studios

Grand Union

about: 

Grand Union is a gallery and studios located in Digbeth, Birmingham’s cultural quarter.

We support the development of artists and curators through the provision of high quality workspaces and an ambitious programme of free exhibitions, talks and events.

Run by a small group of artists and curators, Grand Union is part of a growing artistic community with the production of new art and ideas at its heart.

Founders:
Helen Brown, Ian England, Joanna Essen, Mark Essen, Reuben Henry, Cheryl Jones, Harminder Judge, Karin Kihlberg, Feng-Ru Lee, Charlie Levine,
Alexandra Lockett, David Miller, David Thomas, Matt Westbrook, Stuart Whipps

how is/was it run/structured ?: 

what is/was it's legal status ?: 

  • community interest company

how is/was it funded ?: 

address: 

Minerva Works
158 Fazeley St
B5 5RS Birmingham 52° 28' 44.7456" N, 1° 52' 58.5516" W
GB

usage: 

number of studios: 

number of exhibition/project spaces: 

types of studios: 

  • private

established: 

2010

last known status of the project: 

last known status of the site: 

Acme Studios: Devons Road

David Panton and Jonathan Harvey outside 117 Devons Road, E3 one of the first two Acme houses and first office. Photo: Claire Smith (1974)

about: 

The first properties to be managed by Acme Studios were 105 and 117 Devons Road in Bow, E3, in the heart of London’s East End. These redundant and semi-derelict Victorian shops, licensed to Acme in 1973 by the Greater London Council (for 21 months), marked the beginnings of an organisation which would become the largest provider of working and living space for artists in the United Kingdom. As part of the licence artists were required to carry out extensive repairs in exchange for very low rents (£3 per week) and agreement to hand properties back when required for demolition.

from: 'Artists in East London'
online available at: www.acme.org.uk/download.php?pdf=149
(accessed September 2013)

'Groundbreaking times: the first ten years of Acme' - Jonathan Harvey

Setting up Acme Studios in 1972 was driven by necessity. As a group of recent graduates coming out of Reading University Fine Art Department, it was about thinking: ‘We have to get to London, London is where it’s happening. How on earth does one afford to have a space to live and work there?’

At that time, there were a lot of boarded-up, unused premises in east London – one or two of our contemporaries had made approaches to the Greater London Council (GLC) and had successfully negotiated an odd shop here or an old house there. This alerted us to the possibility and we went direct to the GLC and said: ‘Look, there’s all this empty property that’s just sitting there unused.’ Much of it was destined for major housing redevelopment which was delayed because of the economic down-turn. The GLC responded: ‘Well, you’ve got two alternatives, one is to squat, but we’ll get you out, and the other is to go away and form a housing association.'

It took seven people and ten pounds each to register as a charitable housing association. The GLC transferred two properties in Bow on Devons Road – I had one and my co-founder David Panton had the other. Each had a 21-month life, no utilities, and were in appalling condition, but when you’ve got no money and there’s a lot of space – even though it was short term – we made very good use of them.

I think the GLC was impressed by how quickly we were able to put the properties back into use, so it started to transfer more. We needed five houses for the seven founder members, but when we were offered more and more property, we said: ‘We know so many artists that could benefit from this.’

There was no intention to start an organisation – we sort of stumbled into it – but within a year we were managing about 90 houses and realised this was becoming more than a full-time job. There is still a huge challenge to be able to live in London and practice as an artist. Affording somewhere to live is challenging enough, but then to have somewhere to work – that challenge, or demand, has never gone away. (...)

from: 'Groundbreaking times: the first ten years of Acme'
online available at: www.new.a-n.co.uk/news/single/groundbreaking-times-the-first-ten-years-o...
(accessed September 2013)

how is/was it run/structured ?: 

what is/was it's legal status ?: 

  • charity

how is/was it funded ?: 

history of the site: 

