For our most recent exploration into the creative spaces of our fair city (or cities), we roamed once again beyond the point where Manchester transitions into Salford, to track down Jai Redman and Simon Chislett of the Ultimate Holding Company at their new site. UHC was founded by Jai in 2002, with Simon joining later that year, and this (approximate) 10-year anniversary is an exciting time in the collective’s development as they relocate and regroup, with intriguing plans in the pipeline. The Ultimate Holding Company were previously based at Hotspur House and have operated as an interdisciplinary cooperative collective of artists and designers, undertaking commissions, and curating socially conscious exhibitions such as Tin Town earlier this year in the stunning Upper Campfield Market, Castlefield.
Jai explained how UHC had proposed to expand on their previous site, in line with the Cornerhouse and Library Theatre’s planned contemporary art, theatre and film complex; Home. However, that didn’t work out, as unfortunately the best laid plans sometimes don’t, and undeterred UHC have decided to settle in another area of the city that is on the cusp of major regeneration. The 1970’s office block which will now house UHC is situated amongst warehouses and car parks on Greengate, just off Trinity Way and only a short walk from Market Street. Jai related how Greengate, which acts as a bridge and boundary between Manchester and Salford, is like a blank canvas, and that UHC will be able to curate the neighbourhood and develop an arts and culture ecology amongst the existing communities – hinting at a future project in collaboration with the local car-park attendants.
The new UHC site offers a variety of different spaces that could be used for exhibitions, affordable studios or offices, with the collective augmenting a strategic role in Greater Manchester’s arts scene by providing such spaces, as well as opening up a new area of the city/ies to creative interventions. Jai and Simon, the only two current members of the UHC collective – which is usually formed from a changing cast of associate artists, curators, designers and project managers – are presently operating out of an expansive ‘warehouse-blue’ office, with work from past projects and the odd piece relating to what’s to come dotted around. The rest of the building, including a foyer that may be used for exhibitions, and a partitioned warehouse space that will become studios are yet to be put into use, but the potential is clear, and we can’t wait to see what happens.
Written by Lauren Velvick / Photographs by Elle Brotherhood