Ongoing Project

Encounters Shops

Since 2003 Encounters have taken over disused shops across the UK, working with thousands of people to create evolving, co-authored artworks.

“Thank you for providing this wonderful space for our community. It is fabulous! More please.”

Sadiq Khan MP

Encounters 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, intergenerational 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.

“The Encounters shops contributed to the sense of a community place, a coming together of people that might not have otherwise talked to each other in an area that lacked a focal point and a meeting place.”

Cath Baker, Parent Involvement Worker

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.

“I think this is an excellent initiative in order to engage the local community and to build community cohesion – just what we need. Fantastic effort!”

Dewsbury Shop Visitor