Creative Space Agency


USM jointly with CIDA (Cultural Industries Development Agency) took over a fledgling initiative started by ACE (London) and Creative London and turned it into a functioning service.  The main aim was to ensure that vacant properties in the private, charitable and state sectors could be used by creatives and artists for short and longer term periods as a way of assisting regeneration through the arts.   Over a 2 year trial period the work covered creating a website, working to find building owners who were keen on this approach, generating leads for them and acting as an intermediary in that process, devising a number of exemplar projects and instituting a training scheme.

Key Facts

Project dates 2006-8
Client Arts Council England (London) and Creative London (London Development Agency)
Brief Re-use of vacant space, creative and arts uses, temporary and interim uses, vacant rates strategy
Partnerships ACE (London), Creative London (LDA), CIDA
Results The website moved from 0 to 1,000 hits a month and covered a wide range of buildings. The training scheme on finding and using space was created and delivered to around 200 people. Some key projects took place showing the benefits of the scheme. The demise of Creative London and the re-organisation of ACE (London) had a major impact on this scheme. Those funders fell away and while it was possible to look at ways of building the project up to be self sufficient, this was not possible in the timescale. CIDA continue managing the website while the other aspects ended. The website is still top of the Google list (under “creative space”) and enquiries come through. One idea that could not be capitalised on was to work with owners of empty buildings to devise strategies for dealing with Vacant Rates as the funding ended just when the law on vacant buildings changed - making them pay full Business Rates.

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