Very good write up about Federation House / Castlefield New Art Space on a-n website:
As Manchester’s Castlefield Gallery celebrates its 30th anniversary, it is launching its most ambitious initiative yet for artists, artist groups and development agencies. Federation House, an eight-storey building near Corporation Street in Manchester city centre, was until recently the headquarters of the Co-Operative Group’s food business, but along with other office workers in the area, its workforce recently migrated to the brand new Angel Square complex nearby.
For the next five years, Federation House will be home to Castlefield’s new ‘pop up’ project spaces, putting new art at the heart of NOMA, the Co-Op’s redevelopment scheme for the 20 acre area, a stone’s throw from Victoria Station.
Significantly, spaces in Federation House are not studios, as Castlefield director, Kwong Lee, points out. “We work with quite a lot of artists in studio spaces in Manchester; they serve their purpose, they’re cheap, but usually they’re quite cold and the roof is sometimes leaky. What we bring here is time-limited space, so if an artist who has a studio already or works from home has an ambitious project, and for two months they need half a floor – which is 500 square metres – they can have that. So we issue licences to artists – it’s not a tenancy agreement – it’s a license to use. That’s why it’s short-term. It needs to be active.”
“The other thing to say is it’s not just visual arts-led,” Lee adds. “It’s not mono-culture. Most of the other studios, apart from Islington Mill maybe, are mono-cultural, and we want to create a visual arts-led culture which has other art forms, and they’ll be cross-trading.”