Arts Council England
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Landmark financial initiative launched to secure affordable workspaces

It is no secret that in London – and in other global cities like San Francisco – a shortage of affordable studios, rising rents and the insecurity of short-term leases threatens the future of the capital’s creative workforce and artist community.

This is exactly why we need to act now, and why last week we marked the launch of the Creative Land Trust, a new independent Trust bringing together public, philanthropic and social investment funds to support affordable creative workspaces for artists.

Supported by the Mayor of London, Arts Council England, Outset Contemporary Art Fund and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Trust aims to secure 1,000 affordable workspaces in the first five years.

Speaking at the event, Sir Nicholas Serota, Arts Council Chair, said: “Our country’s cities are creative powerhouses, but with success comes the threat of talent being priced out. If the UK is going to maintain its position as a world leader in creative industries, artists need to be able to find long term workspace where they can experiment, innovate, and produce.”

“We’re proud to be working together with the Mayor of London, Outset Contemporary Art Fund and Bloomberg to develop an idea that could transform the lives of creative individuals whose presence brings vitality to our cities. We and the Creative Land Trust would welcome the chance to work with other cities across the country where similar challenges threaten creativity.”

Arts Council has pledged £2 million in funding to provide seed funding towards a large scale fund, which is modelled on an approach already having an impact in San Francisco.

A shortage of affordable workspaces, rising rents and the insecurity of short-term leases threaten the future of the capital’s creative workforce and artist community. Yet the creative industries contribute £47bn per year to the economy and account for one in six jobs in London.

This funding will enable three models of securing property – the Creative Land Trust purchasing property and leasing it to the studio providers, taking on joint ownership with a studio provider and giving the provider the option to buy back the building over time, as well as allowing the Creative Land Trust to receive properties through transfer of ownership and then leasing the space to a studio provider. The Trust’s commitment to affordable rent means the rent will be no higher than £19 per square foot (inclusive of service charges).

Following speeches by Sir Nicholas Serota and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, a panel discussed the impact of gentrification and regeneration of areas that art provides, the demand for artists spaces and how arts and creative roles are the least likely to become automated in the future.

Click here for the full press release


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