Islington Mill Studios, Oct 2011. Photograph by T. Tsegmid
First I heard about Islington Mill from Paulette Brien and Laurence Lane, Curators and Directors of The International 3 Gallery. According to them, Islington Mill is this amazing creative space for artists, curators and musicians. They were right. As part of the Asia Triennial II, a Mongolian artist Enkhbold Togmidshiirev was invited to come to Manchester and take a residency at Islington Mill’s B&B for 2 weeks while he participated the city-wide visual arts events organised by collaborating galleries, curators and establishments. I also had the pleasure to stay at Islington Mill for couple of days and got to know its founders and permanent residents, Bill Campbell and Maurice Carlin.
Artist Enkhbold Togmidshiirev building his site-specific installation My Home at Islington Mill front of Islington Mill B&B, Oct 2011. Photograph by T. Tsegmid
From afar, Islington Mill looks deceptively ordinary and no one would notice that there is a creative hot-house inside this gloomy looking building. This perception will be cemented even further, when you face a huge steel door asking for entry codes. All these assumptions will disappear as quickly as they formed when you first step into the Islington Mill entrance hall. Walls plastered with posters of exhibitions, music performances and other arts related events will welcome you.
Personally, I felt re-charged by Islington Mill’s constant flow of creative energies. There is always something going on. People I met were friendly, willing to take their time to discuss about arts and related topics. It was as if the life outside the building doesn’t matter so much. For me, it was the perfect getaway. I closed my eyes and pictured myself as one of the workers of the old Cotton Spinning Mill. Unlike the long hours and harsh conditions the mill workers were subjected to in the past, its present day occupiers and visitors alike enjoy spending time at the mill and contribute to keep the place alive. I for one, would like to be the worker at this Utopian ‘Factory’ of Creative Energies…along with many other creative individuals the mill continues to attract.
Inside Islington Mill B&B, Oct, 2011. Photographs T.Tsegmid
T.Tsegmid, Paulette Brien, Laura Mansfield & Laurance Lane at Islington Mill, Oct, 2011.
Photograph by E. Togmidshiirev