55,000 Visitors,

2000 Artists, 300 Events,



What’s on at HQ

Exhibit C @ Empty Shop HQ
March 7, 2015 @ 8:30 pm
Exhibit C @ Empty Shop HQ
Cooper Studios is a not for profit studio project founded by Christian Cooper Ellinas and Sofia Alzetta Greaves. This independent initiative has found a home on the top floor of Empty Shop HQ for its[...]
March 8, 2015 @ 8:00 pm
TheBubbleBurning @ Empty Shop HQ @ Empty Shop HQ
Summative season getting you down? Take next Sunday evening off and come enjoy a selection of Durham’s finest student band hosted by TheBubbleBurning at the wonderful Empty Shop! Music from: Louellice // The Follies //[...]
PoSoc Open Mic Night @ Empty Shop HQ
March 11, 2015 @ 8:00 pm
PoSoc Open Mic Night @ Empty Shop HQ
Poetry Society are hosting their next OPEN MIC NIGHT at Empty Shop on Wednesday 11th March at 8pm. Anyone is welcome to perform (you don’t need to sign up), just bring along yourself, your instrument/reading of choice, your friends, and an open[...]
March 12, 2015 @ 8:00 pm
Durham Open Mic: "Climate Threat" local and global @ Empty Shop HQ
As a follow-up to the Global Divestment Day solidarity campaign (see: 350.org) held last month, Transition Durham is hosting an evening to create further local awareness about issues surrounding Climate Change as a threat to[...]
March 17, 2015 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
RIOT NRRRD TOUR: Workshop: Performance Poetry @ Empty Shop HQ
Led by Henry Raby as part of the Riot Nrrrd tour, this is a workshop for anyone looking to improve or brush up their skills! Pay-What You-Decide performance poetry workshop 6-7pm led by Henry for[...]
RIOT NRRRD TOUR: DURHAM poetry & spoken word open mic feat. JENN HART & HENRY RABY @ Empty Shop HQ
Jenn Hart and Henry Raby are combining their anarchic nerd punk wordpool to create something even better than Sauron riding Megazord into battle against Voldemort brandishing the Subtle Knife. And then they’re taking on The[...]
March 23, 2015 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Equestrian Collective: Durham City DIY Presents:   WOAHNOWS http://woahnows.bandcamp.com/ Incredible indie-punkers from Plymouth on Big Scary Monsters! NO DITCHING http://noditchingdiy.bandcamp.com/ Local radge-punk. New 7″ coming out on Art For Blind soon! First Duzza show in[...]
April 19, 2015 @ 7:30 pm
The Equestrian Collective present MILKY WIMPSHAKE http://www.microsofa.net/mw/ Punk pop heroes Milky Wimpshake are coming to Durham. Joined by Life Model’s Sophie Evans, the Wimpshakes will be performing songs from their upcoming duets album on Fortuna[...]

Art. Regeneration. Collaboration


Empty Shop CIC is a non profit arts organisation in the North East of England and based in Durham City. We formed in 2008 with the idea to provide a much needed and accessible platform for artists of all levels and backgrounds to produce exhibit and engage with art. As the organisation has grown we have developed into well rounded permanent fixture in the North East art scene.

Today Empty Shop still provides those opportunities and resources that were so few and important back then but our reach now also expands into a whole cross section of areas and expertise.

Empty Shop started in 2008 and chooses to be completely unfunded and fully independent.

Where is Empty Shop?
Our Head Quarters, Empty Shop HQ, is in Durham city centre, however we also utilise other venues and public spaces temporarily to provide accessible, temporary galleries and site specific events.

  • - If you would like to find out about using an Empty Shop email us on thefolks@emptyshop.org
  • - If you would like to collaborate with us get in touch – click here
  • - If you are the owner of an unused building and would like to hear about the benefits of the Empty Shop Model contact thefolks@emptyshop.org

Empty Shop HQ

Situated in the heart of Durham City, Empty Shop HQ is the home of our organisation and a hub for independent arts in Durham.

HQ sketch

Unused for around a decade, this beautiful old building forms the centrepiece of our regeneration agenda. Set over two floors it is a multi use building with studio space, exhibition space, a usable workspace and a fully licensed bar & venue.

As a hub for the City it truly reflects the ethos of Empty Shop; Inclusive and friendly, it’s the kind of place where we would want to hang out ourselves…
You’ll find no judgement, agendas or hierarchies here.

As ever there is plenty of opportunity with this space and it is available to hire for a range of cultural uses such as gigs, exhibitions, creative projects, talks and workshops.

Use the Venue





Get Involved

We think of ourselves as an inclusive organisation, we love to work with people and provide opportunities. There are loads of ways you can get involved, from invigilating right through to realising project ideas. Some examples of the sort of opportunities we offer are detailed below but if you don’t see what you’re thinking of there, drop us an email at thefolks@emptyshop.org




What is Empty Shop?
Empty Shop is a progressive, grass roots, independent arts organisation based in Durham. Our main objectives are art, regeneration and collaboration. Founded in 2008, we are a registered Community Interest Company and officially a non profit organisation.

Why are you called ‘Empty Shop’?
Initially the main focus of the organisation was using empty shops, buildings and unused spaces as art space. What started out as a “does what it says on the tin” name has now become a brand rather than the purely descriptive term of it’s origins.

Are you part of the ‘art in empty shops schemes’ that are popping up all over the country?
No, we actually predate that Government Initiative and have always operated completely independently.

Are you part of a ‘pop up shop scheme’?
No. Although part of what we do is temporary in nature, we are completely independent from any pop up shop schemes – this is all us.

Are you funded?
No, and this is intentional – we have not applied for any funding and don’t plan to. We are completely self sufficient and sustainable at every level, Empty Shop exists in it’s own right. We value this above all else.

So, what exactly do you do?
As mentioned above we are increasingly an inter-disciplinary organisation. We “do” exhibitions, events, residencies, film screenings, music events, programming and curating, performance and collaborations of all kinds.

Does it cost anything?
Empty Shop will only ever charge a fee appropriate to the costs we incur in operating a venue.

Each Empty Shop we take on has different overheads associated with it; a small space that we’re using for one week will be different to an entire building for which we occupy for a period of months. With this in mind the charge for hiring one of our spaces can vary, in the past fees have varied from as little as £7 a day and the large workspace at Empty Shop HQ is currently available at £25 for half a day £50 for a full day. Use of these spaces is allocated strictly on a first come, first served policy.

Drop us an email if you have a particular project, or particular space, in mind.

How does Empty Shop work?
Empty shop works through hard work, dedication and a genuine interest in what we are doing. We aim to provide the community we serve with creative resources and opportunities, whilst creating an alternative cultural offer in the region.

I have an empty shop/building/space,  would it benefit me to let you use it?
Yes, there are some great reasons, including commercial and financial incentives, to allow our organisation to use your unused space. If you want to talk to us about this please email thefolks@emptyshop.org and we will be in touch.

Can Empty Shop help me with an idea?
Very possibly! We are a really open organisation that loves to work with other people. Drop us an email with your idea and we’ll see if it’s something we can help with.


Get in touch

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Contact Info


35c Framwellgate Bridge, Durham, DH1 4SJ