Our People

About UDB

 Urban Dream Brokerage brings together property managers and the creative industries to lead creative development and urban revitalisation through the temporary use of vacant space by innovative projects. It is run by organisation Letting Space.

Economic analysis in Australia in 2012 shows the economic benefits of urban space renewal projects like UDB is at a benefit cost ratio of more than 10:1. That is, for every dollar invested in the programme it promises to generate ten-times that in economic benefit to the city

Applications for the use of vacant space are submitted to the UDB Advisory Panel for consideration against the UDB criteria. Brokerage Coordinator Helen Kirlew Smith handles all enquiries and negotiates the matching of projects and spaces, and their licensing. For more information on how it works go here.

 

Free Store, a Letting Space commission by Kim Paton, Ghuznee street with Foodstuffs, 2010.

Free Store, a Letting Space commission by Kim Paton, Ghuznee street with Foodstuffs, 2010.

UDB is run under the auspices of the Wellington Independent Arts Trust Managers Mark Amery and Sophie Jerram are curators of Letting Space, which for the last three years has run temporary public art projects nationally to critical and popular acclaim. The first seven of these projects involved working with property owners and agents for the use of vacant space.

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The pair also ran two major forums with Wellington City Council and Property Council of New Zealand support that saw both artists and property managers alike pitch their creative ideas for vacant space. A number of these ideas have gone on to be realised independently.

The UDB office is based at 19 Tory Street , an open source community gallery made possible with the support of property owner Michael Baker and Colliers.

The UDB Advisory Panel provide guidance to the UDB on dealings with the property and creative industries, support in the development of the Brokerage and consider the applications. Our current panel members are artist and WCC arts advisor Eve Armstrong, urban planner Anna Harley, management consultant Liz Mellish, Wellington Company Leasing Manager Stathis Moutous, artist and curator Kim Paton, property consultant Alison Pharaoh, and the UDB team.

Urban Dream Brokerage is one of many vacant space brokerages now occurring all over the world.  A key example in this part of the world has been Renew Newcastle (now expanded to Renew Australia) which has made a significant and much acknowledged contribution to the revitalisaton of Newcastle in New South Wales. Closer to home Urban Dream Brokerage commences as Life in Vacant Spaces trust opens in Christchurch.

Economic analysis in Australia in 2012 shows the economic benefits of urban space renewal projects like UDB is at a benefit cost ratio of more than 10:1. That is, for every dollar invested in the programme it promises to generate ten-times that in economic benefit to the city.


 
 
Sophie Jerram and Mark Amery speaking at Urban Dream Brokerage forum, Wellington Town Hall, 2011.

Sophie Jerram and Mark Amery speaking at Urban Dream Brokerage forum, Wellington Town Hall, 2011.

Managers: Mark Amery and Sophie Jerram Amery and Jerram are directors of Letting Space and trustees of the Wellington Independent Arts Trust, alongside Jan Bieringa, Gaylene Preston and Jo Randerson.

Sophie Jerram’s extensive work as a curator, artist and businesswoman has had a particular interest in issues surrounding sustainability and art’s examination of the relationship between business and the environment.

Mark Amery has extensive experience nationally as an arts manager, curator and writer and has worked as an arts advisor with public bodies and local authorities. He was previously Director of Playmarket.

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Brokerage Coordinator: Helen Kirlew Smith

Helen Kirlew Smith is an experienced producer, event manager and facilitator with a passion for supporting the arts in communities and public space.  Helen worked as Company Manager for Blast Theory in the UK for eight years, an internationally renowned company for creating groundbreaking new forms of performance and interactive art. She was also a mentor to emerging artists, created and promoted events, facilitated workshops and seminars around the UK. Since moving to New Zealand she has been actively involved with early childhood education organisation Playcentre and co-founded Breathing Space, a professional development organisation for parents.