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Introducing the House of Cooperation.

In moving on to West St over 9 years ago we quickly learnt the value and need for inclusive, creative, community spaces. 

What started out as an arts for health project soon escalated into grand plans for restoring grade 2 listed buildings, reviving empty shopping units and redeveloping derelict department stores. All massively intrinsically linked, but far exceeding the weekly drop in art workshops, and the gallery & gift shop we originally mapped out. As we made art together, developed projects, set up new enterprises, put on exhibitions, devised campaigns, made our own festivals and hatched plans for more new artworks and collaborations - all whilst making trusting, lasting friendships; together our hopes and aspirations grew too.

A space to house this creative energy, impact and potential, and a space we can call home has long been on the cards for us.  And whilst it doesn't look or come in the form we might have imagined we’re feeling a great sense of gratitude for how things have panned out. Less bureaucracy and unecessary red tape - more doing and making! 

It’s quite amazing the amount of graft, energy, effort, love and care that has already gone into getting the new venue set up and ready for opening. Plenty of ideas brewing too for even more art, projects and creative interventions as we’ve worked together to freshen up the space and make it our own. Over 45 volunteers have put in an unimaginable amount of hours, 28 tip runs and over £500 raised in our table tops sales and marketplace listings.

As we embark on this new chapter, we are grateful we’ve been fortunate enough to have a new landlord in our corner.  Looking back over the last 9 years, we realise what security, stability and autonomy actually can feel like, how important it is (maslow & all that) and also how incredibly unfamiliar it feels.  With that, thinking about all we have achieved despite the challenges, failings and stumbling blocks along the way we know comes great learning, growth and future potential.  It’s incredibly reaffirming that our instincts were on track. Community ownership does matter and as things stand, kind landlords that want to put their resources to good use are still incredibly essential to the life of a community, unfortunately, these are few and far between.  We can already feel the magic after only a couple of months of being in our new home, but we know it’s going to be an exciting chapter.

Ultimately, it was never about buildings for us, but space. Space to create, gather, build, share, make, plot, imagine... Here we are now with a full house of artists and makers each running their own initiatives and varying practices, the dream and possibilities of a community-led, self sustaining, creative ecosystem is levelling up and we hope you want to join and be part of this too. 

Over the next few days we’ll be introducing you to our residents that are embarking on the next chapter of GTC with us in establishing their studios here. This isn’t your regular studio set up but one that values a culture of collectivism and collaboration. For us this means a genuine belief that we’re better together, sharing skills and resources, mutual support and collective problem solving. Of course we love to make work, develop projects and create together but that doesn't mean we do everything together or do things the same way, in fact often it’s quite the opposite. 

We celebrate our differences, respect each other's uniqueness and aim to raise each other up wherever we can in this regard. Together we offer a wide, diverse palette of art covering many disciplines and perspectives with a shared understanding in the power of art to express the unspeakable, challenge, disrupt, heal, restore, fulfil and add meaning and enrichment to our lives. We are united in our values, ethos and a mission to secure space and access to inclusive arts and cultural activity here in Morecambe. 

The fact is we couldn't do this alone and we wouldn't want to either.

Funding for the arts is already very difficult and complex but especially in Morecambe. For too long people that live in Morecambe have faced sustained underinvestment, deprivation and inequality simply due to where we live. Deprivation of fair access to opportunity and distribution of resources is extreme here. According to Morecambe Town Council Baseline Assessment 2020, significant areas of Morecambes’ most central wards (Poulton, Central, Harbour, Heysham North) score in the top decile on the IMD  (Indices of Multiple Deprivation). Rankings for multiple deprivation are across seven indicators: Income, Employment, Education, Skills and Training, Health and Disability, Crime, Barriers to Housing and Services, Living Environment.

By co-locating we are able to build a bigger voice, evidence a greater impact and develop a model for sustainability and resilience for the arts and in turn improving prospects across many of these indicators of deprivation. #bettertogether #communitiescan #artinmorecambe 

Meet the residents of the House:

Creative Clubs and Co-working Subscriptions will launch at our House Warming Weekender on the 6th & 7th July. Stay connected and follow us online or join our mailing list for updates and more information about projects and public programmes coming soon.

Sign up to our mailing list:

You can join us at "GoodThingsCollective" on the Spaces by Wix app to easily stay updated and more on the go.



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