The #togetherclonmel photography project is designed to repurpose vacant buildings while recognising the work of volunteer groups in Clonmel.
This has been a difficult subject for many towns and villages. Clonmel Tidy Towns has a Hub in MarketPlace, a once busy shopping arcade close to the centre of town. Sadly the years have seen shop after shop close. We have spoken to the council about it and promoted their shop font enhancement scheme which had a good take up in recent years. Funding has recently been allocated for this year for Clonmel and we have promoted it across our social media. We have also written directly to estate agents asking them to pass on our concerns to the owners. Replies have recognised something has to be done but none had specific plans. We will continue to engage with owners and their agents.
We came up with the #togetherclonmel project and the idea is to take photographs of various volunteers in groups such as the Clonmel Scout Group. These photographs would then be displayed in vacant shop windows. We met with the council and engaged with the primary estate agents of Market Place and received permission to use as many windows as we need. Clonmel Camera Club got involved and we got busy reaching out to clubs and groups in town, inviting them to join us.
16 groups have answered the initial call and they are a mix of sports clubs, community groups and arts groups. As well as photographs of the volunteers, we hope the exhibit can be used as a way to promote the group with club details included. We plan to produce 2 exhibits a month filling as many shop units in Market Place as we can. Once all the groups have been exhibited and promoted, we will contact another 16 and continue with the project. We hope this exhibition will encourage other shop owners to allow us access to place photographs in their vacant shops. That way we give thanks to the volunteers, promote the clubs, charities, groups after covid, and fill derelict spaces.