Politika Programme:


Friday 19th September - Politika Exhibition Launch.

Private viewing 6pm-8pm, Public viewing 8pm-12am.

First chance to see the newly launched Engine Room gallery in Hope Mill, featuring the work of international, national and local artists. There’ll be music, DJs, Molotov Cocktails and food and drink from North Tea Power.

DJs from OneFiveEight, Mind on Fire, Endless City, Groovement.

See our Launch page for more information.

General opening times for the exhibition will be 10am – 5pm every day from 20th September – 1st October.

All events, activities, screenings and workshops are FREE to attend. Disabled access is also provided. 

 Saturday 20th September - Celebrating Ancoats Day.

Duration: 12pm-9pm.

 Ancoats Dispensary Trust (ADT) and Ed Hall

Want to know more about the vibrant, creative community in Ancoats?

Ancoats is widely regarded as the world’s first industrial suburb, located within 5 mins walk from the northern quarter and city centre and is full of artists studios and creative start ups. Join us as we celebrate the achievements of local people who are fighting for their community against all the odds, and enjoying huge successes.

The legendary banner designer Ed Hall - a close friend of Jeremy Deller, has been working with Upper Space and local Ancoats residents – both old and new, on a huge banner to celebrate Ancoats and the vibrant community that lives here. Help us finish the banner live in the exhibition and install it in situ.

  • 12pm – 3pm Free Banner Making Workshop

The banner workshop celebrates the victory so far of the Ancoats Dispensary Trust, having saved an iconic heritage building from demolition by developers.

Get creative: Free Workshops!

As well as the banner workshop you can get involved in a wide range of creative sessions for all the family, delivered by Upper Space, Mind on Fire, and Dan Birkbeck.

  • 12pm – 3pm - Screen Printing Workshop
  • 12pm – 3pm - Graffiti & Street Art Workshop
  • 12pm – 3pm - DJing & MC Workshop

International Peripatetic Sculptors Society: Spontaneous Interventions Manchester

  • 1.00pm – 5.00pm: Meet at the Engine Room Gallery

The International Peripatetic Sculptors Society (IPSS) make instant unsanctioned public sculpture in the back alleys and forgotten spaces of cities across the world. Fusing the situationist tradition of dérive with Allan Kaprow’s invocation to reclaim the art of everyday life the IPSS encourages temporary transformation of the urban environment, creating spontaneous interventions.

In small groups (8 – 12 people) we travel a proscribed route, making work from what we find along the way, creating spontaneous interventions, either individually, in groups or altogether.

This intervention is open for public participation. If you would like to take part please email:


Guided Tour of Ancoats

  • 1.30pm: Guided tour of Ancoats with ManchesterTourGuide.com

A tour focusing on the industrial and social history of the world’s first industrial suburb and other opportunities for people to connect with a ward of Manchester that gets more bad press than it deserves. (ManchesterTourGuide.com)

An hour long tour starts at Hope Mill on Pollard Street on Saturday 20th September, meet early at 1:15pm ready to set off at 1:30pm promptly. Everyone welcomed!

Ancoats is widely regarded as the world’s first industrial suburb. Join us for a day on the streets as we discover Ancoat’s radical history and the events and moments that shaped it’s history.

The tour will be joined by a representative from Homes and Communities who have worked in collaboration with Manchester City Council on Ancoats development.

Q&A: Homes and Communities

  • 2.30pm: Q&A with Homes and Communities.

After the guided tour of Ancoats, a representative from Homes and Communities will be available to answer questions about Ancoats regeneration.

Homes and Communities have worked in partnership with Manachester City Council on development in the area.

To find out more about Homes and Communities please visit their website on www.homesandcommunities.co.uk

Ancoats Dispensary Trust Talk

  • 3.30pm: Presentation by the Ancoats Dispensary Trust

Interested in community action and having a say in how your community develops?

Are you interested in starting a campaign to save a building or green space in your area? Hear the successes and struggles of the Ancoats Dispensary Trust as they fought to save a building from demolition by developers. An intimate presentation within the gallery.

