Bermondsey-based creative project launched to support pandemic affected artists

A Bermondsey-based creative initi-ative have opened applications for their new project to support artists affected by the pandemic.

Seeding Space, launched by performance artist Lise Bell and visual artist Than Hussein Clark, will offer 100 bursaries to artists over the next 18 months.

Each bursary consists of one to three week access to London Performance Studio space in order to develop their creative project, as well as access to a kitchen, breakout space and a fully-equipped workshop.

Industry advice and career support, fundraising advice, and an outside eye or dramaturgical support will also be on offer.

The bursaries are open to theatre companies, community groups, and independent artists working across the performing or visual arts fields, to develop new or existing works.

Than Hussein Clark, who is a visual artist and queer theatre-maker, based in South Bermondsey, said: “We’re interested in interdisciplinary projects. We’re interested in hearing from people who have been affected by the pandemic, from communities of colour, from queer people, and from deaf and disabled people.

Than Hussein Clark

“We want to make sure we’re offering the rooms that we have access to to people who don’t already have the keys to established buildings already. And we also definitely want to be hearing from people from the visual arts world, the performing arts world and from community groups.

“We have a very open remit, people just need to show a need for space and hopefully we can serve as many members of the South London community as we can.”

The project aims to jump-start the creative process for many freelancers who have fallen between the cracks in the last 12 months.

They are also aiming to run the studio space under a social enterprise model – where the profits from commercial hires, such as for photoshoots or filming, will be used to cover the costs of the grants.

Lise Bell, a specialist in the performing arts most recently joint CEO and executive director at the Gate Theatre, said: “Drawn from our collective experience of unlearning and confinement over the last 18 months, London Performance Studios’ first initiative Seeding Space understands space as a vital and often finite resource which must be rethought and shared in order to urgently address and rebalance the needs of creative freelancers in both the visual and performing arts in the capital.

“In handing over the mic to artists over the next two years with this rolling programme of bursaries, London Performance Studios’ aim is not only to help kickstart the process of creative recovery for London’s freelancers but also to begin the process of a larger handover of creative control.

“Through a wide-ranging platform of opportunities in which the lessons of the past year, and before, might be made manifest, finally addressing the precarity faced by creative freelancers with new structures of resource and skill-sharing.

“We aim to honour their essential and central role in the creative industries.”

Main Pic: Lise Bell


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