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Exploring non-traditional exhibition spaces with students from Manchester School of Architecture

Supported by FutureEverything, MSA students create a proposal for an inspiring pop-up digital arts space for Stockport town centre

Earlier this year, FutureEverything was invited to take part in MSA Live 24, hosted by the brilliant Manchester School of Architecture, a collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University and The University of Manchester currently placed 5th in the world in the QS 2023 Architecture rankings.

MSA Live 24 is an initiative that integrates education with real-world impact through student-led projects. The programme brings community groups, organisations, and Master of Architecture students together to collaborate on active projects in Greater Manchester and the North West. With a strong focus on social impact, MSA Live calls for students to apply their skills in innovative ways and address the needs of local communities directly.

This year, MSA Live draws attention to the industrial town of Stockport. A heritage-rich town once at the centre for the hatting and silk industry, Stockport is currently undergoing a three-year reinvigoration initiative to transform its historic town centre into a sustainable, world-leading digital arts neighbourhood.

As part of the MSA Live programme, FutureEverything have supported Group 34 MSA students who have developed a project that will engage and inspire Stockport communities and challenge perceptions about art, architecture and public space. Through site visit tours and guided mentoring sessions, led by our producer Jonathan McGrath, Group 34 analysed the different town centre environments; developed an understanding of the local audiences and their needs; and created the blueprints for an inspiring pop-up creative hub for the people of Stockport.

Stockport Pop-up

The Stockport Pop-up is a transportable creative hub and outdoor gallery space. Designed to bring culture and art to a range of audiences in the town centre, the space is suitable for hosting creative workshops, interactive activities and digital arts exhibitions within a flexible design, customisable to the requirements of varying locations.

It has four modules which can be arranged in different positions with connecting expandable sections which can be used to elongate the design if necessary. Each module has flexible, moving elements permitting either a more enclosed or open feel in the space, and pops of colour throughout the design allow it to stand out within the town centre. The modules can be stacked into the largest section and the exterior space folded to create a compact, easily storable, lockable, and transportable design solution, despite its diverse functionality.

Group 34’s pop-up proposal intends to support Stockport Council’s Creative Campus regeneration initiative, to not only improve the lives of existing residents but to encourage new audiences to the area.

Jonathan McGrath, FutureEverything Producer

“Working with the students at Manchester School of Architecture on the MSA live project has been a privilege. They took tours of Stockport, explored communities, borrowed from other sectors and pulled all of their learnings together into an inspiring design. I believe that the project they created has the potential to be hugely beneficial to the creative sector in Stockport and become an asset to the community as a site for learning and community cohesion.

MSA live is a valuable opportunity to build bridges between academic study, design and the world outside of university and FutureEverything is proud to have been part of that process.”

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