The Shop is a space for meeting, for creating, for doing nothing. A space to test out ideas, to support ideas. A space the people of Pendle can take ownership of. A space that is…yours.
In April 2016 In-Situ took over The Shop in Nelson and for the first time we had a presence on the high street. It was an opportunity to embed ourselves in the everyday lives of the local community by taking up a position right in the centre of town. We created a tiny world that embodied In-Situ’s ethics and vision and all were welcome to join us in it. We ran workshops, hosted artists and sold vintage clothes. It was a flexible and inclusive space which supported the exciting ideas from the local community, and brought together people of all ages and backgrounds into a shared conversation and experience.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
We served food as a tool to spark conversations about poverty and waste. In our salvaged food café the menu was devised with ingredients that we saved from local supermarkets and that would have otherwise been discarded as waste. We wanted to draw attention to the vast quantity of food which is thrown away on a daily basis and to the ridiculous irony when high food wastage and high food poverty co-exist in the same area. Customers also paid on a pay-what-you-feel basis which was thought-provoking as it jarred a little with their expectations of consumer exchange. The intention was to encourage them to consider the value of food and think about how food could be made accessible to all.
We wanted to find out about the types of art that other people were creating in our area and provide a meeting point for them to gather. In The Shop, we hosted craft groups, landscape painting, knitting, and portrait photography as well as activists, writers, social practitioners, and other change-makers. In creating a melting pot of local art forms The Shop became a room where new and inclusive ideas could develop.
This was also an opportunity for In-Situ to try out a working model that would move away from funding-reliant arts projects. We created an income-generating project that represented In-Situ’s ethics and mission giving us more independence from funders, more financial security, and more control over the projects we created.
The Shop was first established in Nelson town centre as part of the Government’s Mary Portas Pilot programme. Following a series of successful vintage events in various locations around Nelson, and with additional funding from Arts Council England, The Shop was to be a dedicated space for hosting a vintage market and running a programme of artist residencies. Our initial involvement was as contributor to this programme and 3 of our artists worked in The Shop, engaging with the people of Nelson just as they had done at the Library in Brierfield. During this time David Armes rebuilt an old letterpress, Lydia Cottrell told stories with hair, and Reet So explored the media’s representation of people in society through a series of facilitated conversations and events.
Unfortunately, the team in charge were made redundant in spring 2016, but this opened up an opportunity for us to take over for the remainder of the lease. We made it our own and ran The Shop from 30th April until 3rd November 2016.