I like to think that I’ve been a bit of digital pioneer during my time as Project Manager with the Discover DeCrypt project – but on reflection, what I’ve really been is primarily an enthusiastic user of Twitter. As the voice of the project twitter account, I feel like I’ve really got to know the virtual community of Gloucester…and what a community it is! Creative, brave, innovative, and growing in confidence as the City’s perception of itself shifts and becomes more defined. Gloucester, it feels like to me, is a City on the brink of some seriously Good Things.
One area of the Discover DeCrypt’s own mini ‘digital revolution’ which I have singularly failed at is in the Blogosphere. Having been asked, cajoled, and eventually downright pleaded to write something by Project Assistant Jenine, there came a plaintive last email from her on the last day of my contract on the project – ‘please can you write your first and last blog post?.’ That was nearly two weeks ago, and as I sit here knee-deep in the challenges of my next project, that firm but gentle email still in my inbox, I think the time has come to finally deliver.
Over the final weeks of the project thoughts turn as much to the past as the future. The future of course of Discover DeCrypt is golden – with 3,000 visitors (or a third of the total forecast numbers for the entire year to the end of December) having passed through the doors, there’s no doubt of the appetite and enthusiasm for a truly new and uplifting contribution to Gloucester’s City Centre. But being myself very firmly part of the past now as far as the long history of the church and schoolroom is concerned, I think very fondly at this stage of the design team and contractor who together with me are part of this invisible army whose lives have been touched by (and whose professional skills have touched) the fabric of the place.
Project teams can be the most complex, intense pieces of theatre. United by a common goal (to complete a project), but divided by highly-specialised disciplines, they are brought together under pressurised circumstances and move through every possible emotion en route to a successful conclusion. There is plenty of sunshine and smiles as milestones are reached, and furrowed brows and thunder as we pass through stormy skies – the classic ‘forming, storming, norming’ of project management literature. At every meeting I thought to myself ‘I MUST take a photo of us all together at work’ – and as every meeting closed, I thought ‘next time.’ But then just as suddenly as you have formed – and got to know each other – and talked holidays, buildings, and family in the time that bookends the proper business of each meeting – it’s time to say goodbye. This being the heritage sector, which is after all not huge, there’s the hope your paths will cross again, but for now at least our voices (at times calm, at times urgent, at times – let’s face it – a little bit cross) are still as far as St Mary de Crypt and the Old Crypt Schoolrooms are concerned.
So – for the final time after multiple speeches which have been at times chaotic and others polished – is my final Roll Call of Honour for my fellow consultants:
Jonah Jay, Purcell/ Jonah Jay Architects (for making it look beautiful)
Alec Painter, Mildred Howells (for making it all add up)
Graham Cooke and Tim Bartlett, Martin Thomas Associates (for making it warm and bright)
Steve Swinbank, Mann Williams (for making it all stand up)
Bruce Kirk, Light Perceptions (for lighting it up)
Mark Magidson, Exhibition Plus (for telling the story)
Jon Wilkins, Wilkins Safety Group (for keeping it safe)
Geoff Buckley, Buckley Lewis (for keeping it legal)
…and Andy Hutchings for making it all happen on site.
Gentlemen – it has been a pleasure and a privilege.
Until the next time…