Tucked away on a quiet street near the border between Manchester city centre and the neighbouring town of Salford, Islington Mill is a creative space, arts hub and community like no other.

Proudly describing itself as “a work in progress” the Mill is a celebration of the unconventional, and "the product of a singular dream to form a network of artists around the shared goal of living and working as freely and creatively as possible."

A mixed programme

The unique atmosphere derives from a mix of public arts programmes, residencies and galleries, sitting happily alongside recording studios, an events space and even a Bed and Breakfast.

Music and visual arts mix with events and exhibitions. More than 50 businesses and 100 artists call the Mill home; you can meet some of the people at the heart of this dynamic community in the video above.

A legacy of creativity

Islington Mill is the brainchild of Manchester-born Central St Martins graduate Bill Campbell. On leaving art school he returned to Manchester and took a lease on a single floor of the building in 1999.

At that time, the former Victorian cotton mill had been out of use for 30 years. Soon after, the building was put on the market and Campbell spent the next four years raising the money to buy it. Once he had done so, he began transforming its five stories into a thriving creative community. You can see how the building looks today in the images below.

The Mill’s ethos is focused on creating opportunities both for artistic development and collaboration, and all manner of artists and small companies can be found here.

From former Mill musical sensations the Ting Tings to more recent residents such as GNOD, DIY sound artist Callum Higgins, artist Rachel Goodyear, Michael Holland and Volkov Commanders, a wealth of talent has flourished within the unique creative space offered by The Mill over the years.

In the video below, Rachel Goodyear talks about her work with Islington Mill.

Islington Mill courtyard. Image courtesy Islington Mill.
Studio, Islington Mill. Image courtesy Islington Mill.

Beyond the Mill

Internationalism is a cornerstone of the Mill’s work, creating a platform for global networks and exchanges, both digital and physical. One third of the artists showcased at the Mill are from outside the UK, while 17% are national and 50% are based locally.

In 2013, the Mill organised its first mass residency in Ibiza followed by residencies in Berlin, Liverpool, New York and London. In the video above, Japanese rock band Bo Ningen perform with American singer Lydia Lunch at the Mill. The Mill is also developing new collaborative fundraising models for future projects.

Co-director and artist Maurice Carlin recently created a new series of art works titled Temporary Custodians of Islington Mill: 2018–2028, for which he produced 100 unique relief prints taken from the surface of the derelict 5th floor of Islington Mill.

The sale and distribution of this work represented an innovative new approach to owning art, as well as providing a vital funding stream for essential building renovations and new expanded artist facilities – including residency spaces and a permanent facility for large-scale artistic production – contributing to a more secure future for Islington Mill.

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