This collaboration between Shademakers and Turner Works is built on a shared passion for making and experimentation fueled by DIY energy.

Shademakers have been one of the UK’s leading carnival companies, having been featured in the opening of the Millenium Dome and the 2012 Olympics Torch Ceremony. They design, construct and build large scale kinetic installations, carnival costumes, dancing sculptures and outdoor theatrical pieces which are presented worldwide.

For over 30 years, Shademakers has operated as a nomadic organisation of creatives, borrowing space and only ever growing to suit the limitations of their surroundings. In 2021, Shademakers approached TW with a vision to transform a former department store into their first permanent home. A home that will open its doors to the surrounding community, becoming a cultural centre for making, learning, sharing, interacting, performing, and celebrating.

The proposal has taken inspiration from the rich cultural history of Ryde and the Isle of Wight as a place of creativity and celebration, notably being the site of the UK’s first carnival and setting in motion the long-standing tradition of carnivals on the island. The building has seen many iterations, growing organically over time from a commercial blacksmiths and ironmongers into the Elizabeth Packs department store. The proposed design weaves these histories together with Shademakers’ ambition, creating a new identity for the building and providing a platform for Ryde’s creative community to thrive.

It is a space to dream big, create, display, perform, learn, and exchange skills.  A space to feel welcome in.

“Department has the potential to serve as a prime example of how to restore and reuse an otherwise redundant building in the centre of a community” Bob Seely MP, Isle of Wight

“We intend to fill the streets, bring the colour, bring the celebration, but also bring the story, heritage and meaning behind what we’re doing and a lot of what we do is to regenerate streets and cities and towns to make people proud of where they live” Sharon George, Creative Director of Shademakers

Isle of Wight Council
Ryde Arts
Department for DCMS
Historic England
Architectural Heritage Fund


Turner Works