A weekly spotlight on the fabulous Nottingham Independents who make our city unique.
Introducing The Carousel
This week we are speaking with Benjamin and Martin from The Carousel. They provide an awesome multi-purpose art space in Hockley for Nottingham’s creative community.
The Carousel is primarily a members-based organisation. They offer a range of memberships including studios, desks, and co-working. The team have worked hard at building a space that feels like a beautiful home, and a great community has developed from this.
As well as being a member’s space that hosts exhibitions and shops, they are also in the process of setting up a Saturday Cafe and Bar. They are looking forward to hosting more workshops, events, and exhibitions as a result, showcasing, celebrating, and supporting as many artists as possible along the way.
Hi guys, you seem like an interesting collective. Can you tell us a little about your background?
Benjamin: "I did a Photography degree at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and decided to stay in the city because I had a job in a pub and realised, I could live quite cheaply! My degree taught me that although I loved photography, I did not want to be a photographer. I was more interested in facilitating other people's creativity through exhibition curation, book design and project coordination."
After graduating alongside Craig Proud we decided to set up a print studio called Dizzy Ink with some financial support from NTU. We’ve been running the print studio in the city centre for the past 6 years and whilst running the studio, we’ve been able to meet, develop and support a lot of artists and creatives from Nottingham and further afield.
Martin: "Hi, I’m Martin, one of the Co-Director’s of The Carousel. My background is as a sound and visual artist working within collage, film and sound. These formats allow me to give life to the static drawn imagery that I create. Often creating cinematic, slow panning videos that mimic the slow majestic build- up of many of my sound compositions."
I graduated from NTU in 2013 and stayed in Nottingham to be a part of its vibrant emerging art scene. In my role at The Carousel, I take a lead in curating the studios exhibitions and the logistics behind the studios building projects, with a focus on up-cycling and fair pay for all.
Cool. So, how did you come to start the business?
Benjamin: "Three years ago, Dizzy Ink realised we needed a new studio. At the same time, we had a conversation with Farida Makki and Martin, who were also artists and wanted to start their own studio space as well, and so the collaboration began."
We then spent a year looking around Nottingham and slightly further afield - we looked around old scout huts, Jehovah Witness Kingdom halls, lots of old factories and eventually we were introduced to 25 Hockley by Rob Howie Smith who is responsible for so many creative hubs in Nottingham. It was in the final meeting that the landlord mentioned the building used to be a pram shop called ‘La Carousel’. We thought this was a fantastic name for the project and so the name ‘The Carousel’ was given to the space.
How do you curate your exhibitions and accompanying store?
"We’re a studio and workspace for over 30 creative people. Our previous exhibitions have showcased the artists who work from the space, as well as inviting other artists to retail their work. We want to balance our store with both local and national artists, so our first Christmas shop supported local creatives, in contrast to our next shop which supported people from all over the UK. The latest exhibition was the International Women's Day, 2021 exhibition which was curated by Zena Kay and Grace Barnes, two of our members. The exhibition featured 20 illustrators from all over the country as well as Katie Fishlock, an artist from Bristol celebrating sexual pleasure and feminine strength. The exhibition and subsequent store were created to celebrate, support and showcase women."
What's a great day out in Nottingham for?
"A dream day would be to start off in Sneinton market, see all the amazing independent retail spots and if the vegan market is on stock up on some tasty goodies. We would probably have a Veggie Mega breakfast at The Avenues…In Hockley we’d do a bit of record digging in Rough Trade and charity shopping in Sue Ryder before heading up to our favourite new lunch spot Little Brick House for some of Katerina’s amazing Latke’s. After lunch we would pop over to Primary Studios and the amazing Beam edition book shop that has recently opened there. We’d keep walking through the city, have a record dig in West End Arcade, pop into The Dragon to have a pint and see what DJ’s are playing - not forgetting to play some Scalextric. Heading back through town calling in for pints at Bodega, Six Barrels, and a curry at Viva. Before finishing the night off in the King Billy! "
Wow! That sounds a great, rounded, fun day out! Thanks for your time guys.
If you are interested in seeing the space and finding out more about memberships reach out to their Membership Coordinator, Amber Jesson at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can follow The Carousel on:
It's In Nottingham have teamed up with John Lewis & Partners and The Great British Exchange to provide eight Nottingham independent businesses the chance to ‘pop-up’ in the John Lewis Nottingham store throughout the summer.
The Carousel are the first up and will unveil their in-store concept 12th July. They plan to showcase art from local artists, and we are certain that they will curate an exciting and unexpected space. For more details on the event, including more information on participating businesses, click HERE.
Pop along and take a ride with The Carousel!
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