Personal Shopper: Cornucopia!

Personal Shopper: Cornucopia! was the culmination of a 3 year project by Katie Etheridge & Simon Persighetti exploring and celebrating the rich network of relationships between shoppers, traders and goods in Kirkgate Market.

In the sensory labyrinth of Leeds Kirkgate Market, Personal Shopper: Cornucopia! was the market in microcosm, a 21st Century Still Life of fruit, fish, textiles, jewellery, frying pans, friends and experiences. Offering a pick-and-mix selection of micro tours led by local shoppers, traders, market enthusiasts and mis-guides, Katie and Simon invited audiences to navigate the Market through a series of idiosyncratic Personal Shopper tours where poetic, playful and practical insights are intertwined with personal histories, individual passions, and lived experiences. 

This project has empowered and inspired those who had taken part. There are clear reflections on values and place within the market, including that all participants have a common thread: ‘we are all united by our love for food and local produce’ (Kathryn Garnett, Personal Shopper Participant). This project provided an opportunity to leave a legacy on the market stall holders and customers through positive interactions with the community. 

a report from the artists


Following our successful Compass Festival 2014 project, we returned to Kirkgate Market to further explore and celebrate the life of this unique place while meeting shoppers, traders and friends, old and new.

One of the most interesting and enjoyable aspects of Personal Shopper 2014, was being guided round the market by participants. These journeys worked on different levels beyond simply facilitating the gathering of photographic and text based material for the creation of the personal shopping bags.

In accordance with our 2015 Residency Proposal we continued our research into the network of relationships between shoppers, traders and goods in Kirkgate Market; we explored the routes and journeys people make around the market. The walks enabled and encouraged conversation, exploration, networking, discovery and play in the market. These walks formed the foundation for the development of Personal Shopper through this process-based residency.

Our work pattern, as planned, adhered to the business hours of the market with early morning starts, witnessing the extraordinary and routine preparations for the day’s trade. Whilst stalls were being set out we were also preparing for our own scheduled sessions such as setting up the Personal Shopper Hub and preparing materials and contents for such activities as the Become a Market Mis-guide Workshop.

Afternoons were used to develop our research in a flexible and responsive way. Our creative version of “Market Research” included activities that took place both within the market on the trading floor, and also at the residency base in the Kirkgate Suite. Time was split between engaging directly with shoppers and traders, and processing and working with ideas, materials and texts back at base.

Etheridge & Persighetti, May 2015.

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