Over the last six months Partisan Collective has carved out a much-needed independent space for grassroots community action, DIY art and culture in Manchester.
We met in the backroom of a pub on a wet Saturday in February but by May, fundraising gigs and parties in support of Partisan were popping up around the city and we had collaborated with Basement Gigs Manchester, SLUT DROP x Force Majeure and had an Elevator day party. These events drew diverse audiences and growing interest and support for the project.
In May, Partisan moved into a temporary residence at 3Space, in an abandoned office building in the heart of the city. We threw an all-day event ‘Manchester: City of Queer Hope’ to launch the space and celebrate street artist Faith47’s new mural in support of LGBT+ rights as part of the CitiesofHope 9 day convention. This event saw Partisan host a panel discussion on the role of art for queer(ing) politics and activism, a screening of “Screaming Queens: the Riot at Compton’s” and a riotous night of drag and disco inspired by The Simpsons and hosted by Charlotte Davies and Marilyn Misandry of Thirsty Girls.
A wide range of community groups have been using the temporary Partisan space for meetings, training and organising, including: Cities of Hope, Greater Manchester Housing Action, Ladyfest Manchester, Manchester People’s Assembly, New Economy Organiser’s Network (NEON), Picket the Profiteers, Another Europe is Possible, MCR Radical Mental Health, Manchester Punk Festival, Global Justice Now, Steady State, Manchester Friends of Kurdistan, Manchester Film Co-op, Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, Manchester No Prisons, Left Unity, Dear Friend, Manchester and Trafford Momentum.
This shows how valuable a permanent Partisan space will be to the activists and arts communities of Manchester. The connections built across these wide ranging networks allow Partisan to reach a greater number of people and offer exciting opportunities for future collaborative work.
Partisan’s temporary 3Space residence has provided a free, accessible and non-commercial space for artists to develop and showcase work – a rare thing in the city. Javier Camanas, Hilary O’Mahony and Nicholas Pierce have all held exhibitions of their work.
Theatre groups such as the Take Back Theatre Company have used the space for rehearsals.
Many local bands and touring musicians have seized the opportunity and held gigs and performances at the space;
Sprank and Shireen both from the Netherlands filled Partisan with political folk, klesma, crisis folk and cake for the afternoon in July.
The incredible G Bop Orchestra chose Partisan as the location for their Manchester tour dates.
Another packed day-festival included music by Elena, DOG SEX, Lavender, The Showers and Thirsty Girls Collective; Spoken word from Kid Vicious and Niall Smee; And art exhibited by Norton Robinson, Evan Soule, Jasper Clough, Sam Frost and Josh Bentley.
Social events like the clothes, records and books swap, skill-shares and regular film screenings have been well attended and attracted different crowds.
Alongside this inspiring array of events, having a physical space from which to meet and organise, Partisan Collective has solidified, growing as a unique force in the city, finding its identity and developing its collective skills through workshops and skillshares.
What has been achieved in the months since our group’s inception reinforces how important it is for Partisan to have a permanent home. We aim to build on what we’ve learned by setting up a workers co-op, running a bar and entertainment venue, providing a truly independent, accessible and grassroots community space for Manchester.
What’s next for us? Partisan are currently crowdfunding on Spacehive. Anything you can give will help us to secure a permanent space so we can continue to grow and develop in 2017!