During the Summer of 2012, I designed, coordinated and helped deliver a programme of events at two empty shop spaces in South Lincolnshire.

up the ladder at pop up holbeach


Holbeach is proving very popular with the local community who pop in for a cuppa and chat and to let us know their view on the empty shops style of arts delivery…..which so far is very supportive!  We are also hoping to be a ‘community hub’, raising awareness of the community groups that exist and providing a central space for networking/co-working.

There’s already rumblings of a knit group starting and a request for ESOL sessions
HS birds (2)

HS 4

Some of our programmed activities:

Nuno felt making

Knitting corner

Shop installation

Dancing in the street


ipad design

Community art gallery

Community information board

Making books

Fashion upcycling


Recycled plastic flowers

Sculpture and more

Here’s a short video of a wonderful moment of cross generational craft sharing

Here are some of the messages left on our post-its:

Q: what do you think pop up spaces can contribute to a place?


Lots to do, fun activities, fun

Free things to do

Learn new things

Pop up space almost the same as Pop-in for company and tea, good for young and old Holbeach folk….welcome to both

Q:  what would you like to improve about your town?

More books in the library

More love

Better park

Free car parking

Less litter

Move it to Spain

Less pollution

More street parties

A swimming pool

Free money shop

Better Tesco

A skate park

More art stuff

More art shops for children to have fun

Less pubs

I yarnbombed our window cleaner’s ladder the first day we opened and he’s very proud of his piece of street art.


Through the empty shop project so far we feel we’ve:

engaged more people in the arts in an area of social and rural isolation

made new friends and formed new relationships with community groups & local residents

opened up new communication and information sharing networks

informed about local councillors/parish councils/action groups & community ownership motivating many to be more proactive

provided a space for tea and chat….listening to concerns, worries and hopes for the future

provided a space for people to display their work

provided information on and promoting local artists

kept people informed and up to date with the arts locally and further afield

increased footfall into the town centres

provided a space for families to take part in an activity together at no cost

encouraged the community to take ownership of their own space




Over the 5 weeks, the shops have been open for 20 days each, with 16 local artists delivering workshops in both empty spaces totalling 174 artist hours.   The majority of these artists have been sourced from Lincs Artist Forum (LAF).

Dan Thompson’s Report

Dan Thompson Presentation

Empty Shops Network

First story from the Boston and Holbeach empty shops on the empty shops network blog

The second story from theTransported Boston and Holbeach empty shops on the empty shops network blog












2 thoughts on “ART IN EMPTY SPACES

  1. Pingback: Filling an empty shop with photos and technology | Creative Communities

  2. Pingback: Empty Shops End

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