Co-op Memories with Lil Brookes

A series of storytelling, reminiscence, and object re-creation workshops with Lil Brookes. A painter, and heritage specialist, Lil has a keen interest in women’s heritage, the social history of Paisley and Renfrewshire, and using the Paisley pattern as inspiration for visual art.

These workshops will tell stories and explore themes related to the retail workers of the Co-operative movement & Paisley Co-operative & Manufacturing Society (PCMS), the Co-op dividend and Co-op savings stamp scheme, stories of Co-op shopping and memories of the Co-op which provided retail goods and services “from the cradle to the grave”.

Using archive film, images, and ephemera as inspiration participants will work towards reimagining/recreating signage, advertising, and packaging to display and share retail stories and memories and to “dress” a recreated shop backdrop.

Participants work will contribute to a group show within a small thematic exhibition.


Lil Brookes

Lil Brookes is an artist living and working in Renfrewshire. She runs a small business called “Gatekeeper Art”. Her freelance work has two strands, as an artist and as a social historian with community practice. Her artwork is inspired by the rich heritage of Scotland with a special interest in the vibrant colours, designs, and textures of the West of Scotland’s 18th and 19th-century textile industries – the iconic Paisley pattern and handloom shawl making of Renfrewshire, the Vale of Leven’s Turkey Red dyeing process and Ayrshire lace production. She exhibited at the Paisley Art Institute open exhibition in 2019 & 2020 and at the North Ayrshire Open Exhibition in Eglinton Park, Ayrshire in 2019. Her artwork retails in a range of formats including cards and signed mounted prints as well as
commissioned and original works. She enjoys research and experimentation with different mediums and materials which are both “fun” and challenging when creating new artwork. Lil sees art as “therapy”, a safe place, and a passion.

Her work as a social historian has led her to carry out the research, design, and delivery of community-led heritage projects to a variety of client groups including adults with physical, learning, and visual disabilities, adults with mental health issues, older adults, and school children including intergenerational working. Projects have
included online workshops, film-making, and participating in large community events.