Southwark Studios is a not-for-profit Community Benefit Society, founded in 2009. We specialise in creating and operating workspaces for local artists.
Our priority is to deliver new workspaces that offer long-term security of tenure at truly affordable terms for those working in the creative industries.
We are described by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, as a “game changer” for the affordable workspace sector because our unique approach is successfully building the next generation of London’s cultural infrastructure.
Rapid increases in property values in Southwark, mirrored across our capital, have greatly impacted the ability to provide workspaces at a price that is affordable for people working in the creative industries. Artists and small creative businesses have often had to work from dilapidated space on short-term leases whilst, ironically, enhancing the desirability of an area that makes redevelopment more likely.
Southwark Studios is pioneering a new solution to this fundamental problem of long-term sustainability. We engage with Developers throughout the planning process, working in collaboration to integrate spaces for the creative industries within mixed-use redevelopment sites. We negotiate to ensure that developers achieve their affordable workspace planning obligations, whilst guaranteeing the terms we need to ensure that workspaces remain affordable for Artists in the long-term.
For over a decade we have developed this new method of delivering the next generation of London’s cultural infrastructure, with the sites we have secured used by the Greater London Authority as examples of best practice.
Southwark Studios, working in partnership with our consultancy arm Affordablework.space, continues to seek new opportunities to partner with Developers. We are keen to replicate our success and secure more of the spaces that are vital for local creative industries to continue to work in our capital.
Founded in 2009 Southwark Studios took a short-term lease on an old industrial building near Tower Bridge Road.
We converted this large space into 43 individual studio units that were let to local artists on affordable, all-inclusive rates. We also provided a range of communal areas like our cinema, darkroom, library, meeting rooms and kitchens.
We operated at capacity for over seven years, giving over 250 artists a workspace to call home. Our tenants were fantastically eclectic, from the UK’s top Kickstarter and Etsy businesses, to hobbyist painters in their 90’s. We curated a productive working community of creative practitioners, assisting with the launch of careers, some who are now internationally-renowned artists.
80% of our tenants used this first, temporary Southwark Studios site as their place of business, with 67% of our artists identifying as female, and 25% BAME.
We also hosted a successful community engagement programme, welcoming visitors to our Open Studios, exhibitions and educational events. Our events were always free to the public, and our Gallery space was offered pro-bono to other creative groups and local charities.
Southwark Studios maintains strong ties to our local community, and we look forward to opening our new studios, giving the next generation of artists quality, affordable workspaces that are secured in the long-term.
All of our artist studios are under construction, and we do not have spaces available to occupy at this time.
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