Since a lot of you won’t be familiar with the empty shops movement, here’s a short executive summary. There are a lot of disused commercial & retail spaces in the UK, and that’s only set to increase. There are also a great many creative people who don’t have, and can’t get, the capital & guaranteed income stream to make use of them at market rents. (Not to mention: the requirement for that sort of income stream rules out a lot of really good & innovative uses for these sites which just wouldn’t generate enough to pay a market rent, business rates, and running costs.) There are some legal & organisational tools which remove a lot of the barriers, both for landlords and for tenants.
The day opened, of course, with a bit of coffee & networking. As Eva said, artists hate that word but can’t stop doing it. When you reframe it as just chatting to each other about your practice & experiences, swapping useful contacts & tips for getting things done, artists look at you oddly and start wondering whether there are really people who don’t do that instinctively.