Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Links to projects based in disused spaces plus others

Here are some links to similar projects, for some inspiration and assurance that what we are proposing isn't impossible...

Leeds based projects:

National projects:

International projects:


As part of the exhibition at the Leeds Met Gallery we asked visitors to choose one of the empty spaces and write a proposal for how they would use the space if it was temporarily theirs, here are some of the suggestions…

Empty Shop 06: Boar Lane
A roller disco venue.

Empty Shop 57: Mill Hill
A place where you can find others to sing with

Empty Shop 42: Kirkgate
Instead of a titty bar, lets have a witty bar

Empty Shop 72: Regent Street
This shop would allow you to borrow books on the trust that you will return them to allow others to enjoy them

Empty Shop 39: Infirmary Street
‘Bring your own’ lunch restaurant for city centre office workers to get away from their desks during the week

Empty Shop 66: North Street
a language shop; teach some of your first or second language in an exchange for someone else's

Empty Shop 29: East Parade
A public ‘living room’ – a home from home walk in living room – clean sofa’s etc

4 Missing...

We received an email from Yvonne Carmichael, who used to run one of the disused spaces outside the front of the Grand Theatre as a gallery; she informed us that we had missed 4 empty units off our survey. 42 New Briggate, the unit she used to programme and three units alongside it are still empty, that takes the total of empty spaces up to 96.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A Walk 13th June 2009 11.00am

Thanks to all of those who attended and contributed to the walk last Saturday, some interesting discussions were had and valuable points raised, we will write them up shortly...

After the walk we returned to the Leeds Met Gallery to discuss and agree on some actions points to help realise the project. One of the action points was to create this blog, there are lots of people in Leeds who want to initiate this type of project and use empty spaces in the city, as a group we decided we should set up a blog to share information, resources and contacts with other activists in the city.

We would like this to be a site for discussion, if you have any relevant information, interesting links or opinions please share them

An Invitation

During April and May 2009 we walked 232 streets in Leeds city centre and conducted a survey of the closed down shops; in total there are 92 (excluding the arcades and markets).

The results of this survey are currently on display in the Leeds Met. Gallery, as part of the Recent Appointments Exhibition. The work is on display until the 26th June and invites you to choose one of the 92 empty shops and write a proposal for how you would use the shop if it was temporarily yours.

Please come and view the project and take part in an informal walk that is leaving from the Met. Gallery on Saturday 13th June at 11.00am. During the walk we will be considering the recent history of a number of the empty spaces, reflecting upon the present situation and discussing the potential for renewal. The walk has been organised with the aim of creating dialogue between local community groups, artists, the agents that manage the spaces and Leeds City Council.
The duration of the walk will be approximately one hours and 30 minutes, after which we will return to the Gallery for refreshments and to write up an action plan based on the discussions had.

If you are interested in the project but are unable to attend the walk, please get in touch to arrange a meeting with us:

92 Empty Shops



Empty shops are the face of the downturn, of depression and a lack of confidence but they also leave space for everything that does not revolve around money, for a new focus on need, on education and on encouragement.

Let’s make them: observation shops; talk and discussion shops; swap shops; skill shops; thinking shops; experimenting shops; history shops; sitting shops; meeting shops; exhibition shops; shops as places for debate and as places for chance encounters between people from different parts of the City.

Let’s make these spaces about thinking, producing, creating and learning, for those excluded by the expense of a day in town. Let’s make art spaces; meeting spaces; reading spaces; eating spaces; spaces that contribute to the social life of the City. Collectively we must find that which does not just rely on money; that which unites us; local initiatives; education and cultural engagement accessible to everybody.

Let this sign of depression be an opportunity to build a new framework for our City centre, away from the idea that money, private investment and consumerism are the only way to develop an area. Let’s develop the area ourselves on the basis of our interests and needs and allow everybody to benefit from it.

We propose a collective effort to fill these 92 shops and to use them to develop the social space of our City abandoned by profit-makers. Let’s make Leeds a City of diverse attractions, not with only big glossy crowd pullers but with a collective of independent spaces.


‘We Make the Road by Walking’*

Recent Appointments: Conway and Young

We will be presenting work collated from a series of walks around a designated area of Leeds.
Alongside other participatory elements, visitors to the show are invited to join us on a walk, during which we will consider the history of the spaces highlighted and reflect upon their present situation and potential for renewal.

*Title of poem by Antonio Machado

Recent Appointments

6-26 Jun09
Recent Appointments

Friday 5 June, 6-8.30pm
Clare Charnley, Conway and Young, Alan Dunn, Harold Offeh and Rory Macbeth.

This work by new lecturers at Leeds Met gives a glimpse of the other half of the exchange taking place between students and staff. Recent Appointments makes public what six ‘artists who teach’ do when they are outside the lecture theatre, the studios and the canteen.

Showing alongside the graduating students’ final exhibitions at Leeds Met Recent Appointments includes the launch of Alan Dunn's new audio CD project inspired by The Beatles' 1968 collage 'Revolution 9' and new participatory work by designers Conway + Young. Harold Offeh presents a small selection of recent video and performance work. Also working with video, Clare Charnley and collaborators attempt the ridiculous task of fitting two bodies into one. We see the results of Rory Macbeth’s translation of a Kafka novel from German into English without a dictionary or any knowledge of German. And there might be a boat…

To coincide with the graduate Arts Festival the Gallery will be open Mon-Sat 11am-4pm plus Sunday 7 May.