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Join us for an exploration into resourcefulness this summer! Urban Dream Brokerage (UDB) presents ‘A Place for Local Making’.

A Place for Local Making, will be proudly brought to the public of Pōneke by Adam Ben-Dror and Xin Cheng, Urban Dream Brokerage (UDB) and Wellington City Council.


Over February & March 2022 A Place for Local Making, will be proudly brought to the public of Pōneke by Adam Ben-Dror and Xin Cheng, with support from Grace Ryder, Urban Dream Brokerage (UDB) and Wellington City Council. 

A Place for Local Making is the latest activation from the series of six UDB commissions brought to life over 2021/22. Enjoy a co-creative hub for open-source making, where artists Xin Cheng (Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland) and Adam Ben-Dror (Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt) will welcome anyone to join them in an exploration of resourcefulness. Aiming to inspire imaginative and caring ways of making and living, A Place for Local Making invites inquisitive collaborators  to bring in surplus materials and electronics, and to play, make and think with the materials, transforming them into useful or enjoyable things. Wishing to celebrate the local community of maker-carer-user-hackers, they also welcome anyone who makes, repairs and repurposes to share and showcase their invaluable creations.

“In a climate of overflowing landfills and businesses striving for circularity, we see an opportunity for local and creative making which gives ‘waste’ new lives, while fostering convivial and resilient communities. We want to share the joy of playing and creating, make friends with like-minded people, and to grow public places in the city where anyone could imagine and plant new stories and values around how we want to live and care for our material and ecological surroundings, together.”

Artists Adam & Xin have received funding from Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa to research local material whakapapa and develop new works for ten weeks in preparation for the public stage of this commision. A Place for Local Making commences the next stage of this project from Monday February 14th at 104 Courtenay place ( ex Readings cinema complex), with support from Urban Dream Brokerage. Over February the empty CBD shop front will be transformed into a co-creative hub. The public programme will commence in March, with a series of collaborative events, including hands-on workshops, reading groups and open discussions with political leaders, advocates, community leaders and contributors, innovators, researchers, designers and friends.

The full public programme details and updates to COVID-19 Red traffic light setting details will be available on

The activation will go forward under strict COVID-19 protocols based on guidance from the Government and MoH.

UDB is incredibly excited to present this next commission! In doing so they are continuing their mahi by once again bringing vitality to the inner city and its vacant spaces, supporting Aotearoa’s very talented arts practitioners and by continuing to encourage the public to korero, learn and to question, ‘what is art’!

Ben-Dror, Cheng and Grace Ryder, who will offer curatorial support throughout both the ten week period of development and the duration of A Place for Local Making, have between them extensive local, national and international networks all supporting this project. In addition they have years worth of experience producing high-quality, exciting, experimental artwork at well-known national galleries such as The Dowse Art Museum, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space and Dunedin Public Art Gallery, to name a few. A Place for Local Making is an extension of all of this experience!

A Place for Local Making is the fifth in a series of public art commissions for vacant city spaces funded by Wellington City Council’s City Recovery Fund and commissioned by public art organisation, Letting Space and vacant space brokers, Urban Dream Brokerage. They will be produced by artists during 2021 and early 2022 with support provided and spaces brokered for them by the brokerage. 

UDB has previously assisted and brokered space for over 100 creative projects in Te Whanganui-e-tara and wider Aotearoa from 2013-2018. The programme has encouraged the innovative use of vacant and underutilised retail and public space to creatively build community. With our world changing in recent years due to Covid 19, they received a strong mandate to return in 2020 and continue their mahi of enlivening our cities streets. 

“Urban Dream Brokerage is a must-have for Wellington - with its ability to energise locations and spaces and create a sense of fun and interest – it helps continue to make our city a special place.”

— David McGuinness, Director, Willis Bond, 2021


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About the artists:

Adam Ben-Dror is an artist-inventor currently teaching design at Victoria University Wellington. He recently turned a toy Lamborghini into a tele-presence robot which roamed around the city making friends. Collaborating with Xin they made two films on inter-species kinship within Te Whanganui-a-tara and Te Awa Kairangi for the Dowse Art Museum. Adam studied fine arts at the University of Auckland, design at Victoria University Wellington and robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA.

Xin Cheng is an artist and researcher and sometimes design teacher. She has been researching everyday resourcefulness around the earth since 2007. Recently she has been recording the sound of the dance between wind and trees. Previously she was a co-director of the artist-run space RM in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Xin studied social design at Hamburg University of Fine Arts, Germany, and ecology, psychology and fine arts at The University of Auckland.

Originally from Ōkakea West Melton, Grace Ryder (Pākehā, Polish and British) is an independent curator based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington. She is currently researching the late rug-maker and designer, Beatrice Cross, while also expanding her research and interests on care in a variety of practices, processes and outcomes, including this one.