Empty Shops Network on tour

Exploring empty shops is about celebrating local distinctiveness - that's the thinking behind a new project from the Empty Shops Network.

Touring to six towns across England, the project will also show local communities how to use empty shops for meanwhile projects - in fact each project will last less than a week from start to finish. That week will involved public meetings, informal training for local artists, and showcase the tools needed to run empty shops projects.

The tour has been organised by the Empty Shops Network, with the first event happening just a week after the project was conceived at a meeting of organisations involved in bringing empty shops and spaces into meanwhile use.

'Tell me about Oswald Denniston' takes place in Brixton Village from 1st-6th February. The tour is supported by the Meanwhile Project, and the Brixton event is using a space provided by the Space Makers Agency.

 'Tell Me About Oswald Denniston' was inspired by local stories uncovered while preparing for the tour.

Oswald Denniston was a passenger on the Empire Windrush when it docked at London in 1948, and in the early 1960s became the first African-Caribbean trader in the Granville Arcade, now known as Brixton Village. He passed away in 2000, after becoming a pillar of the local community during a life which took in signwriting, market trading, cycling (he was the first black cyclist in the Herne Hill Cycling Club) and reciting epic verse.

Artists including Alice Angus, Natasha Middleton, Dan Thompson, Richard Vobes and Jan Williams (Caravan Gallery) are set to explore Denniston's life and the story of Granville Arcade.

After Brixton, the Empty Shops Network project will visit five further towns, with dates in Shoreham by Sea, Coventry, Cumbria and Durham to be confirmed in coming weeks.

'Tell me about Oswald Denniston' is open to the public on Saturday 6th February from 9am-4.30pm in Unit 37, Brixton Village, off Atlantic Road. Contact the Empty Shops Network for details of meetings or to arrange a conversation about using empty shops during the week.

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