the future Lombokplein square. We ask ourselves: what does that mean for the local community? Who will and won’t be seen and heard during the design process, who will be given space and who owns the space? Together with local residents we’ll be looking for answers to these questions. And through our programme council we’re looking to amplify the voices of those who have not been sufficiently heard.

Popping bubbles

From 2023 onwards, a local programme council will meet every month to work on a plan. The council will comprise at least seven members from different parts of Lombok. We’re hoping for lots of diversity, both in terms of people’s backgrounds and their skills. These meetings won’t be boring, they’ll be a convivial gatherings held locally with good food. Participants will be recompensed for their time and ideas. The programme committee lets us combine our strengths and skills and literally to open our doors to one another and bolster the community spirit.

Casco’s Luuk Cohlen will join us to see how we can get the idea of the commons – resources available to all -- off the drawing board and into the community.

Weekly community visits

What Makes West!? was initiated in 2022 by Suzanne Sanders (curator and Gemene Grond trailblazer) and Ramiro Gomes Monteiro, cultural and strategic entrepreneur in Lombok and affiliated to The Creative Playground. For several months they went on weekly tours of the neighbourhood, engaging people from different parts of Lombok with the ideas of Gemene Grond. The launch of What Makes West!? was a day organised in and with De Voorkamer and Perron West during which different groups from the neighbourhood met up with one another to talk about our shared public space.

Learning point: don’t try and do everything all at once

What Makes West!? combined two different events in one, which was a little too much for just one day. With hindsight, it would have been better to spread the activities over a couple of days.

Key moments

In the summer of 2022, Suzanne and Ramiro got to work and spoke with all the different groups in Lombok. This led to an event on December 9, 2022 to bring together all the different contacts and experiences. In early 2023 Gemene Grond, The Creative Playground, Perron West and De Voorkamer returned to the table to jointly set up a programme council and initiate an experiment in shared commissioning, in which the neighbourhood is seen as urban commons.

In the pipeline

In 2023 we’ll be starting with the programme committee. The aims are:

  • To bring more people together and break through social bubbles
  • To discuss what’s going on in the community. What’s needed? What is there too much or too little of? Which voices aren’t being heard, or heeded enough?
  • To translate what we’re hearing into concrete actions where culture meets other disciplines: together with local residents, artists and other makers we want to discuss our public space as a shared space.
  • Commissioning art in the short term – in and with local residents
  • Art and design commissions for the longer term in the future Lombok park

Ramiro Gomes Monteiro, The Creative Playground, Perron West, De Vookamer, Suzanne Sanders