Politika // Ancoats


During ‘Politika – Art & the Affairs of the City’ we’ve been fortunate enough to work very closely with many residents of Ancoats and the Ancoats Dispensary Trust.  It was important to us that the exhibition and programme were held in the area because of its history as the world’s first industrial suburb. Politika looks closely at capitalism and aims to create debate around whether or not it is an effective system for society. As an area that was born from capitalism and more recently damaged by it in failed regeneration, we felt it was important to contextualise the exhibition by its location and hopefully draw attention and support to the area.

Ancoats Banner Project with Ed Hall

As part of Politika, we invited Ed Hall to join us in creating a community asset with the Ancoats Dispensary Trust.  The Trust have worked tirelessly for more than two years to save the old Ancoats Dispensary, the only surviving Victorian hospital in the country and the beating heart of Ancoats. Recently the Trust secured £770 thousand to start regeneration on the building and turn it into a community centre.  To celebrate their victory, we invited Ed Hall to design a banner and through a series of community workshops with The Ancoats Dispensary Trust and Upper Space facilitators, residents of the area designed and made patches that complete the fabric of the banner and represent the strength and pride of the local community.

Workshops ran for four weeks leading up to the launch of Politika and on 20th September as part of ‘Celebrating Ancoats Day’ we hosted a final workshop in the space and hung the banner.  Linda Carver was on hand to speak about the Ancoats Dispensary Trust and what the project has meant to them.

I know that for many of us here at Upper Space this project was the most significant and we were overwhelmed by the depth of emotion that went into constructing the banner.  We’d like to thank everyone who supported this project and the community of Ancoats at large for their continuous support of Upper Space.

We’d also like to thank legendary banner maker, Ed Hall for his co-operation on the project and were really glad he was able to be part of the programme and speak about his own work.

Community Workshops – 20/09/14

On ‘Celebrating Ancoats Day’ we hosted a number of other community workshops and were ecstatic with the turnout.  People of all ages from the surrounding area came to get involved in banner making, screen printing, graffiti and DJ workshops. We had a lot of fun and think we can safely say that kids from the area did too.

Thanks for everyone who joined in and to all the workshop facilitators.

Tour Of Ancoats – 20/09/14

While some visitors were busy in the workshops, a group set-off to explore the local area and learn about its history from Manchester Tour Guides. One hugely important stop was the Ancoats Dispensary.  It was great to see people from the area exploring their heritage but we were also really proud of the number of people from other areas who were compelled to learn more about the world’s first industrial suburb.

International Peripatetic Sculptors Society // Spontaneous Interventions – 20/09/14

Later in the afternoon a group headed out with the IPSS to create spontaneous interventions in forgotten spaces of the city.  We’ve had nothing but positive comments from participants whose view of the city will be changed forever.  We were glad we were able to bring the IPSS to Ancoats to look at the creative potential and beauty of an area that often receives bad press.

 Ancoats Films // Screening – 20/09/14

We finished the day by watching a couple of short films about the Ancoats area.

Local man and Ancoats Dispensary Trust Member Brian Stark made Saving a Part of Ancoats Heritage about the struggles of the trust.

Milling About Ancoats looks at the lives of local people and was made by Ben Cheetham