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About Us

Founded in 2008 as a grassroots arts organisation Empty Shop CIC operates on an independent, not-for-profit basis. In our first decade we utilised more than 50 different spaces to produce independent projects and programmes, providing much needed accessible platforms.

  • 180,000+ visitors hosted
  • 3000+ artists supported
  • 1000+ events delivered
  • 54 spaces used
  • 12 years of delivery

Empty Shop HQ in Durham City
Illustration by Matt O’Brien

In later years we developed our experience in place-based, cultural leadership into a specialist portfolio of products and services working with a diverse client-base from the public and private sectors. Equally comfortable acting as consultants or producers – and often bringing both together – we helped build scenes, nurture communities, create bespoke pop-up events, cultural programmes and sector development schemes to deliver strategic impacts. More recently, we formalised this strategic work with our sibling organisation, Building Culture CIC.


While taking up work with a range of clients, commissioners and partners we still maintain our commitment to grassroots cultural development, serving the communities who have supported us from day one.

To learn about our Building Culture  our practice-based consultancy – click here

The folks behind Empty Shop

Nick Malyan

Nick Malyan

Co Founder & Director

Nick is a North East based project manager with more than a decade of experience working with organisations including Artichoke, New Writing North, Sage Gateshead and the Lindisfarne Gospels Durham partnership.

Nick also works independently as a writer, curator and facilitator contributing to projects at Cardiff Contemporary, The Newbridge Project, Northern Stage, &-Model Gallery and Futuresonic festival (among others).

Most recently Nick continued on from Empty Shop’s consultancy and developmental role at Redhills: Durham Miners Hall to lead on their successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid.

Furthermore, he went on to become the current Chief Executive Officer for the newly formed Redhills CIO.

Carlo Viglianisi

Carlo Viglianisi

Co Founder & Director

Carlo comes from a Fine Arts and freelance background with over 20 years experience working in the Arts & Culture sector, ranging from self initiated, grassroots projects through to commercial and partnership work.

His practice is interested in analysing, interrogating and questioning convention, seeking out new routes and preferring the challenge of discovery over the pre-defined.

Carlo likes to make good stuff happen, creatively responding to obstacles/opportunities and relishing hands-on and developmental roles.

Other projects include DJAZZ: The Durham City Jazz Festival in collaboration with At The Root and developing Building Culture CIC, Empty Shop’s sibling organisation and practice-led consultancy strand.

Collaborators & Community

Empty Shop was designed to be collaborative; Nick & Carlo steer the direction of the organisation but we work with and are informed by people at almost every stage.

We have collaborated with so many artists, organisations, associates, friends, peers and users along the way that they would be too hard to list, but each and everyone helped shape the organisation and we are grateful for the collective achievements over the years.


Empty Shop is currently taking a break. After years of delivery we felt it was important to seek new experiences and fresh inspiration and decided it was the perfect opportunity to park things for a while.

We’ve always thought of Empty Shop as an albums band and following that analogy, when we have another good one in us we’ll be back.

>> You can keep up with what Carlo is doing through
>> You can keep us with Nick is doing through

You can still follow Empty Shop on socials, where we’ll continue to support and share all the amazing stuff happening amongst our networks.