The Ancoats Dispensary Trust began as a reactionary, grassroots movement in 2011 to the proposed demolition of the Grade II Ardwick and Ancoats Dispensary. Having stood proud at the centre of Ancoats for 142 years, the Victorian Society in 2011 listed The Ardwick and Ancoats Dispensary as one of the 10 most at risk buildings in England and Wales.

A local group of concerned residents from this moment dedicated themselves to the future restoration of the Dispensary and objected to the proposed demolition tirelessly. A vigil immediately became stationed on Old Mill Street outside of the Dispensary..


Ed Hall – The Art of Protest

  • 4.30pm: Presentation by Ed Hall

Ed Hall first started making banners in the 80’s when, as an architect, he became a trade union representative. Since then he has gone on to become the UK’s foremost trade union and campaign banner artist. Alongside artist Jeremy Deller he has exhibited internationally including The Tate – in Dellers 2004 Turner Prize winning exhibition, The Peoples History museum, Manchester Art Gallery, and represented Britain in the 2013 Venice biennale, Palais de Tokyo in Paris and one of his works is currently centre stage at Disobedient Objects at the V&A London until February 2015.

Ancoats Film Screenings

  • 5.30pm: Film screenings about Ancoats

Come and see 2 films made about Ancoats for free in the newly renovated Engine Room from 5.30pm:

  •  Milling about Ancoats’ (directed by Ben Cheetham)

A frank, open and honest look into residents of Ancoats’ views on the New Islington regeneration in their area and the social impact of it on themselves and the community.

  • ‘Saving A Part of Ancoats Heritage’ (directed by Brian Stark)

About a group of residents from the Ancoats and Miles Platting areas of Manchester, who united together to save an historic building from demolition.

Robin Hood Minor Asset Management

  • 12pm – 5pmScheduled appointments throughout the day as people learn about this exciting new project.

“Robin Hood is a counter investment cooperative of the precariat. Our business is minor asset management.” 

Robin Hood Minor Asset Management Cooperative (RHMAM) is an asset management cooperative, based in Finland and owned by its members. They take pride in their Parasite Algorithm, which “identifies successful transactions by riding the coattails of successful investors.” Profits are then shared with “Robin Hood Projects,” including “grants for creative work, no interest loans, or anything else,” to be determined by the members of the cooperative.


Sign up for your chance to have a one to one chat with founder Jan Ritsema as part of an interactive installation in the gallery.

We are looking for people from arts, academic, community, finance, charity and third sector networks to join Jan for an appointment in the gallery:

book your appointment: projects@upper-space.org


Sunday 21st September – Capitalism Works For Me?

12pm – 4pmScheduled appointments with the Robin Hood Minor Asset Management (RHMAM) - an asset management cooperative, based in Finland and owned by its members.

Presentation by Jan Ritsema (RHMAM)

  • 4pm: Join us in the gallery as we learn about the RHMAM Cooperative.

“Robin Hood is potentially dangerous to our reputation” – Tuula Teeri, President of Aalto University

We are not an investment fund, let alone an hedge fund in the classical sense. We are a cooperative of investors. Each investor is a member of the cooperative and buys a one time membership fee of 30 euro. This membership represents the one vote each member has in the yearly member meeting of the cooperative, no matter how many shares are bought. One member One vote.

Robin Hood Minor Asset Management Cooperative (RHMAM) is an asset management cooperative, based in Finland and owned by its members. They take pride in their Parasite Algorithm, which “identifies successful transactions by riding the coattails of successful investors.” Profits are then shared with “Robin Hood Projects,” including “grants for creative work, no interest loans, or anything else,” to be determined by the members of the cooperative.


Steve Lambert

  • 5pm: Artist Talk via Skype, with the award-winning American Artist debating the prevalence of advertising space and right to use public space.
  • An intervention using Steve Lamberts piece ‘ Capitalism works For Me?’ to find out how many people really think capitalism works for them.

 Alternatives to Capitalism: film Screening

  • 6pm: A screening of ‘Paths Through Utopias’

Blurring the fluid boundaries between present and future, documentary and fiction, Paths Through Utopias is a feature length utopian road movie exploring a post-capitalist Europe. Shot during a 7 month journey in 2008 visiting ten utopian experiments, the film is half of the book-film project published in France by Editions Zones. From the direct action Climate Camp set up illegally besides Heathrow airport to a hamlet squatted by French art punks, occupied self-managed Serbian factories to a free love commune in an ex Stasi base, this magicorealist travelogue transports us to a parallel universe where money is worthless and private property has been abolished.


