Saturday 20th // Celebrating Ancoats Day

Politika – Art & the Affairs of the City // Day 2

For all events please meet at the Engine Room, Hope Mill, Ancoats.


Ancoats is the world’s first industrial suburb and a place in which Upper Space has found its home and launched its new exhibition space, The Engine Room.  We want to celebrate the diverse community and creative cultural identity of the area by inviting you to participate in the following programme.


all 12pm – 3pm

Final Ancoats Banner Making Workshop with Ed Hall

Leading up to Politika, Upper Space wanted to celebrate the Ancoats Dispensary trusts recent grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to save the dispensary building, as well as celebrating the community of Ancoats.

The Ancoats Dispensary Trust was formed by members of the Ancoats community to help save the grade 2 listed dispensary building from demolition. After a three year vigil and great community support, they managed to secure a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to start the process of turning the roofless building into a multi-purpose community centre. However, a further £1m still needs to be raised.

We met up with the trust to propose making a patchwork banner with each patch designed and made by a member of the Ancoats community. The trust loved the idea of a huge banner to celebrate Ancoats’ past, present and future.

We invited architect turned internationally exhibiting artist and banner maker, Ed Hall to see the dispensary building and to share his ideas on the banner in an open meeting.  With the help of the community, the composition of the banner was decided.

Upper Space have been running a series of patch-making workshops around Ancoats – inviting the community to share their memories, thoughts and opinions on Ancoats and helping to turn them into a patch by sewing, appliqué, screen printing, knitting or drawing. These patches will then be made into the final banner.

The final workshop in the series takes place in The Engine Room, Hope Mill. Come learn some new skills and have your say as we make the final patches to be added to the banner before it’s hung.

For more information:


DJ Workshop 

Join us at Hope Mill to learn how to DJ like a pro.  This exciting workshop will be run by Mind on Fire.

Graffiti Workshop with Dan Birkbeck

Professional graffiti artist and Upper Space member, Dan Birkbeck will be leading a workshop in the the skills required to create powerful and interesting graffiti art.

Screen Printing Workshop

Join Upper Space artists to screen print your own tote bag.

Robin Hood Minor Asset Management

12pm – 5pm

Don’t miss your chance to meet Robin Hood Minor Asset Management in the Engine Room.

Find out more about who they are and how you can engage with them on our dedicated blog.

International Peripatetic Sculptors Society // Spontaneous Interventions

1pm – 5pm

Sign up now to be part of an exciting intervention experience in Manchester. The International Peripatetic Sculptors Society (IPSS) will lead a small group of lucky individuals on a prescribed route around the city. Along the way participants will gather items with which to create their own interventions: as individuals, small groups or a collective whole.

The International Peripatetic Sculptors Society make instant, unsanctioned, public sculptures in back alleys and forgotten spaces of the city. Their spontaneous interventions arise from the fusion of Allan Kaprow’s invocation to reclaim public spaces and the situationist tradition of ‘dérive’.

Don’t miss your chance to join the IPPS in temporarily transforming the urban environment.

Just 12 people will be able to meet us at the Engine Room and embark on this creative journey.

Email now to reserve your place and change the way you look at Manchester forever.

Guided Tour of Ancoats

1.30 – 2.30pm

We’ve invited Manchester Tour Guides to give a free guided tour of Ancoats.

In the 18th Century, Ancoats was the ideal area to cradle Britain’s Industrial Revolution due to its location in relationship to the Ashton and Rochdale canal, close links to main roads and Piccadilly station, and technological advances.  Ancoats had water, road and rail connections to the rest of the country and the world.  Between the thriving industries of the satanic mill lined canals, the industrial working class population lived in the worst slums of the industrial revolution. Cramped and dirty at home, placed in danger and exploited at work, the people of Ancoats suffered the worst of the industrial boom. It is an area that has inspired many artists, writers and thinkers for over 200 years.

Come for a guided walk through Ancoats, see some of its unique heritage and clues as to what life was like in the worst of Manchester’s industrial slums. Hear the story of Ancoats: from a few lonely cottages in the 13th Century, through its cradling of the industrial revolution in the 19th Century, to present day.

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

The hour long tour starts at Hope Mill on Pollard Street, meet at 1:15pm ready to set off at 1:30pm promptly. Everyone welcome!

Q&A // 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

Raising the Ancoats Banner

3pm – 3.30pm

After the final workshop in the series takes place in The Engine Room, we are raising the freshly finished banner for the very first time. Come see the premiere of a monumental document of the current community as we celebrate Ancoats.

Better yet, get there early and make a patch yourself!

Ancoats Dispensary Trust Presentation


3.30 – 4.30pm

The Ancoats Dispensary Trust began in 2011 as a reactionary, grass-roots movement 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 listed The Ardwick and Ancoats Dispensary as one of the 10 most at risk buildings in England and Wales in 2011.  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.

In July 2014, after 3 years of campaigning and a 3 year daily vigil, the Trust managed to secure a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund of £770,000. The grant was awarded to secure the building and help raise a further £1 million to turn it into a civic and social centre for community use, and the beating heart of Ancoats once again.

As part of Politika, Upper Space has invited Co-ordinator of the Trust, Linda Carver to give a presentation about their story: the failures and successes they have had and continue to face as a community unite over their shared heritage and their right to the area they live in.

Join us at Hope Mill to be inspired by a local grass-roots movement fighting to save their heritage while providing for the future community.

Find out more about the Ancoats Dispensary Trust at

“The Art of Protest” 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 at The Tate in Dellers 2004 Turner Prize winning exhibition, The Peoples History museum, ManchesterArtGallery, representing Britain in the 2013 Venice biennial, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and currently centre stage at Disobedient Objects at the V&A London until February 2015.

Talking about his collaboration with Jeremy Deller, Ed has said, “The designs for the banners are agreed after consultation. The banners are handmade, stitched and painted, and aim to reflect the proud history and independence of trade unions. They are for the street and must catch the eye. They try and reflect history and the struggles which have made our contemporary world.”

Ed’s background as an architect and his involvement with campaign groups meant he was perfect to help out with the Ancoats banner project.

After the banner is raised and a presentation from the Ancoats Dispensary Trust, Ed Hall will give a presentation on his journey from architect and trade union representative to banner maker, exhibiting in galleries across the world.

Screening // ‘Milling About Ancoats’ & ‘Saving a Part of Ancoats Heritage’

5.30pm – 6pm

A screening of two short films made about Ancoats.

The 2012 short film ‘Milling About Ancoats’ made by Ben Cheetham is a frank, open and honest look into the residents of Ancoats’ views on the New Islington regeneration in their area and the social impact of it on themselves and the community.

Followed by the 2014 short film ‘Saving a Part of Ancoats Heritage’ made by Brian Stark about a group of residents from the Ancoats and Miles Platting areas of Manchester, who united together to save a historic building from demolition.