My York Central is run by Phil Bixby and Helen Graham. Having met in one too many workshops, Phil and Helen started working together as My Future York and since early summer 2017 have been running the My Castle Gateway project.

Phil Bixby has lived and worked in York for many years and loves the city but believes we need to plan for future change, and spends much of his time telling people this. As a designer of buildings he’s learned that the best results come from the best brief, where building users really think about, and creatively describe, how they want to use future places and spaces. He believes that York needs the same approach from its residents. He’s an architect who has worked on community self-build, masterplanning and community decision-making in York and elsewhere, and spends a lot of his time watching  and learning about York from the saddle of a bicycle.

Helen Graham believes we can create a brilliant and inclusive future for York –but only if we work together and make room for all the ideas, creativity, local knowledge and energy of all of us who live and work here. Helen has – through various activist (York’s Alternative History) and research projects (How should heritage decisions be made?) – long explored how we might use the histories and heritage of York to open up debates about the city’s future and is looking forward to exploring how this might work in My York Central. Helen lives in Holgate but spends quite a lot of time on trains to Leeds where she teaches heritage studies at the University of Leeds.

Statement of transparency

York Central Partnership through City of York Council is paying for the time Phil Bixby and Helen Graham (My Future York) are spending working on the My York Central project from February to August 2018. An overall sum of £42,000 has been provided to allow some freedom from architectural and teaching commitments respectively over this period. Additionally £4,000 has been made available to cover events, speakers and similar costs, and this sum has been supplemented by funds from the Leeds Social Science Institute via the Economic and Social Research Council’s Impact Acceleration Fund. As with previous projects, My Future York act independently in order to best further the process of community engagement and to develop an agenda that is set in partnership with the community.