Random post it thoughts III – the future of small scale venues

III

To Leicester.

We wonder into two venues.

FABRIK – the former Walkabout pub and now an Independent Arts Centre – and PHOENIX SQUARE the building which I helped realise during my time as Director of Leicester Phoenix.

Both are empty (its late afternoon / early evening)

I enjoy the exhibition at FABRIK and feel excited by the rough and ready performance space it offers. Staffed (I think) by volunteers with no alchohol license (bring your own beer!) the space is characterised by a lo fi – make it happen – thread bare – no money energy.

Further uptown empty shops are populated by artists – a studio and a couple of galleries. Like the slackspace , the hidden kiosks project, @15Queenstreet initiative in Colchester it brings a vibrancy and life to what would have been dead, depressing space. The phrase ‘pop up spaces’ springs to mind..

Meanwhile back to the cultural quarter and the cash strapped Phoenix Square. I find myself animatedly describing what the public spaces were designed to do whilst hearing how potential users /event promoters have found it difficult to find a ‘way in’ to the programme.

Two quiet spaces with endless possibilities as yet unfilled. Two models of practice which could not be further apart – one reliant on good will, volunteers and a bottom up approach – open to offers but no money to back them up – one heavily reliant on public funding (capital and revenue) to deliver a professional programme which can appear closed and elite.

(To read all the post it thoughts to date simply select – Random Post it Thoughts – The future of small scale venues in the drop down box on the right of your screen)

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