Monday, 7 October 2013

Guest Blog by Alice de Ville: Chorlton Precinct Art and Design Market

When I moved to Chorlton in 2006, I immediately knew I had made the right decision.  I came here on the last day of June, the day before Beech Road Festival, and Chorlton looked beautiful in the sunshine of that incredible summer.

But then I saw the precinct and I can remember thinking how stange it was that a suburb with a reputation like Chorlton had such a run down shopping centre.  It didn't make any sense to me.  I couldn't understand how it had been left in an almost half finished state, complete with peeling paintwork and empty units.  I feel very passionate about trying to maintain Britain's highstreets and, in particular, independent businesses.  I genuinely fear that there will be no independent shops by the time my 2 year old is a teenager.  My biggest fear is Chorlton turing into 'Everywhereville' and losing the wonderful vibe it currently has.

Since having my daughter and leaving full time employment, I have found myself spending more time in the precinct and thinking about how easily it could be improved with just a little imagination and effort.  I believe that there are a lot of people who think this, but beause of the ongoing plans for redevelopment, people have thought that there is no point in doing anything with what we currently I have.

For me, I just become tired of waiting for something to happen.  At the beginning of this year I began emailing the estate managers of the precinct to find out what was actually happening with it and to see if there was anything that the community could do in the mean time. 

Following on from a 3 week pop up shop in one of the empty units, I have been given permission to organise a monthly Art and Design Market and to raise funds to improve the aesthetic look of the precinct.  I have spent the last few months seeking out fantastic local artists and designers to both sell at the market and to get involved with the beautification plans.

I have set up a campaign on Kickstarter with the aim to raise £2,500 which will be used to fund murals and new wooden benches.  The aim for the first bench will be in honour of local photographer, Harry Goodwin, who passed away in September. The campaign can be viewed at
Although this money will not cover everything that we hope to achieve, it will get the ball rolling and will hopefully enable us to obtain further funding.

If anyone would like further information, or would like to get involved in the project, please email Alice at

Alice set up the Chorlton Design Collective with the aim to run pop up shops to promote local artists and designers and to use unused community spaces for artistic projects.

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