David Barrie

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This article is about the British designer. For the British art administrator, see David Ogilvy Barrie. For those of a similar name, see David Barry (disambiguation).

David Barrie (born 5 April 1964) is a social entrepreneur and producer and director of media and urban development projects and programmes.

Barrie has founded and grown several for-profit and non-profit ventures, linked to urban development, urban renewal and building new communities and markets at the most local level. He has created, advised and delivered projects in the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Canada and Central Europe valued at over £35m ($58m/€43m) and credited with leveraging over £0.5bn ($0.8bn/€0.6bn) of new investment into towns, cities and their neighborhoods. His work has been featured by The New York Times, China Daily, The Sunday Times and Monocle (lifestyle magazine) and won several prominent awards, including Future Minds European Award for Innovation (2011), Grand Prix Regeneration & Renewal & RIBA CABE Public Space (2009).

Since 1986, Barrie has also produced and directed documentary television for BBC Television, Channel 4, National Geographic Channel and CNN, including documentary films on the historical story behind The King's Speech [1], the life of Wallis Simpson, art of J.M.W. Turner, death of rock star Michael Hutchence [2], interviews with Jean-Luc Godard, Alexander McQueen and Georg Baselitz and productions such as The Late Show. In 2000, while making a TV series for CNN, Barrie and African journalist Sorious Samura were wrongfully arrested and imprisoned in Liberia by Charles Taylor (Liberian politician), their release secured after personal interventions by Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton.[1] Barrie's most recent projects include a series of three documentary films for BBC Television by Andrew Roberts (historian) on the life of Napoleon Bonaparte and a film on Winston Churchill as an artist by Andrew Marr, both due for first broadcast in the UK in 2015.

Wild Blue Cohort (2014-)[edit]

Barrie is the founder and CEO of this angel investor network and enterprise-support service in West London, which is seed financed by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. The venture seeks to promote the investment of private risk capital in world-class, early stage entrepreneurship close to home. Alongside conventional measures of profitability, scalability etc., the venture uses local economic metrics and prospects to evaluate investment opportunities. [3]

Jubilee Plaza, Fort McMurray (2013)[edit]

Support for conceptualization and planning of a major new plaza in the downtown business district of Fort McMurray, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Alberta. The new plaza is now under construction and due for completion in late 2015. [4]

Heart of Slough II (2013)[edit]

Conceptualization of a community investment program for Slough, south-east England, linked to a large-scale, public-private urban renewal program, now commencing with the construction of The Curve, a new public library and learning center, due for completion in Autumn 2015.

Made in Tikhvin (2012)[edit]

Creative lead on a revitalization program for Tikhvin, Tikhvinsky District of Leningrad Oblast, directed by the Strelka Institute, Moscow, and on behalf of one of the largest privately owned investment and industrial companies in Russia.

Shiregreen Neighborhood Challenge (2011–2012)[edit]

Advisor to an initiative in Shiregreen and Brightside, Sheffield, supported by NESTA and Sanctuary Group, on new forms of community-led innovation and participation in economic development, the sharing of skills, new food enterprise and revival and reuse of property. The Shiregreen Neighborhood Network has since been founded and become a very active local venture. [5]

The People's Supermarket (2009–2012)[edit]

Co-founder and Board Member of The People's Supermarket, a social enterprise and food cooperative grocery store inspired by the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn, New York [6]. The venture opened its first branch in London in 2010, was the subject of a TV series broadcast by Channel 4 Television [7] and won The Observer Ethical Award for Local Retailer, Future Minds European Award for Innovation and Cooperatives UK Best New Cooperative Enterprise. [8] [9].

Porth Teigr, Cardiff Bay, Wales (2008–11)[edit]

Advisor on citizen engagement in Butetown, Cardiff linked to the sustainable development of Porth Teigr, a major docklands site and location of the new BBC Wales Drama Village, led by igloo Regeneration (Aviva Investors) and the Welsh Assembly Government [10][11]. For its sustainable development of the built environment, Porth Teigr won a 2012 Sustainable Business award from The Guardian.[12]

Dott07 Urban Farming, Middlesbrough (2007–2008)[edit]

Creator and founder of an urban agriculture initiative in which over a thousand people grew food across the town of Middlesbrough, North East England, part of Designs of the Time. The project was designed to establish new opportunities for popular involvement in local food systems and urban planning. Food was grown in over 200 locations. The final harvest formed the ingredients of a 'town meal' attended by over 8000 people, curated by artist Patrick Brill. The project has since been repeated annually and Urban agriculture become the center piece of an £8m ($13m/€10m) healthy living program in the town [13][14], including a new horticultural training program for local people in Stewart Park, Middlesbrough.

The Castleford Project (2002–2008)[edit]

Founder of a £14.5m ($24m/€18m) program of public realm revitalization in the former coalfields town of Castleford, West Yorkshire. The initiative started with a corporate social investment of £100k ($164k/€120k) by Channel 4 Television and enabled a scheme of public space improvements in the town that have been credited with leveraging over £250m ($412m/€303m) in new investment.[2] The project featured new work by architects and artists, including Martha Schwartz (USA), Jan Gehl Architects (Denmark), Winter and Horbelt (Germany), Carlos Garaicoa (Cuba), and UK designers Renato Benedetti, DSDHA and Sarah Wigglesworth. The initiative was broadcast as a series of TV shows on Channel 4 in 2008 - Kevin McCloud and the Big Town Plan [15] - and exhibited at the Design Museum. In 2009, the Project won the Grand Prix, Regeneration & Renewal Award and Royal Institute of British Architects Special Public Space Award, sister of the Stirling Prize[16].

Power to Change (1995)[edit]

Founder of an art and design initiative on the adaptive reuse of the decommissioning Magnox nuclear power facility at Trawsfynydd, in the Snowdonia National Park, Wales [17]. The project featured new work by architects Will Alsop, Kathryn Findlay and James Wines, artist Bruce McLean, music composer Gavin Bryars, photographer John Davies and engineers Arup. It included the participation of artist Rachel Whiteread, architect Cedric Price and was broadcast by BBC Television. The project was published as a book and exhibited at the National Museum Cardiff and Royal Institute of British Architects.


Barrie was listed in The Independent Happy List 2012, for his role as a social entrepreneur, helping to make the UK "a more contented, better-adjusted, supportive, and happier place."[18]

The nephew of Cyril Bennett, who was a senior television executive at Rediffusion and London Weekend Television, Barrie graduated from York University with a degree in History and History of Art in 1986.[3] He was the presenter of a series of programmes for young people broadcast by Channel 4 Television in 1983. [19]


  1. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/897014.stm
  2. ^ Roux, Caroline (February 10, 2005). "How's that for a grand design?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  3. ^ Thomas, Holly (2009). "David Barrie". Grapevine (Alumni Office, University of York) (Autumn/Winter): 17. 

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