Devons Road:
Earlier called Bromley Lane, the road may have gained its present name from former landowner Thomas Devon. Like most of Bromley-​​by-​​Bow, this area began to fill with warehouses and working-​​class housing from the 1820s and became progressively poorer and more overcrowded as the 19th century wore on. Using funds generated by the sale of the City church of All Hallows Staining, the Grocers’ Company paid for the construction of All Hallows Bow in 1873–4. The church was wrecked by a bomb during the Blitz and was afterwards rebuilt in a style inspired by Early Christian archi­tecture, utilising surviving parts of the original core. The interior has since been subdivided to introduce a multi-​​functional hall. Municipal slum clearance and flat-​​building trans­formed the vicinity of Devons Road over the course of the 20th century – without signi­ficantly improving its aesthetics – but a handful of Victorian structures have survived. Spratt’s Warehouse, beside the railway track in Violet Road, is regarded as one of Britain’s finest industrial buildings. Built in 1899 to make and store pet food and biscuits, it has now been converted into flats and offices.

from: 'Devons Road, Tower Hamlets'
online available at: www.hidden-london.com/gazetteer/devons-road/
(accessed September 2013)

address: 

105 + 117 Devons Road
E3 3QX London 51° 31' 15.5964" N, 0° 1' 9.1524" W
GB

usage: 

previous usage of the site: 

number of studios: 

types of studios: 

  • private

established: 

1973

vacated: 

1975

last known status of the project: 

last known status of the site: 

The Old Police Station

The Old Police Station front door and logo, temporarycontemporary

about: 

The Old Police Station is an open-ended curatorial proposal. Started in Feb 2009, the 'do-it-yourself art centre' is an occupational infrastructure, an experimental model both as a architectural support structure but also economically. Sustained by studio rental income, it does not receive core funding. It is a charitable social hub for an emerging location exploring and broadcasting artistic concepts of all kinds, encouraging participation in all media. The project is created by Anthony Gross, from the curatorial partnership temporarycontemporary (www.tempcontemp.co.uk) that ultimately explored the idea of exhibition as Social Club. The 'do-it-yourself' art centre concept is intended by Gross as a nomadic approach that can be applied to different contexts.
The building is occupied by the studio charity reg 1123395 that has been providing artist studios since 2006.

how is/was it run/structured ?: 

what is/was it's legal status ?: 

  • charity

how is/was it funded ?: 

address: 

The Old Police Station - Artist studios and exhibition spaces
114 Amersham Vale New Cross
SE14 6LG London 51° 28' 45.8724" N, 0° 1' 55.3152" W
GB

usage: 

previous usage of the site: 

number of studios: 

types of studios: 

  • private

established: 

2009

last known status of the project: 

last known status of the site: 

Dilston Studio

Dilston Grove, Concrete Quarterly, 1974, Church into Studio (photo: Trevor Jones)

about: 

Dilston Grove, the name of a sleepy back road in the southwest corner of Southwark Park, London SE16 also marks the focal point at one end of the street, a building of concrete construction built and blessed as Clare College Mission Church in 1911. The iconic cross, perched on the roof, denotes the building's former use; its continued presence maintains a symbolic reference to its role as a sanctuary for an ever changing flock.

The history and meaning of the building was reshaped in 1969 by a group of artists, graduates from the Royal College of Art, who shared the inner sanctuary as a studio/workshop. With the metamorphosis of ‘church into studio’ came the renaming of the building to Dilston Studio. The interior became a lofty, empty, rectangular shell, an open work space for several artists though ‘there are a few clues as to its previous use - a raised area at the north end where the altar used to be, a balcony where the organist once sat....’

