Creative Land Trust 2021 Year Review

December 21, 2021

We look back at all we’ve achieved this year.

As part of our final Team Day of 2021 Creative Land Trust held a session on achievements and lessons learnt. It has been a busy year and looking back, despite spending half of it in lockdown, we are proud of the progress we made. 

January – We launched the year by issuing our Social Impact Statement and 5 Year Strategy. 

At the heart of our work is our ability to generate social value and community wealth through the impact of creativity and culture. In January 2021 we published our Social Outcomes, directly linked to our mission and central to our business plan and strategy. You can find them both here. 

February – We looked at the impact of the Creative Workspace Resilience Fund six months on. 

We followed up with recipients of Creative Workspace Resilience Fund aid to assess the impact of the Mayor of London’s support for the creative sector. With pandemic restrictions lasting longer than originally anticipated we looked at the ongoing issues facing studios for artists and makers, reporting our findings to the Greater London Authority and Bloomberg Philanthropies, who funded the emergency intervention. 

March – We announced the acquisition of our first studios. 

We were proud to announce the acquisition of Stone Studios, delivering up to 180 studios for artists and other creative practitioners. The Telford Homes development in Hackney Wick was under construction at this point and set to be completed and handed over later in the year. Stone Studios was the first step towards our goal of securing 1000 affordable workspaces for London’s artists and makers.  

April – We invited studio providers to tender for Blocks B & D, Stone Studios. 

After designing an application process the team invited expert studio providers to apply to take a lease on Blocks B and D at Stone Studios. Applicants were asked to outline how they intend to operate and let out the space, while locking in end-user affordability and committing to equality, diversity, sustainability, and community value. 

We were also delighted to announce that Cell Studios & Projects would return to their former site, having been appointed to run the affordable workspace in Block A. 

June – We commissioned a viability study for Creative Land Trust’s second location. 

Thanks to funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund, expert conservation architects Purcell conducted a preliminary study of the North and South Blocks and courtyard at Alice Billings House, Newham. Their report established the viability of a potential refurbishment and reuse project, including initial designs, a cost plan and key considerations for inclusive access. 

July – We announced plans for the refurbishment of Alice Billings House. 

With a funding boost from Newham Council and GLA’s High Streets for All challenge, we were proud to announce we had been selected to convert Grade II listed Alice Billings House into 30 studios.  

The space will be let to creatives in the visual, performance and digital arts, designers and craftspeople, at affordable rents. The building will also host exhibitions and events, residencies, and workshop sessions. 

August – The team visited the ArtULTRA exhibition. 

Artist Trustee Emmanuel Unaji and artist Matilde Merli took part in a residency that resulted in a collection of works using mixed media to create an engaging and thought-provoking exhibition at The Hari Hotel in London.  

The display acted as an example of how we can step outside the classic gallery and find unexpected opportunities in the city for artists to engage with the public, activating space that might otherwise be unused.  

September – We unveiled our research on the impact of creative workspace on local residential property. 

We launched Creative Places Create Value, a research paper commissioned in partnership with Get Living and Creative Estuary, with research from Hawkins\Brown, Dataloft and Ramidus. The report proves that creative workspaces add significant financial value to residential developments and act as good neighbours and reliable tenants.  

October – FRIEZE ART London 2021.  

The team met up at Frieze to explore its extensive programme of museum, gallery and partner events. It was a joy to see the city come alive with art and creativity and underlined how important it is for us to ensure artists and creatives are able to continue working in London. 

November – We were awarded £100,000 for refurbishment of Alice Billings House. 

Architectural Heritage Fund awarded us £100,000 towards the refurbishment of Alice Billings House, giving it a new purpose that serves the local Newham community, and beginning the process of removing it from the Heritage At Risk register. Refurbishment of the North and South blocks will create 30 studio spaces, creating a new focal point for creative activity with facilities like a café offer and gallery space, and building on the culture-led regeneration of Stratford. 

December –  We announced the handover of Stone Studios and additional funding for Alice Billings House from Newham Council. 

As the year draws to a close we are pleased to announce the completion of construction at Stone Studios, which has been handed over to us ready to begin fit-out of the interiors in the New Year. 

In addition to this, we received the confirmation of additional financial support from Newham for the regeneration of Alice Billings House, with the first phase of restoration starting at the beginning of year. 

As we look back on all we’ve achieved this year and how it prepared us for an exciting 2022, we’d like to thank our friends and supporters for helping us to make space for art. A particular thank you to our founding funders for their ongoing support, and our many new partners.