Mash up

Key to this is the way that Empty Shops 2.0 creates a mash-up of existing things to make something new.

Empty Shops 2.0 projects are typically built by small, agile partnerships and creating a mash-up is a logical outcome of partnership working.

The Our Place, Your Place project in Taunton brought together partners working in regeneration, the arts and heritage.

The partners created a temporary museum, with professional displays created by the local museum's curators and design staff. This venue hosted a range of events, initially exploring archives and heritage before moving to present-day life in the town and finishing with an exploration of the area's future regeneration.

Events included talks, presentations and drop in sessions with museum experts. The whole project also tied in with the BBC's 'History of the World' campaign, which saw a visit from Time Team presenter Mick Aston.

A particularly successful project was one to capture local memory, with people's personal photos scanned and copied on site and 'I remember...' slips completed by visitors.

Pioneered in temporary projects, this mash-up approach is becoming mainstream. Crafty in Belfast is a tea room, antique shop and art gallery combined and occupies an empty department store; London's Rough Trade is a record shop, book store and cafe which hosts live music; the SoCo Music Hub in Southampton is a recording studio, rehearsal room and education space in a near-derelict shopping centre. Curatorial team Collate Presents have described this as "hybrid architecture".

Whatever the term, it is an excellent tool for community engagement that has long been the mantra of the arts in the UK.

As many projects happen in secondary retail areas and therefore have low footfall, this engagement is even more vital. Empty Shops 2.0 projects have to bring visitors to an area as well as engage with any passing footfall.