IMAGINE SHOPS WITHOUT CARRIER BAGS, STOCK CHECKS, 9-5 OPENING HOURS, TILLS, SECURITY TAGS, GUARDS OR ALARMS
IMAGINE 92 EPHEMERAL AND CHANGING SHOPS WHERE WHAT YOU LEAVE WITH ISN’T SOME THING PHYSICAL BUT AN IDEA, A NEW SKILL, OR A DIFFERENT VIEW
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.
LET US CREATE SOMETHING THAT WILL RISE FROM THE ‘DEPRESSION’