“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...

Since 2003 Encounters have been taking up residence in disused Shops across the UK, working with thousands of people to create evolving, co-authored artworks about the joys and challenges of everyday life.

Shops have taken place in Sheffield, Winchester, Liverpool, Dewsbury, Totnes and London. We also deliver Mobile Shop projects that tour and connect different locations within a neighbourhood. 

Encounters Shops become meeting places in which local communities can collect and exchange experiences, memories, objects, journeys and thoughts about their lives, where they live and the wider world.

We use photography, visual art and text to collect personal material from visitors reflecting this back through the creation of interactive, evolving displays and verbatim performance events and publications. Talks, workshops, community visioning, feasts, inter-generational exchanges and cross-cultural dialogue processes can also take place in the Shops.

As well as using a selection of these favourites in each new Shop we set up, we tailor-make Invitations to Join In that respond to the place, context or commissioners focus.

Over the years, Encounters have developed a tried and tested series of participatory Invitations to Join In that you are likely to find in any of our shops including; Blackboard Questions, Memory and Story Maps, Recipe Cards, Stepping Stones, Lake of Tears, Tell Me a Story About, Seeds of Change, Family Portraits, Journeys, Collage Blocks, Anyone Who’s, and Lost and Found.

Encounters Transition Tooting Shop from Encounters-Arts on Vimeo.

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

A Shop of your own ?

We design and deliver creative participatory shop projects for a wide range of contexts. We are happy to explore how we could work together. Please get in touch.