Creative Spaces in Manchester : Part 3 : Now Then Magazine 26 Apr


Today we met with Ian and Sam from Now Then Magazine, a new(ish) free publication for Manchester, now on its fourth issue, featuring a mixture of reviews, opinions and even recipes, with exclusively commissioned artwork.


The first thing you’ll notice about Now Then are the splendid front covers, showcasing the work of a local artist each month, who also curates the rest of the issue; their work interspersed with written content. The first few issues have focused on street art and illustration, and whilst there’s obviously nothing wrong with that, Sam and Ian dropped some hints about oil painting in the future.
Now Then’s founding ethos is all about supporting independent businesses and creatives, which means that giving a voice to local writers, and covering events around the city is fundamental. However, as a free magazine funded entirely by advertising, Now Then also only give advertising space to independents, meaning that no space is wasted, and even the adverts are worth looking at! The back cover of the magazine is also utilized for maps of Manchester and Salford, creating a direct, and useful link from page to place.


It’s important to the people who make Now Then, that the magazine reflects the character of the city, and the inclusion of articles by local people about interesting places and histories is a really great way of making this happen. Whilst there are always lots of exciting performances and events taking place around the city, it’s the discovery of monuments and stories that gives our experiences of a place texture and depth.


Ian and Sam also spoke about the possibility of Now Then events in the future.  Having curated a stage at Shebeen festival in 2012, Sam described how ideally he would like to bring the content of the magazine out into real life, with an event incorporating elements of spoken word and cooking.
Having previously visited two spaces (as in – actual buildings and rooms) where people get together and make things, it was interesting to consider the creative and inspirational value of something small and portable. With Now Then, not only is the content interesting and original, but the magazine itself is aesthetically pleasing as an object –that you can pick up, flick through and return to.

Written by Lauren Velvick

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