Battersea Arts Centre, which was badly damaged in a fire in March 2015, will include a £1m incubator for start-up and early-stage creative businesses when it is restored
Designed by Stirling Prize winning architects, Haworth Tompkins, the new hub, which will open in 2018, will be dedicated to nurturing Wandsworth’s many creative business start-ups. The project has been awarded a £538,000 grant from the Mayor’s London Regeneration Fund, which will be match funded by Battersea Arts Centre (BAC). The arts centre is currently preparing to rebuild the Grand Hall of its Lavender Hill home after a major fire last year.
‘The London Regeneration Fund will enable Battersea Arts Centre to build on existing programmes such as The Agency and Agents of Creativity to develop an exciting new hub for the creative industries in Wandsworth,’ said BAC Artistic Director and CEO David Jubb.
‘Cultural spaces such as Battersea Arts Centre, which are shared by artists, entrepreneurs and freelancers, are the ideal environment for innovation to thrive. We will curate the hub so that it has a direct benefit to local young people living around Clapham Junction to kick-start their own ideas with BAC’s support.’
‘The regeneration of Nine Elms, north Battersea, is also fuelling the local arts and design scene,’ added Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, ‘with new developments providing a range of cultural attractions and studio space as part of an area-wide cultural strategy. This includes low-cost incubator units for creative start-ups, which will be part of Phase 4a of Battersea Power Station’s masterplan.’
The new creative industries hub will provide flexible work space – including an open studio, a private office suite and a workshop – as well as a range of professional advice services, including business support programmes, run in partnership with Wandsworth Council.
Each small enterprise or freelancer using the facility will be required to offer two hours of their time and skills per month to support the growth and development of other hub members. They will also be asked to contribute to other local initiatives designed to boost Wandsworth’s thriving creative sector.
The BAC announcement comes shortly after the Royal College of Art revealed plans to build another new facility for creative sector postgraduate students and entrepreneurs in north Battersea. Other big names in the area’s growing creative cluster include Pump House Gallery, Vivienne Westwood Studio, Foster and Partners, the Royal Academy of Dance, Theatre 503 and Will Alsop All Design.
According to Government figures, creative industries grew by 8.9% in 2014, making it the second fastest growing sector in the UK economy behind construction.