In the first few days of 2017, I find myself thinking a lot about my work and how I spend my time. I realize all that is seen and shared publicly is the end result. The product of my engagements – the initiatives, exhibitions, talks, and published works.

There is so much more that goes on and is created outside of those moments that I don’t share. 2017 is the year I’d like to change that.

I’d like to introduce my first project of 2017 along these lines: Note of Appreciation, a series of my writings that celebrate exceptional stories held by everyday urban objects.

My work obviously requires me to spend a lot of time in a lot of cities; researching, writing, consulting, curating. When I’m on the road and the workday is done in whatever city I’m in, I spend every free moment exploring the city. Experiencing, discovering and being part of the stories the city holds. I can say without much exaggeration that I go through as many shoes as I do notebooks and memory cards in the course of a year as a result of my fairly obsessive urban explorations.

Back at the hotel my time exploring the city usually results in what I’ve come to call a “Note of Appreciation” – a tribute to something in the city that holds a particularly interesting story that isn’t being told, or something that I found resonated with my own history and story.

Throughout 2017, I will be posting them on a dedicated area of my website:

I have written hundreds of these pieces, and will select some of my favorites to share each week. Some revel in the largely forgotten history of specific urban elements, such as the fences in South London that are made from repurposed WWII stretchers. Others become part of my own story – the magnificent Yves Klein Blue of an empty advertising billboard on the Madrid Metro that brings me back to an early project with London’s National Theatre for World Aids Day.

The one common thread throughout all of them is to show that some of the most commonplace and functional of urban objects hold exceptional stories. Not only for me, but for the city and so many personal histories. Yet time is rarely taken to appreciate them, or to document the stories they contain. Note of Appreciation is a long-time project of mine to do so that now deserves its own presence.

I hope you will visit the site and I hope you will enjoy the stories over the coming year. If you do, please subscribe for Note of Appreciation updates so we can keep in touch and I can let you know when new posts (and the eventual book) are available.

Thanks for reading,