Studiomakers increases the supply of truly affordable spaces used for creative production and cultural consumption by brokering long-term lease agreements. 

The creative industries are the fastest-growing sector of the UK economy, accounting for one in every six jobs in the capital alone. However, creative talent, and the affordable workspace it needs, is becoming increasingly difficult to retain in expensive cities.

The Greater London Authority’s 2018 workspace study highlighted that 67% of all artists’ studios have closed in under three years, with a further 24% of remaining studios likely to close in the next five years. With over 13,000 artists currently on waiting lists, we are seeing a huge drain of talent as creative practitioners are pushed out of our city by ever increasing costs. It is essential to find new solutions that secure long-term affordable spaces for the creative industries and cultural infrastructure.

Phase One

London City Island:
Affordable workspace secured by
Studiomakers and operated by
Arebyte Studios.

Since its creation in 2003, Outset has raised over £12million in support of new art, and established the Studiomakers initiative as a way of protecting the artists at the core of this cultural investment.

In 2016 Outset hosted an event at  Antony Gormley’s studio to launch Studiomakers in response to the rapid reduction of affordable spaces for the creative industries. Phase One explored different ways to counter this decline, helping to deliver over 60,000sqft of temporary workspace that supported hundreds of artists, events and exhibitions.

In 2019, through a private public partnership with the Mayor of London, Arts Council England and Bloomberg Philanthropies Outset were also instrumental in raising £7.5 million to help launch the Creative Land Trust. This independent charitable organisation was established to buy and lease property for use as affordable workspace in perpetuity.

Phase Two

Southwark Studios:
New workspace secured for 25 years
on affordable terms.

In 2020 new changes to planning laws will require property redevelopments in London to include affordable workspace.  Studiomakers Phase Two is bringing parties together to develop affordable workspace at a pre-planning stage, ultimately leading to agreements that deliver viable terms for all stakeholders, secured through planning conditions. 

Studiomakers increases the number of spaces used for cultural consumption and creative production through comprehensive knowledge, unparalleled industry experience, and a new long-term leasehold model that guarantees the appropriate use of spaces whilst delivering social and cultural impact. We balance the unique terms required to integrate spaces within development projects that are safeguarded to remain truly affordable.

Studiomakers does not manage or operate space ourselves, but guides the creative industries on how best to activate new sites, and engages with the property sector to offer insight in the affordable workspace sector. We act as a strategic partner and advisor, engaging with stakeholders throughout the planning process to help achieve obligations, deliver value and secure new spaces that are designed to meet local demand.

Studiomakers beyond London

The crisis in supply of affordable spaces for the creative and cultural industries is not limited to the capital.  Studiomakers is sharing its working solution with a view to proactively securing affordable spaces wherever they are needed.

Short-term property arrangements lead to cultural and creative spaces being under constant threat of closure due to market forces. This impacts an organisations’ ability to generate investment, as security in property is often fundamental to grant or loan applications.

Beyond rising property values, a number of factors have impacted ability of the affordable workspace industry to secure spaces. These include a lack of common language with the property industry, little knowledge or experience of the planning process, and scarce resources.

Education is a key part of the Studiomakers initiative: imparting knowledge to guide best practice and helping to bridge the knowledge gap for creative industries unfamiliar with the property industry. We are informing all stakeholders about the problems facing our industry, and how the application of the Studiomakers model can provide a new, long-term solution.

Contact Studiomakers
William Austin
Studiomakers Project Manager
020 3322 5116
william@outset.org.uk

The Studiomakers Prize

2017 saw the launch of The Studiomakers Prize, ensuring that some of the most talented artists from the capitals’ leading schools aren’t forced to leave London due to lack of workspace after graduation day. The prize awards a rent-free studio to seven outstanding MA Fine Art graduates each year, along with career development workshops run by industry leading figures. The prize has so far awarded the equivalent of 21 years of free studio workspace.

Read more about the prize in 2017, 2018 and 2019.