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Creative Space

Space Studios Hackney

11-09-2010 | Thanks to one organisation providing space for people to be creative, the outlook's bright for arts in the London borough of Hackney.

Arts for all

Space is a non profit arts organisation that has enables creative people to experiment, develop and thrive. The charity is one of the largest arts organisations in England and has actively promoted the role of artists in society since its inception in 1968. Its primary activity is providing affordable studio space for over 600 visual artists and designers, supporting their professional development and providing a programme of exhibitions.

"We've led the way in making Hackney the creative, vibrant place it is. The borough has the highest density of artists in Europe and the arts are integral to the neighbourhood's identity and image," says Anna Harding, chief executive at Space. 

Space's impact goes beyond the artists it supports, radiating out to enhance the whole community in Hackney and beyond.

"Community cohesion is an important aspect of our work and we're valued by local authorities for providing creative ways of bringing people together," says Anna. "Artists don't just work in isolation, and we're always open to new collaborations and new ways of thinking about the world."

Community creativity

One example is Space's Young People and Learning Programme, which works with young people to explore their creativity. Projects are often developed in partnership with schools and education authorities, housing associations and local authorities as well as working directly with young people outside of mainstream education.

Its recent Active Energy project, in collaboration with artist Loraine Leeson, brought together students from Bow Boys Secondary School with a group of adults from Tower Hamlets. Through a series of workshops, they developed prototypes for wind and water turbines with support from an artist, engineer and former-rocket scientist. The most successful design was chosen to power a temporary public light-work aimed at drawing attention to potential applications of renewable energy sources.

When the opportunity arose to buy the building it had rented for 20 years, Space came to Triodos Bank for help.

"The loan from Triodos has enabled us to secure our first ever freehold since 1968: it's been a longstanding aspiration," says Anna. "Hackney's losing its industrial properties to redevelopment and becoming an increasingly expensive place to live and work.  If we hadn't managed to buy it, 40 artists would have lost heir studio space. It means Space has an asset base for further development, making the business more sustainable and giving artists a sense of security so they can focus on their work."

Project CV

SPACE provides support and resources to artists to make the great art of our day. It
is one of the largest arts organisations in England and has been at the vanguard in
promoting the role of artists in society since its inception in 1968. SPACE provides
platforms which enable creative people to experiment, develop and thrive, and engages
the whole community. Through its activities SPACE cultivates the growth of individuals,
supports the arts and nurtures a creative, vibrant society.




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