INHABIT: Vacant Spaces to Vibrant Places

Empty shops are appearing across every town and city nationwide so it’s always great to see someone doing something with the vacant spaces.  Community arts enterprise, Hybrid, is using them as pop-up tearooms offering Brummies tea and cake alongside creative workshops.

Focusing on topics such as interior design, crafts and photography the projects highlights the possibilities within such spaces and encourages Birmingham residents to get involved, reminiscing about the good old days when high street shops used to bustling and contemplating how they could develop into in the future.

At various locations across Birmingham, the Pavilions Shopping Centre will be first to get the treatment after donating one of their shop spaces for free.  Work created at all the different locations will be on view at the Pavilions bringing the creativity of Birmingham to a wider audience.

Currently 13% of shops are empty and one in five may never be used again.  Supported by Birmingham City Council, with funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government, Hybrid aim to bring the community back into our local stores.

Samina Zahir, Director of Hybrid says “Through this project we would like to provide a pleasant place for people to meet, have a cup of tea, enjoy taking part in creative workshops or simply talk and share stories about what the local high street used to be like and how they would like it to be in the future.”

All work shops are free, with the first tearoom opening a few weeks ago at 173 Hagley Road, which will be open until Friday 8th October.  Opening hours will vary according to need, with a programme available in the shop windows, but locals are encouraged to simply drop in.

Laura Booth

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