Sketch and Stories at the Vintage festival

30 11 2010

This Saturday we’ll be hosting a stall at the Vintage and Handmade Market at Storey Gallery in Lancaster from 11am until 6pm. Instead of a financial exchange for one of my drawings (and a brew and piece of cake) I’ll be asking for your memories about independent shops in the city. So bring me a memory and I’ll provide a drawing and some tasty  refreshments.

Also 1pm I’ll also be doing an informal talk about the work and weather permitting we will walk down to see it and talk about Lancaster’s independent traders.

We will also have copies of the project publication and storycubes and some of the large scale drawings made for the project will be for sale.

Directions are here.

Hope to see you there.

Advertisements




A few Brews with the Marsh History Group

28 11 2010

During the project Ive been lucky to meet with and work with the Marsh History Group of local people who meet to remember and record the history of Lancaster and have been involved in books, publications and adding to archives.  I joined them a few times for a chat, a brew, many laughs and a revealing walk around Lancaster  on a very rainy day. We talked about the independent shops, food, saving for christmas, making a little food go a long way, a ‘bone for the dog’, how much more food waste there is with packaged food today and other aspects of local shops everyday life.

In the old shops life was a far far different pace, life was a different pattern.

You could go in and you could smell what kind of shop you were in, with your eyes closed you could tell what kind of shop it was, the cobblers, the grocers, the coffee shop.

When there were more independent shops you went in and you picked what you wanted, and how much you wanted, not all in packs that have to be sold within a certain length of time. And there was more variety, you could pick and choose shops as well.

In those days they spent a lot of their income on food, today they spend less on food and more on other things.

You used to get food on tick…in town it was quite high class and they didn’t give you food on tick in town..





Is Lancaster a Clone Town or a Home Town?

4 10 2010

The NEF (New Economics Foundation) have published a follow up to their 2005 Clone Town report, entitled Re-imaging the High Street: Escape From Clone Town Britain which makes for fascinating reading. It gives plenty of evidence for the need to support independent traders, something close to my heart as the Coordinator of the Talking Shop project at Mid Pennine Arts.

It highlights the prevalence of Clone Towns on high streets in Britain. A Clone Town is one which has the least variety of shops, and the highest number of chains. Home Towns, conversely, have a much clearer sense of identity, with greater variety in what the shops offer and a high number of independents rather than multiples. Surprisingly Cambridge scored as the worst Clone, with Whitstable in Kent as the highest scoring Home Town.

Lancaster wasn’t on the list, but the methodology was described in the report, so I’m planning to do my own research to find out where Lancaster will score on the Clone-to-Home Town scale. Having spent a fair amount of time there and seeing how many independents there are I’m guessing it will come out fairly high, but we shall see!

One last thought from the report – “the towns most dependent on the biggest chains and out of town stores have proven to be most vulnerable in the economic crisis.” Proof surely that we need to make sure towns keep their independence to ensure their future survival?

Lucy





Introducing Mid Pennine Arts: Talking Shop

23 06 2010

I’m Lucy Green, and I manage the Mid Pennine Arts (MPA) Talking Shop programme.

A bit about MPA first: the organisation has been around for 40 years and is a driving force for the arts. We create and deliver high quality artistic programmes which integrate Visual Arts, Creative Learning and Public Realm. MPA is based in Burnley and carries out a lot of work locally, but also works county-wide across Lancashire on several of its programmes.

Talking Shop is one of these county-wide programmes, and is a creative regeneration project which uses a diverse range of arts tools to engage small local shops and businesses in selected Lancashire neighbourhoods to research and promote their social and economic importance and to creatively investigate the impacts of regeneration on their sustainability.

We’ve partnered with Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, Storey Gallery and Lancaster University to commission Alice Angus to develop a Talking Shop project for Lancaster and As It Comes is the result.

We’re excited to see the work Alice produces and hope that the project encourages people to visit Lancaster and see all that it has to be proud of.

Lucy