Environment, Communities

From Ashes


Who is behind this?

Gemma Paintin

Action Hero


United Kingdom

Idea Sketch | Proposal


Idea pitch

The project starts with the creation of a paper city, echoing the actual city in which the project is located, and built by its citizens in collaboration with the artists. For the installation, the city is submerged in ash, and visitors to the space slowly uncover it with brushes until the city is revealed. During this, participants tell their stories about memories, environmental and community change, and how they view the future from old heavy-industry Europe to post-industrial climate change.

Where will your idea take place?


Why does Europe need your idea?

Ash is representative of post-industrial Europe. Ash on the paper city becomes the weight of its industrial past and the weight it has to bear in a post-industrial age. Ash connects to climate change and the need for Europe to become post-coal, but the difficulty this poses to dependent communities. The ash also echoes a natural disaster that could happen as a result of climate change. The city’s creation becomes a space to rebuild after neglect; the brushing away of the ash becomes its healing.

What is your impact?

Our aims are twofold. First, to bring communities together to share and record the past and to look collectively at the future. Second, From Ashes is essentially a project of hope and optimism, helping communities to visualize a future in the face of economic, societal and climate change. We hope the project will provide a catalyst for participants to be instrumental in accepting and embracing change for the future.

How do you get there?

Buildings specific to the host city will be designed in collaboration with a local architect. Each building layout is printed onto 120gsm paper, and is constructed by hand by participants. The city is built on a 5m x 2m table – it takes two weeks to make enough buildings to cover it. Approximately 1000 buildings will cover the table. The table is painted, the buildings are stuck to the surface and it is then covered in ash. We will partner with a local architect and also with a venue that can provide us with a space. We will also partner with a blogger who can upload the stories and videos to the web.

What is your story?


Who are you doing it for?

The project is designed to work with very diverse participants across the generations. In particular we are looking at working with groups who live in a post-industrial region, whose communities have been challenged by the dismantling of those industries, for example, coal mining or steel works.

What makes your idea stand apart?

From Ashes is a powerful, unique project - there’s nothing else like it. It’s rooted in the everyday and is something anyone can understand and be involved with. As the city is uncovered, so ideas and thoughts about the future can be discovered and released.

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Advocate Europe

€ 42000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Personnel/expert/production costs 23,000 Management fees/overheads 2,500 Technical/table build/printing 4,000 Travel/accommodation/per diems 4,000 Contingency 1,500

What do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

Ideas of how we could extend the project further into Europe once this particular project is finished.


Action Hero

Idea created on March 7, 2016
Last edit on Oct. 30, 2017

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