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AHRC-funded arts facilities project shortlisted for award

Date: 04/11/2014

An AHRC-funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership is shortlisted for a prestigious Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Award. The KTP Awards celebrate the great innovations delivered by the UK’s leading academic institutions, businesses and innovators.

The partnership between ACME Studios and Central St Martins College of Art and Design (University of the Arts London) is shortlisted in the RCUK Knowledge Base Impact category, and is nominated for the benefits it brought to the academic partner.

ACME studios began in 1972 as a self-help artists’ initiative in East London with the aim of providing recent graduates with cheap studio and living accommodation. Since then they have gone on to become a leading professional studio development and management organisation providing support for over 5,000 artists and helping establish East London as a centre for visual arts. Although they now own 620 studios providing provision for artists, they had never undertaken any research into understanding the needs of the artists they support.

Through the AHRC-funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership they were able to undertake new and extensive research into contemporary artists’ studio practice to feed into their studio designs. Crucially Central Saint Martins has been able to apply the experience and expertise of its staff and students to a key component of professional practice and develop innovative models for supporting its graduates.

As a result of this deeper understanding of how a well-designed, well managed and affordable studio space contributes to the development of the artists practice, ACME and CSM have jointly created a number of specifically–designed transitional studios for recent graduates, offered at half rent and with continued contact with the college. The collaboration is further enhanced by the fact this is part of a bigger student accommodation development for University of the Arts London providing longer term collaborative opportunities.

Professor Graham Ellard (University of the Arts London), who led the project, said:

“It is not an easy time for artists in London, with studio space becoming scarcer and more expensive. While London continues to be an international centre for contemporary art, the crucial role of the studio is often overlooked. The KTP provided the opportunity for CSM to contribute to Acme’s award-winning High House Artists Studio building in Thurrock, and to enable the creation of the Associate Studio Programme. Both represent ground-breaking and proactive responses to the challenges facing artists and recent graduates, and demonstrate the commitment of the partners to the support of artists, both once established, and during the critical first few years out of college.”

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony taking place in London tonight (4 November 2014), the eve of Innovate UK 2014, the flagship event hosted by Innovate UK and UK Trade & Investment and sponsored by RCUK. 

Notes to Editors

  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. www.ahrc.ac.uk
  • KTP or Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is Europe's leading programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness by enabling companies to work with higher education or research and technology organisations to obtain knowledge, technology or skills which they consider to be of strategic competitive importance.  RCUK sponsors this UK- wide programme which is overseen by Innovate UK www.innovateuk.org.
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