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Reflections on the Creative Workspace Summit by Naomi Eaton-Baudains

13th May 2018

The Creative Workspace Summit took place in Great Yarmouth on 20 April, and was hosted by originalprojects, on behalf of East CVAN. CVAN SE sent Platform Alumni Artists Naomi Eaton-Baudains and Steve Moberly along to the summit. The artists share their thoughts – Naomi below and Steve here.

How can towns create spaces and opportunities for artists to work effectively and how do we ensure that creativity is sustained? This was the question which artists, project managers, creatives and planners gathered in Yarmouth in April to discuss.

Speakers from across the country and many creative sectors presented case studies and learnings, from which several strong themes emerged:

Making artists’ spaces sustainable
Studios need to be affordable for creatives. HAT Projects, architects who work in partnership with Acme Studios, and who have 40 years of experience working with artists spoke about their achievements in creating studios that are not just functional but also affordable.

The importance of social hubs
Artists’ studios and residencies, which include a social hub, seem to be where artists interact and conversations occur allowing the seeds of ideas to be grown. Anything – from a simple kitchen table brainstorm to an intellectual dining experience to open a show – can bring about innovation and collaboration.

The ‘Yes’ mentality
A collaborative spirit certainly contributes to the success of creative towns. Author, and keynote speaker, Charles Landry suggested that this outlook can be promoted by moving from a ‘no because’ to a ‘yes if’ culture.

Creative studios and the wider community
Really successful projects are those that acknowledge that the studio space is just the beginning and encourage the art to expand from the studio and into the community.

When we promote interaction between artists and public, the ripple effect from creative spaces at the heart of the community can spread far and wide. Success stories discussed included Folkestone Triennial, where artworks are placed within the town for the community, and Southend’s Twenty One where performances and events take place.

The majority of artists need their creative spaces, but perhaps even more importantly is how these spaces allow the artists’ influence to spread throughout the community. Our creative spaces and studios should transcend the utilitarian, becoming what Landry called “the third space”, between work and home; an inspirational place where creativity and positivity flourish, where the fantastical can become reality.

Naomi Eaton-Baudains, May 2018

Image: Preperations for Folkstone Power Plant by the Urbonas for the Folkestone Triennial 2017. A public artwork placed in an urban setting. Photo: Naomi Eaton-Baudains.

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