Hubs and Vouchers: City researchers collaborate with creative hubs
The Place Work Knowledge strand of Creative works London,
which Ros Gill and Andy Pratt are key investigators, held a Research Laboratory at the Trampery London Fields and at The Arcola Theatre Dalston on February 3rd, 2014. The specific focus of this research lab was Mare Street in Hackney. A cluster of hubs exist on Mare Street. From the private work space of The Trampery at London Fields, to the London College of Fashion and finally to SPACE studios who seek to sustain fine artists and makers.
The event had two parts: hubs and vouchers
a. HubsMainly facilitated by Prof Andy Pratt, the first part of the day was at at The Trampery London Fields. Here we had presentations from three hub directors: Anna Harding from Space Studios, Prof Wendy Malem from the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, and Charles Armstrong from the Trampery. Prof Andy Pratt, Prof Rosalind Gill and Dr Tarek Virani (post doc researcher on the PWK strand) facilitated Q&As between the audience and the hub directors.
As part of the PWK Strand’s research we were interested in figuring out how these hubs operate. The presentations and subsequent panel-like discussions with the hub directors provided us with huge insights into their activities, as well as the challenges that they all face.
The main questions were: how does Mare street sustain its creative community, are there lessons to learn, and pitfalls to avoid? What we found was that there were different ways of doing what they do, we saw three contrasting examples of how to help beginning-stage artists and makers develop their talent and networks through the help of these organisations. We learned about the power of the ‘paradigm of regeneration’ through the Mayor of London’s vision of a Fashion Hub in Hackney; we heard about the challenges of real estate and rental prices for artists and makers; we discussed the difficulty of collaboration across disciplines in the creative industries and the barriers of language; finally we listened as the highly curatorial role of the hub directors were put on display as they talked through how they do what they do.
b.Creative Vouchers (CV). The AHRC Creative Works London Hub not only funds academic research, but also collaboration in the form of Creative Vouchers. For the second part of the day we all moved to The Arcola Theatre where City University’s Amanda Brown and Ben Todd talked through the launch of their website and their CV funded project (co-ordinated by City’s Prof Steve Cottrell). Later, there were presentations by Sara Jones, another City colleague, on the Digital Shoreditch CV, Andy Pratt and John McKiernan on The Platform 7 collaboration and Anna Hart from Central St Martins on the Team Cally CV.