A guide to using empty shop units for alternative exhibition spaces

A guide to using empty shop units for alternative exhibition spaces

By Marianne Scahill


This guide walks you through utilising empty shop units in Poole as alternative exhibition spaces. It provides a complete toolkit on everything you need to know from finding a space for your project, insurance and marketing through to documentation, evaluation and monitoring.

The Process + Toolkit Contents

So you want to put on an exhibition in an empty shop in Poole?

This toolkit offers guidelines for things to consider alongside installing your artwork, especially if you want to invite audiences to see your work, and it also provides templates and forms to simplify this process.

The Borough of Poole Economic Development team have good links with the property agents in Poole, and can negotiate short-term access to unused buildings and units on your behalf. The Arts Development Team can help you develop your plans, and help promote it through arts media and networks.

To make sure we can support you properly, artists need to consider the following things:
1. Your Proposal
2. Finding a space for your project
3. Keys to the property
4. Exhibition guidelines
5. Guidelines for sale of work
6. Insurance and risk
7. Fire Safety
8. Marketing
9. Documentation, evaluation and monitoring

The Creative Cabins Team represent a partnership of different services across the Borough of Poole. Before your project starts you need to send us the following information, which we will discuss with you when we meet you:
1. Your Proposal
2. Risk Assessment form
3. Fire Safety form
4. Public Liability Insurance certificate (£5m indemnity)

At the end of your project you need to send us:
5. Your monitoring form
6. Project evaluation

See the back of this Toolkit for templates.

1. Your Proposal

Write a proposal for what you want to do in the property. This must be sent to us at least one month before you wish to use the space and must include:

  • Dates and times you wish to use the space
  • Description of the activity / installation you plan to carry out
  • Full contact details of you and your team
  • Full contact details of your studio / course leader
  • Whether the property will be open to the public and the dates and times of this
  • How you intend to promote your exhibition

2. Finding a space for your project

  • Meet Creative Cabins team – Duncan Kerr / Marianne Scahill
  • They will take you to see some properties to find one that best suits your project
  • Meet with the property agent who manages the property and agree terms
  • If the shop unit is a listed building, some of the works proposed may require listed building consent. Displays that affect the shop front, or the fabric of the unit's interior and/or exterior are likely to require such consent… Please be clear in your proposal about what you want to do, so we can support you fully with any consents or applications needed – including Building Regulations. We will deal with this on your behalf internally.

Download the guide to read more:
A guide to using empty shop units for alternative exhibition spaces (PDF)

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Artists Exhibition
Resource type: Guide/tools | Published: 2013