Monday 22nd September

Talk – Anna Minton

  • 6pm: Special talk from the internationally recognised author of Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the 21st Century City. Exploring the privatisation of public space and the ideologies and effects of urban regeneration on local communities.

Anna Minton will be talking about her book Ground Control. She will discuss the privatisation and control of cities and the resulting fear, distrust and threat to democracy. She will also look at alternative models which create genuinely public, democratic and inclusive spaces.

With a £1 billion urban development scheme about to be rolled out over Ancoats, this talk is a timely must see for all Ancoats residents. 

Film Screening

  • 8pm: ‘To Hell With Culture’ screening follwed by a Q&A with Director/Producer Huw Wahl.

Co-founder of the ICA, Herbert Read (1893-1968) was an influential art critic, poet and self-confessed anarchist. In his 1943 essay, To Hell with Culture, Read laid out his ideas for a civilisation based on cooperation in which culture would no longer be a commodity, separated from society, but an integral part of everyday life. In this film, director Huw Wahl engages in conversations with artists, poets, curators, historians and Herbert Read’s own children, to ask how we can apply Read’s ideas and approaches to the commodification of culture in our contemporary society. Including unseen archival material of Herbert Read, his poetry and the North Yorkshire landscape where he was born, this is an immersive portrayal of Read’s life and work.

Tuesday 23rd September

Hackathon (closed group).We’ve invited various artists, academics, think tank members and activists working with technology and the internet to help solve a few problems that activists come up against online.


Wednesday 24th September – Activism in The Digital Age Day.

Susan O’shea

  • 6pm: Presentation about covert networks, from organised crime to the state and everything in between.

What do Somali pirates, dissident republicans, swingers, the Suffragettes and Walter White all have in common?

They keep their friends close and enemies even closer. Are there differences between overt and covert networks? What role does trust and secrecy play? Just how did Walt keep his meth lab secret in Breaking Bad and who was he really connected to? Find out about how social network structures matter. Not all covert networks are illegal but understanding them may make us better able to organise and mobilise our own activist networks.


  • 7pm: Presentation of their ‘Moral Reform’ project followed by a Q&A from several members of the collective.

‘Moral Reform:

“A parliamentary drama of 223 persons and 585 lines”

40th Meeting of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of Czech Republic. June 5th, 2012, 2:00 – 6:32 PM

Performed by: Czech MPs, members of Czech Government, members of The Office of The President of Czech Republic, the President, journalists

585 SMS sent, 561 SMS received, 24 SMS undelivered

Dear fellow citizens!

We, legally elected representatives of the people and members of the Parliament of Czech Republic, collectively admit, that our past attitude and approach has brought our society to the edge of an abyss. We have caused a loss of common confidence in fundamental pillars of the democratic system. Our crippling the truth in pursuit of our own interests has displaced moral values from our decision-making. There is no longer place for our unwillingness to set up limits to our pelf, for our reluctance to make the political management transparent and to accept our political and human responsibility for our own mistakes. Therefore we have decided to initiate the Moral reform across the political spectrum. Here we are. Kneeling in front of You, our people who elected us, asking You for forgiveness. Asking for one more chance to gain your trust back.


  • 8pm: Workshop offering various hints, tips and tricks to help stay secure online and on your mobile.  Bring a laptop to participate.

Bitcoin Manchester

  • 9pm: Introductory workshop into BitCoin and CryptoCurrencies. Bring a laptop to participate.


Thursday 25th September

Daylight Shrubbery

  • 3pm – 5pm: A precursor to the sustainability theme of Politika, with a workshop on urban foraging. Join us for a foraging workshop as we explore Ancoat’s wild side.

Friday 26th September

  • General opening times - 10am – 5pm


Saturday 27th September – Sustainability in The City Day.

Community Food Growing Workshop & Guerilla Gardening

  • 11am – 2pm: Join us around Ancoats as we get digging!

Come and learn about food growing, make your own seed bombs and collect plants, flowers and tools to go out and plant wherever you want in your city.