In 1978 the local authority had other plans for the building and the artists vacated. For the following twenty-one years the future of Dilston Studio remained in the balance; pigeons took vacant possession. In 1999 the Bermondsey Artists' Group resumed the artistic link with the 70s securing a short lease from Southwark Council for the Café Gallery. Dilston Studio has now become known as Dilston Grove.

from: 'Artists in East London'
online available at: www.acme.org.uk/download.php?pdf=149
(accessed September 2013)

how is/was it run/structured ?: 

what is/was it's legal status ?: 

  • unincorporated organisation

how is/was it funded ?: 

history of the site: 

Dilston Grove is the former Clare College Mission Church on the Southwest corner of Southwark Park and is Grade II listed. Designed by architects Sir John Simpson and Maxwell Ayrton, it was built in 1911 and is one of the earliest examples of poured concrete construction.

address: 

Southwark Park Abbeyfield Rd
SE16 London 51° 29' 30.4836" N, 0° 3' 15.8724" W
GB

usage: 

previous usage of the site: 

number of studios: 

types of studios: 

  • open plan, private

established: 

1969

vacated: 

1978

last known status of the project: 

last known status of the site: 

Space: I Site

Space Leaflet 1973

about: 

In 1968 the artists Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley, in search of suitable studio spaces for themselves, seized an opportunity to occupy the ‘Ivory Warehouse’ (known as the ‘I’ Site) in St Katharine Dock, near Tower Bridge, E1. (St Katharine Dock had then been taken over from The Port of London Authority by the Greater London Council.)

In need of support, Riley and Sedgely invited a number of enthusiastic people from diverse backgrounds to create a body of Trustees who all had an active interest in the arts: Tony West, Professor of Law at the University of Reading’s Faculty of Urban & Regional Studies; Irene Worth, an actress, ‘passionately’ interested in the arts; Maurice de Sausmarez, Principal of the Byam Shaw School of Art and Peter Townsend, editor of Studio International. After some initial investigations at the Ministry of Housing and Local Government Professor West had deduced that no provision had been made for artists' studios in London describing this as a paradox: ‘...London is, in a way, the centre of the art world but the artists just cannot find a space to work. We want artists, we need them but, they are left to find their own solution...

The enthusiastic group formed ‘Space Provision, Artistic, Cultural and Educational Ltd., S.P.A.C.E. Ltd'. (abbreviated to S.P.A.C.E.) which was non-profit making. It successfully negotiated a two year lease at low rental for the ‘I’ Site from the GLC.
A friend and supporter of the project, Sir Henry Moore, recalls visiting the site with Riley to assess its suitability as a conducive space for artists to work in: 'The building I was taken into had been derelict since the last war. It had a remarkably, romantic feeling about it.’ Archer suggests that '...the range of this support indicates that the venture was, from the very first, identified as a good thing not only within the narrow confines of the art world, but also for the cultural and economic well-being of the community at large'.

from: 'Artists in East London'
online available at: www.acme.org.uk/download.php?pdf=149
(accessed September 2013)

how is/was it run/structured ?: 

what is/was it's legal status ?: 

  • charity

how is/was it funded ?: 

history of the site: 

St Katharine Docks, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, were one of the commercial docks serving London, on the north side of the river Thames just east (downstream) of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. They were part of the Port of London, in the area now known as the Docklands, and are now a popular housing and leisure complex.

St Katharine Docks took their name from the former hospital of St Katharine's by the Tower, built in the 12th century, which stood on the site. An intensely built-up 23 acre (9.5 hectares) site was earmarked for redevelopment by an Act of Parliament in 1825, with construction commencing in May 1827. Some 1250 houses were demolished, together with the medieval hospital of St. Katharine. Around 11,300 inhabitants, mostly port workers crammed into insanitary slums, lost their homes; only property owners received compensation. (...)

The docks were officially opened on 25 October 1828. Although well used, they were not a great commercial success and were unable to accommodate large ships. (...)
The St Katharine Docks were badly damaged by German bombing during the Second World War and never fully recovered thereafter. (...)

Most of the original warehouses were demolished and replaced by modern commercial buildings in the early 1970s, with the docks themselves becoming a marina. The development has often been cited as a model example of successful urban redevelopment. (...)

