“Over several short weeks our empty shop filled up with an abundance of human treasures - stories, memories, opinions, ideas, hopes, dreams, fears.... in ways which were extremely powerful and moving for all."

Tracy Shaw, Project Director Loca, Kirklees Council

"Brilliant excellent. Should do this permanently and all join as one community"

"To hear everyone's memories, thoughts, hopes and fears put together in a beautiful kaleidoscope was wonderful. And to hear my memory in there amongst all the others was very special. Many thanks to all involved"

"Such a good idea to get people involved enjoyed telling my story about strangers to a stranger and hearing about others experiences"

"It is my enriching to meet up with such community as it brings out hidden treasure that lies within each and everyone"

"What a wonderful experience" Participant Comments

Explore the nine
Themes that
underpin our work...

shop_topThe Encounters shops have opened their doors to thousands of people to drop in and co-create evolving artworks about people, place and planet. In order to broaden the influence of this successful project, which has been running for ten years, we are developing a Shop-in-a-box. This tool-kit is currently at prototype phase and will shortly be launched on the crowd fundraising site Kickstarter, with the support of the RSA, as part of a wider investment and fundraising plan.


Encounters Associates with an early Shop in a Box prototype

In each Shop we set up a series of Invitations To Join in that invites participation. The shops become neutral meeting places, on the high street, for a community to come together. These Invitations to Join In will form the basis of the Shop-in-a-box toolkit. It will enable the set-up of pop-up community spaces where people of all ages and backgrounds can meet, exchange, and tackle social questions around past, present and future change.

Current social, economic and environmental challenges also create opportunities to re-look at how we bring about a more inter-connected and inclusive society. Decisions are being devolved to local levels so new tools for service providers and community ventures to engage and empower the wider community are vital if we are to bring about this change. From local authorities to NGOs, groups seek to ‘consult’ or engage communities. The process is often not given the time and consideration it really needs and can miss the people it means to reach.

shop_02Shop-in-a-box will be a tool-kit for a creative and human approach to community consultation and engagement centered on the positive impact of arts and social change. A took- kit for creating spaces and places on our high streets and in our neighbourhoods for people from all ages and backgrounds to drop in and reflect on the past, share the joys and challenges of the present and imagine the future…

To hear more information about Shop-in-a-box please contact us .

Shops Links

Image Gallery | Tooting Transition Shop 2012Dartington Shop 2011 | Dewsbury Shop 2010 | Winchester Shop 2008 | Crucible Theatre Shop, Sheffield 2007 | Club Garden Road Shop, Sheffield 2004-05 | Sharrow Lane Shop, Sheffield 2003 | Wostenholm Road Shop, Sheffield 2003