Vacant to Vibrant
Developing research and delivering real projects that tackle the issue of vacancy and creative reuse of urban space.
2010 - Ongoing
Across Northern Ireland
Arts & Business, Deramore Property Group, Enkalon Foundation, Frazer Kidd, KARL Group, Livity, McConnell Property
PLACE has been developing and delivering high quality projects surrounding the issue of vacancy and creative reuse of urban space since 2010. We have activated over 80,000 ft2 of vacant space during this time. We recently published initial research and commentary on vacancy and are committed to developing a robust evidence base, through critical research, that will enable and empower local communities / creative sector to reimagine vacant spaces and regenerate underused places.
out of PLACE: Antrim
10 July - 2 August 2014 / Antrim
Through the UK wide somewhereto_ campaign PLACE occupied a vacant space on Antrim High Street. Young people opened up and activated the space with fashion stalls, entrepreneurial showcases, film screenings and food and drink events.
Vacant to Vibrant: Rethinking Town Centres
PLACE publication featuring case studies of projects tackling vacancy and essays examining the issue in terms of culture, urban policy, retail and activism. The authors, interviewees and organisations collected here do not always agree with one another. But each has an idea, a practice or theory, new knowledge or experience, to contribute to the debate. The publication aims to demonstrate that town and city centres are the stage for our public, social, cultural, business and political lives. There is much that we can do to make these places better, more equitable, accessible, profitable and unique - to turn them from vacant to vibrant.
The publication was edited by Conor McCafferty and contributors included: Heather Carr, Michael Corr, Rachel Brown, Brighdin Farren, Moira Lascelles, David McClure, Catherine Goligher, Donald McFetridge, Sarah Frood, Desmond Bernie, Rebekah McCabe, Carol Ramsey, Dan Thompson, Eddie Bridgeman, Stephen Dunlop, Adam Turkington, Ali Fell, Dr Agustina Martire.
Vacant to Vibrant: Exchange
March 2014 / Belfast
A two-day event exploring international and local solutions to vacancy. Decision makers, academics, artists and urbanists came together to share inspiring projects that transformed places and spaces. The conference also marked the launch the PLACE publication, 'Vacant to Vibrant: Rethinking Town Centres'.
Speakers included: Xavier Boneta Lorente, Barcelona Provincial Council / Eddie Bridgeman, Meanwhile Space / Heather Carr, Arts & Business / Michael Corr, PLACE / Donagh Horgan, Multidisciplinary Design Strategist / Michiel van Lersel, Founder, Failed Architecture / Mark Minkjan, Editor in Chief, Failed Architecture / Heather Ring, Wayward Plants / Ola Wedebrunn, Docomomo / Dominic Cools-Lartigue, Street Feast / Wayne Hemingway MBE, Hemingway Design / Shane O’Toole, Architect, Critic & Historian
Vacant to Vibrant: Exchange was supported by the NGO Challenge Fund and the British Council. Vacant to Vibrant: Rethinking Town Centres was supported by Arts and Business NI.
out of PLACE: Bangor
July & August 2013 / Bangor
Through the UK wide somewhereto_ campaign PLACE occupied a former department store on Main Street, Bangor. The huge space was used by young people to develop ideas and acquire new skills. The campaign involved an art gallery, fashion concept store, meeting space, urban design academy, photography studio, pop-up cinema, and live music venue, and much more.
Empty Shops Workshop
April 2013 / Belfast
One of the gurus of the pop-up scene, Dan Thompson heads the Empty Shops Network in the UK. He’s worked on numerous cultural empty shops projects. Dan inspires action across the UK - and this workshop was a unique opportunity to get hands-on advice and encouragement from someone who eats, sleeps and breathes empty shop projects! The workshop was supported by the Belfast Festivals Forum.
Vacant to Vibrant Symposium
April 2013 / Derry~Londonderry
This event highlighted the opportunities for our town centres and explored the crucial issues around town centre vacancy together with policy-makers, activists, artists, the business and property sector, creative and cultural representatives and built environment professionals. The event analysed the issues around vacancy, explored opportunities to work together, and encouraged real projects to develop.
out of PLACE: North Street
September 2012 / Belfast
PLACE occupied a vacant retail unit at 17 North Street, Belfast during Culture Night 2012 to demonstrate how culture can instantly bring life and activity onto a street. The pop-up shop attracted huge footfall over the evening with live music, stand up comedy, exhibitions, and workshops.
out of PLACE: Obel
August - September 2012 / Belfast
PLACE programmed 7,000 ft2 of vacant commercial space within Ireland’s tallest building, The Obel. The project was supported by Karl Group and McConnell Property. Activities within the riverfront space included:
- PLACE Academy: 27 young people explored architecture, design, public art, sketching, photography and urban history during a week long summer school.
- The Secret Laboratory: Notebooks & Narratives: An exhibition commissioned by PLACE and designed by Paul Clarke, UU and Niall O’Hare, UU to display architect’s sketchbooks for the public.
- RSUA Presidents Medal: The Shortlist: An exhibition of undergraduate and postgraduate work from the architecture departments of both UU and QUB.
out of PLACE: Castle Lane
July - August 2010 / Belfast
PLACE's first pop-up shop demonstrated possible alternative uses for empty commercial space and showcased culture and the arts as a driver for growth alongside retail. The project was made possible thanks to Deramore Properties, Arts & Business NI, Belfast City Council, Belfast City Centre Management and the Department of Finance & Personnel.