The area now features offices, public and private housing, a large hotel, shops and restaurants, a pub (The Dickens Inn, a former brewery dating back to the 18th century), a yachting marina and other recreational facilities. (...)

from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Katharine_Docks

address: 

Ivory Warehouse, St. Katherine Docks
50 Saint Katharine's Way
E1W 1LA London 51° 30' 23.4612" N, 0° 4' 18.678" W
GB

total size in sqm/sqft: 

usage: 

previous usage of the site: 

number of studios: 

types of studios: 

  • open plan, private

established: 

1968

vacated: 

1970

last known status of the project: 

last known status of the site: 

Butler's Wharf

Fire at Butler's Wharf, 1979 (photo: Fran Cottell)

about: 

Butler's Wharf was a former riverside warehouse dating from the late 19th century, within the complex of streets and buildings immediately south and east of Tower Bridge.

In the early 1970's many of the buildings in that area had been cheaply purchased by property speculators with a view to re-development. In London at that time, many housing associations and cooperatives were being formed to negotiate cheap rents for derelict properties in the interim period before demolition or redevelopment took place. Many artists lived
and worked under these kinds of arrangements, and it was a group of friends who had met while at art college in the Isle of Man and Brighton who together rented a floor of Block 2B, Butlers Wharf in late 1975, later joined by recent art graduates from Newcastle, Leeds and Maidstone.

From 1975-78, the artists' space at 2B Butler's Wharf was a key venue for early UK video art and performance art, used among others by Derek Jarman and the artists and dancers who subsequently founded Chisenhale Studios and Chisenhale Dance Space, including Philip Jeck.

how is/was it run/structured ?: 

what is/was it's legal status ?: 

  • other

how is/was it funded ?: 

history of the site: 

Butler's Wharf was built between 1871-73 as a shipping wharf and warehouse complex, to store tea, spices and other imported goods unloaded from ships using the port of London. It contained one of the largest tea warehouse in the world. In 1971, following the relocation of the docks further east and the rise of containerisation, Butler's Wharf and other warehouses in the area fell into disuse.

From 1984, Butler's Wharf has been redeveloped by Conran Roche into luxury flats, with restaurants and shops on the ground floor.
Butler's Wharf is Grade II listed.

exhibitions, events, workshops: 

Exhibitions and events at 2B Butler's Wharf:
The first person to put on a publicized live performance at 2B was Kevin Atherton in November 1975.
In May 1976, regular Saturday evening shows began with presentations by members of the original group, quickly extended to shows by close associates and then opened to all artists wishing to use the space for presentations of their time-based work. In eighty shows over two and a half years, thirty involved film projection, a dozen used video, a further dozen were sound pieces; several used light as a primary element, some were pure performance art, while many used combinations of different media.
By May 1978 when the building was closed down by the developers, there had been over 80 shows by more than 60 artists.
online available at: http://www.studycollection.co.uk/2B/events.html
(accessed September 2013)

bibliography: 

Critical Writing in Art & Design (2013), After Butler's Wharf: Essays on a Working Building, London: Royal College of Art (ISBN: 978-1-907342-71-4)

address: 

Shad Thames
SE1 London 51° 30' 13.23" N, 0° 4' 24.7476" W
GB

total size in sqm/sqft: 

usage: 

previous usage of the site: 

number of studios: 

types of studios: 

  • private

established: 

1971

vacated: 

1980

last known status of the project: 

last known status of the site: 

The Woodmill GP

The Woodmill GP (photo: Michael Heilgemeir)

about: 

"(...) The first part of this organisation’s name comes from its previous location – the Woodmill building, rundown former council offices in Bermondsey, southeast London, that, from 2009 to 2011, was home to a hundred artists, designers and filmmakers. (...)

