Cultivating a creative ecology

XCHC (Exchange Christchurch) is a for purpose business set up to benefit the community by providing a place for creative practitioners to develop their practice, share ideas and knowledge, and connect with other creative practitioners. It was established in the post earthquake context as a response to the loss of space to develop and showcase creative work, but also in recognition of the creative explosion that happened post earthquake and the intention to foster its growth by providing a place for people to come together to develop their ideas.

XCHC provides four unique yet connected areas: makerspace, showcase space, accommodation, and the cafe/bar. Their close proximity enables the casual exchange of knowledge between the creative disciplines. Additionally, by providing a place for creative practitioners to meet one another it lends to building a community of interest around the creative industries. The three areas of focus are:



XCHC Makerspace is for the production of two and three dimensional creative works, and is a space where practitioners make, experiment and test ideas. Because of the open floor plan there is an opportunity to sharing knowledge with one another as well as pursue collaborative works.  Residents of the makerspace come from a wide variety of disciplines as well as bring with them varying levels of experience. This diversity enriches the exchange of knowledge.



XCHC Showcase Space is a multi-purpose venue to host workshops, performances, film screenings, launches, presentations, exhibitions, etc. Each event is curated by a host and provides an opportunity for creative practitioners to share their work with a wider audience.



Pedro’s Cafe is a hybrid between café/workspace and bar/showcase space, and brings people together to casually share ideas and meet like minded creative individuals. The communal seating extends into the XCHC Showcase Space and blurs where creative practice starts and the public enters.



  • Demonstrating leadership in enabling creative enterprise by developing a self sustaining cultural enterprise model to underpin and assure the longer-term evolutionary development of XCHC

  • Releasing the potential for creative enterprise by enabling and supporting creative individuals and groups to share knowledge, experiment and test ideas and develop commercially viable creative practices.

  • Creating opportunities for people interested in creative enterprise to exchange and share knowledge in order to further their creative practices and increase public awareness of the potential for creative communities to enable positive change.



The vision of XCHC is to form a creative ecology that empowers the creative community to develop successful enterprises that in turn positively impact individual's economic stability and quality of life.

There are four types of people that participate in this creative ecology:

  • Creative practitioners who come to XCHC to work and develop their creative enterprises.

  • Groups or individuals that host creative events at XCHC.

  • Guests who come to visit and experience creative works at XCHC.

  • The public who at a more subconscious level are affected by the collective growth of the creative community.  

The social benefits of providing a space that nurtures a creative ecology include: increased quality of life, increased sense of empowerment, increased sense of opportunity, and increased economic independence. These social benefits transcend across the four types of people and are diverse and multi-faceted.

Developing a culture where people can invest in their their own niche businesses increases the economic diversity of a city which makes for a more resilient future economy. This is made possible by providing a culture where creative practitioners can develop the skills they need to create successful businesses through leveraging both the network of XCHC residents and the expertise of the wider XCHC team.

Providing a place that connects the creative community breeds a sense of opportunity and possibility, which makes for an exciting and desirable place to live, and in turn attracts both new people who want to be apart of the creative culture as well as inspires those in the community to develop their creative practices further