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Empty Shop CIC
2 min readAug 17, 2019

The Inevitable Conclusion of a TESTT Space

Mick Stephenson, ‘First Light’ , 2019

We’ve got some news to share so this is a slightly different blog post.

At 30 months and counting we recently received the inevitable tap on the shoulder from our landlords.

By the end of this year, TESTT Space will be no more.

As the plans for North Road and the redevelopment of Durham Bus Station progress, we make way for the future.

When we leave at the end of 2019 we’ll have had 3 springs, 3 summers, 3 autumns and 3 winters in the building.

To date we’ve hosted 15 shows, dozens of theatre, film, music and literature events. A rotating community of 30+ artists have made the place their home — not including the handful of residencies we’ve hosted for artists from London and overseas. Our student art studio ran for two years with another 30+ members.

We’ve done loads with the space. It’s meant a lot of things to a lot of people.

We’re now readying ourselves to move out — but not move on. At present we don’t have an alternative home lined up, which as ever, we’re relatively relaxed about.

TESTT Space is the 42nd space of the 55 we’ve used in our 11 year history.

For Empty Shop, temporary has always been the permanent. The spaces we use are a vehicle for bringing people together and sparking connections.
As much as we love spaces and places, for us, they are catalysts for relationships. The dynamics of the people a space brings together are more interesting — and long lasting. To a certain extent, the obsolscense of the physical is kind of the point.

So, the community that TESTT Space has housed will remain — albeit in a less tangible fashion. We’re not sure what that will look like yet, but collectively I’m sure we’ll work it out.

Keep your eyes peeled for stuff going on in the space over the coming months, but more importantly — look beyond that into next year, and the years after. We certainly are.



Empty Shop CIC

Art // Regeneration // Collaboration. Empty Shop CIC is a not-for-profit arts organisation and practice-based consultancy from the North East of England.