During a short period of itinerancy, enforced by the end of the tenancy, the six original studio holders – Naomi Pearce, Stuart Middleton, Anna Baker, Angharad E. P. Williams, Richard Sides and Alastair Frazer – in liaison with their newly founded board of trustees spent many hours working out what the Woodmill should be (as well as searching for a new location – no former primary school, warehouse or empty retail unit was left unturned). The upshot of this was a decision to build the idea of constant flux into the organisation’s character. This resolution was not just a pragmatic one, but also one that resonated with the Woodmill’s desire for perpetual reinvention, for avoiding its own establishment and for eschewing any desire to become an institution with permanent footings. Happily ensconced, for now, in a former doctor’s surgery (which supplies the ‘GP’ part of the new name: ‘general practice’) – in which the old waiting room doubles as a shared studio and temporary exhibition and screening space (dinners, gigs and workshops are on the cards), with each of the doctor’s offices becoming private work digs, including a gratis residency studio – the Woodmill will move on again after one year. And it will voluntarily repeat this annual migration for the foreseeable future. Each time it moves, the Woodmill will evolve: it may become more popular; it will engage with more people; it may get written about more; the gallery footfall may increase; the space it occupies may be larger; it may move somewhere smaller. But by the nature of its instability, it won’t put down roots. It won’t be forced into an upward trajectory. Which, in a world dominated by the socioeconomic buzzwords of ‘growth’ and ‘development’, where artists are categorised as failures if they don’t move from the ‘emerging’ label to ‘midcareer’ or ‘established’, is a pretty grand ideal."

Oliver Basciano (2012), "Off-Space no 9: The Woodmill, London - Entering the Establishment"
online available at: http://artreview.com/features/off_space_no_9_woodmill_london/
(accessed 13 Sep 2013)

how is/was it run/structured ?: 

what is/was it's legal status ?: 

  • charity

how is/was it funded ?: 

history of the site: 

Local GP Surgery

exhibitions, events, workshops: 

'Medulla Oblongata' - Ilja Karilampi (commission)
11.2013- 02.2014

'Boiled Angel' - 18.10.13 - 08.12.13
Artists: Michael Bell-Smith, Max Maslansky, Louise Sartor, Ariana Reines, Mike Diana

'Wendel! Open Your Door', @ Cafe Gallery Projects + Southwark Park, 06.07.2013 – 28.07.2013
artists: Sol Archer, Anna Bunting-Branch, Cindie Cheung, Will Cenci, Beth Collar, Annie Davey, Chris Fite-Wassilak, Alastair Frazer, Patrick Goddard, Anna Gritz, Charmian Griffin, Dean Kenning, Una Knox, Lawrence Leaman, Daniel Lichtman, Will May-Robinson, Stuart Middleton, Laura Oldfield Ford, Naomi Pearce, Sam Porritt, Richard Sides, Frances Scott, Christopher M. Smith, Jennifer Teets, Simon Werner, Angharad E.P Williams

'Robert Crosse: Home Advantage', Screening @ Millwall FC, The Den: 27.04.2013

'Residency #4: Martin Groß', Exhibition + Screening: 11.06.2013
artists: Martin Groß + Emily Richardson with Jonathan P Watts

'Residency #3: Daniel Lichtman / Public Access Television Within a World Systems Pattern of Understanding', Lecture event @ City Business Centre: 27.02.13

'Residency #2: Beth Collar - Ancient Britain', 14.11.2012 – 14.12.2012

'Dickens Dinner': 08.12.2012
Dinner time event by The Woodmill with invited contributions: Lucy Beech & Edward Thomasson, Ben Burgis, Adam Christensen, Beth Collar, Dave Green, Rafael Hefti

'Nobody Ordered Wolves - Screening Series', 22.10.2012 – 03.12.2012

'General Practice', 06.10.2012 – 14.10.2012
artists: Anna Baker, Cindie Cheung, Ben Connors, Annie Davey, Renaud Jerez, Michael Robert Johnstone, Una Knox, Stuart Middleton, Frances Scott, Richard Sides, Simon Werner, Angharad E P Williams and invited guests.

address: 

6-8 Drummond Road Bermondsey
SE16 4BU London 51° 29' 51.6552" N, 0° 3' 43.344" W
GB

total size in sqm/sqft: 

usage: 

previous usage of the site: 

number of studios: 

number of exhibition/project spaces: 

types of studios: 

