Artists’ spaces and gentrification, a grand alternative?

On the 28th of October 2017 an event was held at Phoenix House in Manchester to talk about the issues that artists face when trying to find secure studio space. Namely the main topic was how artists work with or against the rising tide of private property development in the city.

This page shows the poster for the event and the talks that were recorded. Unfortunately the lively post-talk discussion cannot be used because there are fears among some artists that there would be negative repercussions from what was said. This should in some way show how delicate the issue is, and what people feel is at stake for speaking their minds.

The event blurb:

Gentrification is fast becoming the most pressing issue for Manchester residents seeking affordable places to live, but how do artists factor into it? For those seeking secure studio space, the landscape is now largely dictated by property developers and their desire for cultural capital, rates subsidy and building security. It often seems that an artist’s only option is to work with these forces in return for temporary space, helping property speculators move into ‘undesirable’ areas whilst boosting their cultural kudos.
However, is it really an either-or scenario?
How do we negotiate this new landscape?
And are there alternatives to the precarious situation we find ourselves in?

Four speakers will open up these questions and invite discussion through short talks.

Running Order – starts 12PM
Steve Hanson Property speculation, the only game in town?
Dale Lately The regeneration game: How property developers fell in love with artists
Jane Brake & John van Aitken – Joy and Division in Salford: The Artful Discourses of gentrification
Partisan collective Alternative spaces and how they get made
Group discussion chaired by Huw Wahl
Graphic visualisations throughout by Joe Ravetz

The event aims to be informal, open and exploratory. We invite anyone interested in or concerned about artists’ space in Manchester to come and join the discussion. Bring your ideas, experience and positivity. Also, bring warm clothes; our studio can get a bit nippy. The event is on the first floor and unfortunately we do not have disabled access. the event is free and open to all. Please register if possible so we can estimate numbers, but also feel free to just turn up.

The recorded talks

Images courtesy of Jane Brake & John Aitken

Luckily we had enough chairsIMG_3945
(Image courtesy of Jane Brake & John Aitken)

Huw introduces the event
(Image courtesy of Jane Brake & John Aitken)

Steve Hanson’s talk
(Image courtesy of Jane Brake & John Aitken)

Dale Lately’s talk

Jane Brake & John Aitken’s talk
(image to come)

Ruby Breward’s talk
(Image courtesy of Jane Brake & John Aitken)

Joe Ravetz explaining his drawings:
IMG_3996.jpg(Image courtesy of Jane Brake & John Aitken)

IMG_3988(Image courtesy of Jane Brake & John Aitken)


IMG_3984(Image courtesy of Jane Brake & John Aitken)