Culture Shop


Culture Shop, located in an empty shopping unit at the Ashton Centre, is reclaimed as a workplace and studio for artists and cultural workers. After an open call and selection process, four artists were chosen to use the space for one month each.

The culture shop is seen as an open and publicly exposed place of creative production, be it installation, film, happening, social actions, short initiatives and more. The work should allow and encourage participation of the neighbourhood and radiate to its surroundings. This could be through workshops, opening hours, active collaborations with individuals or community groups, mini- projects…

Culture shop is a test for artists and the surrounding community alike and an experiment in new forms of participation, local creative skills, empowerment, the relevance of art and its social responsibilities.

Project artists: Joanna Hopkins, Laura O’Connor, Mairead Dunne, Duncan Ross-  curated by Yvonne Kennan.


Mairead Dunne 08 April – 05 May 2013

Joanna Hopkins 06 May – 02 June 2013

Duncan Ross 03 June – 07 July 2013

Laura O’Connor 08 July – 11 August 2013

Mairead Dunne, 08 April – 05 May 201


During the residency I held a series of model making workshops with the children of New Lodge. I developed a project that explored model making and painting as part of a collaborative piece. I used the space as a working studio for the month where I produced model figures creating a landscape of figures in the street window of the Culture Shop. The children contributed to the project creating many colourful model figures, birds and props each full of individual character and expression.  I held several open studio sessions where people from the community came in to chat about the project and contribute to the piece. As a finale to the project the children participated in a bird balloon launch taking place outside of the New Lodge Youth Centre. A large group of children were involved in the project and helped release the balloons. The birds drifted up and around New Lodge eventually landing, leaving a little trail of the project all around Belfast.

Joanna Hopkins, 06 May – 02 June 2013


Working in the Culture Shop for the month of May 2013, Visual Artist Joanna Hopkins devised The Digital Culture workshops to explore the notions of Digital Foreigners and Digital natives with the local community of New Lodge. A group of Digital ‘Natives’ attended the weekly workshops and learned camera and video skills, and discussed how they use and utilise the internet and computers. The participants also designed and wore their own mock up of Google Glasses, hand made glasses with miniature digital video camera attached. The particiapnts then co-wrote, directed, filmed and acted in thier own short video in the street around the Culture Shop using both the Video Recording Glasses and normal videoing equipment.

Duncan Ross, 06 June – 02 July 2013


‘During my residency I arranged two sets of weekly workshops, one for adults and one for 9 – 12 year olds. Both focused on drawing. The adults learned objective figurative techniques over four sessions, drawing from still life, a live model and in the landscape on a trip to the Waterworks. For the younger class drawing was expanded to cover the window of the shop, onto model-making and in a special ‘drawdio’ electronics workshop with Phil Hession. Within my freelance practice I used the time to complete an illustration commission for the Good Life Festival, worked on a diagram of a set of medieval bagpipes for Edinburgh University, supported Headliners in delivering media workshops and painted a container for ‘Temporary Places’.  I also visited the FabLab to discuss the construction of a bespoke frame and visited two local schools to promote the drawing workshops.’

Laura O’Connor, 08 July – 11 August 2013


Other Perspectives Project @ Culture Shop

The project Other Perspectives grew from my want to create a large camera obscura and to share the magic of this and pinhole photography with others. The Camera Obscura is a very simple thing to create but it’s results are magic. By simply blocking all light out from a room and putting a small hole in the window/light source you can create a camera out of a whole room!! And that’s what I did!! I blacked out the windows of the Culture Shop and hung some boards in the middle of the room and Hey Presto! We have everything you can see outside, shining on the walls inside…. Upside down and the wrong way round. You see, that’s how the camera obscura works, and that’s what greats like Da Vinci and Vermeer used to create perfect perspective in their paintings. It is also how the camera came to be, as inventors created ways of capturing the image reflected on to a surface, coated with light sensitive chemicals.

With the Other Perspectives project I set up a darkroom in the space and held workshops with members of the community where we used everyday objects (gravy tins seemed to work best for some reason) to create pinhole cameras and take pictures, which we developed ourselves. This turned out to be a really successful exercise where people got instant results and realized the magic of pinhole photography. For the little ones we used sunprint paper, which is technically the cyanotype process. We placed objects and transparent drawings onto the paper and exposed them to the sun for 5 minutes, then we ran the paper under a tap and our picture is exposed… think x-ray meets drawing.

During my time there myself and Jonathan Beer created a 36 piece image from the camera obscura. For this we placed 36 pieces of 5×7” photo paper in a 6 x 6 grid which we exposed to the camera obscura for 1 minute 30 seconds. The image revealed is a negative of the flats in New Lodge, which we have scanned and created a positive of. Side by side the grids of paper images is an impressive feat of time, work and a little bit of magic!!

All in all Other Perspectives has been a great success and a great way to share my knowledge of pinhole photography with others.