  • open plan, private

types of workshops: 

established: 

2012

vacated: 

2014

last known status of the project: 

last known status of the site: 

direct follow-up/precursory project(s): 

The Woodmill

Thom O`Nions at Woodmill, Neckinger - from: Heilgemeir, M. (2013), The Nomadic Studio, Stuttgart: Edition Taube (photo: Michael Heilgemeir)

about: 

The Woodmill was initiated by a group of artists and Southwark Council’s Regeneration department, with support from ACAVA, and occupied a series of ex–council buildings, including a 40,000 sqft office block, an industrial hangar space built in 1901, as well as a set of residential flats inhabited by 20 of the 100 studio artists, from 2009 – 2011.

Over the course of 18 months the Woodmill hosted 14 main public exhibitions, 33 events and some 40 project exhibitions created by studio artists. More than 150 artists from 15 countries were invited to realise projects that were seen by over 6,000 visitors.

In October 2012 The Woodmill relocated to nearby Drummond Road, Bermondsey SE16 and re-opened as 'The Woodmill GP'

how is/was it run/structured ?: 

what is/was it's legal status ?: 

  • unincorporated organisation

how is/was it funded ?: 

history of the site: 

"... Previously the site of a large tannery, the (Neckinger) Depot’s infamous ‘sharp stink’ of Bermondsey’s other prolific industry was replaced in the early 20th Century with civic buildings and storage. By 2009, the Woodmill; a 40,000 sq ft tin can with inadequate utility systems and outdated interior design had become economically and environmentally inefficient to its owners. Although generally in sound condition, the Woodmill neither reflected the newly engineered Tooley Street offices of Southwark Council’s aspiration, nor did it belong to the identity of the Borough’s future. In worse condition, the rest of the Depot’s surrounding hangar buildings built in 1901 and previously used as a wheel wrights and bus depot, stood rotting slowly; graveyards for obsolete computer equipment, rusty office fans and mouldy lever arch files..."

from: Naomi Pearce (2010) "A Fast Event, A Slow Event", printed in Art Licks Issue 2

exhibitions, events, workshops: 

'The Woodmill S.A.G.S.', 09.04.2011 – 01.05.2011
'The Present Archive', 18.03.2011 – 27.03.2011
'Perverted Minimalism Nr. 3', 18.03.2011 – 27.03.2011
'Elephants at the Woodmill (Nicolas Party)', 11.02.2011 – 27.02.2011
'Bad History (Neil Clements)', 14.01.2011 – 13.02.2011
'Coherence & Proximity (Mark Fell)', 03.12.2010 – 19.12.2010
'Pale Blue Dot', 03.12.2010 – 19.12.2010
'Bergan Biennale II: The Next Generation', 19.11.2010 – 21.11.2010
'Man in the Dark', 08.10.2010 – 07.11.2010
'Buzz or Howl', 10.09.2010 – 26.09.2010
'Reading a Wave', 23.06.2010 – 25.07.2010
'Lucky Dip', 23.06.2010 – 18.07.2010
'Elena Bajo', 21.04.2010 – 23.05.2010
'The Devil's Necktie', 12.02.2010 – 07.03.2010

for further information see: www.woodmill.org/exhibitions

bibliography: 

Heilgemeir, M. (2013), The Nomadic Studio - Art, Life and the Colonisation of Meanwhile Space, Stuttgart: Edition Taube (ISBN: 978-3-9814518-2-5)

address: 

The Woodmill - Neckinger Depot
Neckinger
SE16 3QN London 51° 29' 47.076" N, 0° 4' 29.8812" W
GB

total size in sqm/sqft: 

usage: 

previous usage of the site: 

number of studios: 

number of workshops: 

number of exhibition/project spaces: 

types of studios: 

  • private

types of workshops: 

established: 

2009

vacated: 

2011

last known status of the project: 

last known status of the site: 

direct follow-up/precursory project(s): 

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