In 2014 the Mayor of London commissioned the Artists’ Workspace Study, which predicted the possible loss of up to 3,500 artists’ workspaces in the coming 5 years, with evidence that many artists are opting to move abroad to cities like Berlin, Dublin and Brussels. It is expected that losing these studios and the resulting depletion of dynamic, young talent in London will lead to a sterile and lacklustre city. Inevitably this will have knock-on effects for the creative industries, tourism, the quality of life in London, and reduce the pull factors of the UK business environment.
Launched in March 2016 at an event hosted at Antony Gormley’s studio in central London, Studiomakers aims to provide entrepreneurial solutions in response to serious funding needs. It looks to partner with organisations in the property industry – from local authorities to landowners and private developers – to retain existing and create new affordable artist workspaces in London and the UK. It works with studio providers specialised in the field to oversee tenancy and operation of these workspaces. The extent of this will now look for spaces of production, helping not only artists, but also crafts people and other creatives, to ensure that the ecosystem of the creative industry is kept secure in the long term.
A key focus to the solution combines two elements: raising a multimillion pound fund, through which to facilitate the acquisition of assets, as well as the creation of a Creative Land Trust through which assets will be protected in perpetuity for use by artists and other creatives.
In partnership with property developers General Projects and studio operators Arebyte, the first Studiomakers site opened in Clerkenwell, London in September 2016, with 35 studios, 15 desk spaces, 3 offices for creative organisations and 2 galleries. The project will see use of a meanwhile space for one year before the redevelopment of the property, and new affordable workspace included within the new design.
At the site of an office block on Baker Street in June 2016, one office floor was turned into a temporary gallery space, housing The Empire Remains Shop. Creative work hub and gallery The Koppel Project have occupied the ground and lower ground floor, before redevelopment by Gertler Properties where two new affordable studios will be included in the new complex.
In April 2016, the cafe space in a new residential development by Realstar Group in New Cross was allocated long-term space to a curated programme of new art projects by students from Goldsmiths College across the road.
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