Biospheric Foundation Presentation

  • 2pm: Innovative urban farming initiative in the heart of Salford share their ideas and experiences.

Founder Vincent Walsh will be introducing the The Biospheric Foundation. A Socio-Ecological Urban Research Practice. The Foundation provides a platform to develop research, design and enterprise through a prism of new ecological & technological urban culture.

Make Do and Mend Workshop

  • 3pm: A workshop about the benefits of taking a few minutes to learn how our electronic devices work, so we have a better understanding of how to fix them when they go wrong – saving money and avoiding filling up landfill sites unnecessarily. Feel free to bring a faulty device along to the session. Unfortunately this session is only available to adults (18+).

Tracey Moberly – The Art Of Activism

  • 4pm: Presentation and Workshop with Tracey Moberly, the artist, author and activist and former co-owner of the Foundry based in Shoreditch, East London. Tracey will talk about a variety of activist art campaigns and projects she has instigated, as well as leading a workshop around freedom of expression so bring along a word or sentence that personally highlights this for you.

Sustainability Film Screening

  • 5pm: ’A River Changes Course’ (directed by Kalyanee Mam)

A River Changes Course is an intimate look at the rapid changes & hard choices forced by globalization in Cambodia.

The film explores the damage rapid development has wrought in her native Cambodia on both a human and environmental level. The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2013 and won the Grand Jury Prize for World Documentary. The film also received the Golden Gate Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2013 San Francisco International Film Festival.

Sunday 28th September – Emergencia Presents…

Workshop – Dan Glass

  • 12pm: Dan Glass – ‘Read Our Own Reality’

Come to share some of the popular education methods to help ‘read our own reality’ and campaign effectively for social change. This workshop will help people plan the target, form, audience and media strategy to build successful campaigns, alliances and actions which empower people and capture the imagination.

From the activist who super glued his hand to Prime Minister Gordon Brown please welcome activist, performer and writer – dan glass – here to raise the rooftops with ideas about building people power from London to Harare.

Talk – Bez (Happy Mondays) 

  • 1pm: Bez – On anti-fracking

Manchester’s most infamous dancer talks politics, fracking and protest.

Presentation – The Future Is Rising

  • 2pm: Nicole Cataldo-Davies – The Future Is Rising

The Future is a global network of people who are fighting to save the future from climate change.  It is an uprising – a way to fight, to creatively disrupt, to make shit happen, to make cities stop - to warn people that their future is at risk and to give them tools to fight back.

Performance – In Place Of War

  • 3pm: Inés Soria-Donlan – Performance: In Place Of War

In Place of War and have researched and developed arts projects in conflict and disaster zones internationally.  Inés will speak about how IPOW has has sought to document and support theatre and performance projects in sites of contemporary armed conflict. She will outline the genesis of the project in Sri Lanka in 2000 and the questions that the project has sought to answer. Her talk will include descriptions of arts programmes that IPOW has engaged with – from DR Congo, Kosovo, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

Talk – Artists’ Assembly

  • 4pm: Season Butler – The Artists’ Assembly

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity was formed in 2013 to ensure that the ConDem government faces a movement of opposition broad enough and powerful enough to generate successful co-ordinated action against its violent programme of cuts.

We now recognise a need to initiate an Artists’ Assembly Against Austerity to organise artists across all media, writers, musicians, performers, broadcasters, technicians, administrators, audiences and allies under our shared aim to end the cuts and protect public services. As we see it, artists have as much to lose as many other groups as a result of a dwindling public sector; the Artists’ Assembly will provide a space in which we can mobilise to affect real change. In this talk Season Butler will discuss the origins of the group and how they’re working to build a movement.


Monday 29th September

Grow Heathrow

  • 7pm: Presentation from activists who are using perma-culture and community gardening to organise a resistance campaign against a new Heathrow runway in London.

Tuesday 30th September

Bitcoin Manchester

  • 6pm: Bitcoin Manchester are back by popular demand to deliver a follow-up workshop on the crypto currency.  If you couldn’t join them on Wednesday or just can’t wait for more, come along to The Engine Room and get stuck in.


Like what you see? See our facebook for our launch event and more.