COMMUNITY VOICES

SHAPESLewisham

From stage design to graphic design, unlocking secret spaces is the driving force behind Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ) SHAPESLewisham.

One of only six CEZ’s in London, SHAPESLewisham is about creating artists space in the borough and helping creatives make a viable, sustainable career. Their website works as a directory and uses visual language to allow locals to search creatives by their practices, skills and techniques for a range of different sectors. 

This is the first time that Creative Enterprise Zones have been introduced to London and Lewisham is one of six boroughs to win the funding out of twenty-five who entered. The initiative aims to protect the creative sector across the capital; increase affordable spaces for artists and entrepreneurs, and boost job and training opportunities for local people. This will be achieved by having business rate reductions for creatives and making creative spaces the key to any new major developments.  

New Cross and Deptford are already a focal point for creatives but there are plans to expand these areas in October in time to showcase the many creative opportunities across the borough before the Borough of Culture bid submission.

The Second Floor Studio and Arts, which opened in Deptford in 2018, is a commercial space of 85 new-purpose built affordable studio spaces and is one of the initiatives biggest projects. The 30,000 sq. ft. workspace is located on the ground and first floor at Deptford Foundry and provides creative employment space for 160 people. The studio is being used by a wide range of artists’, craft makers and designers whose practices include ceramics, fine art, painting, leatherwork, sculpture and textiles. 

Plans were also announced in May for a new enterprise zone in New Cross. The space is to be created as part of a redevelopment of shops and will provide a focus for local businesses as well as Goldsmiths students and graduates who are eager to start their own creative business. The new hub will also provide training and advice to local entrepreneurs, with a particular focus on supporting those from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The creative sector now provides 1 in 6 jobs in London and through a series of placements, apprenticeships and internships SHAPESLewisham are paving the way for more young people to join this growing creative and digital world. 

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