The Barbican and workspace innovators The Trampery have joined forces to create Fish Island Labs, a unique new centre to kickstart the careers of a new generation of emerging talent whose work spans technology and the arts.
Based in a Victorian warehouse by the River Lea, in the shadow of the Olympic stadium, the building will be home to a diverse community of around 50 emerging practitioners who are pushing creative boundaries and using new technologies. Over a period of 10 months this community will develop cutting-edge new work, covering everything from sculpture, installations and physical performance to coding, film editing and digital art. An open call for practitioners interested in applying to be part of the Fish Island Labs community can be found here.
Fish Island Labs takes inspiration from the incubation model used in the technology world and will provide extensive support for everyone who takes part in the programme. This will include talks and one-to-one mentoring from established figures from across the arts, technology and business worlds as well as workshops on issues such as intellectual property, social media and crowdfunding. There will also be regular onsite showcases and opportunities for participants to present their work at the Barbican.
The Barbican will also run regular Creative Learning workshops and projects at the lab for young, emerging and mid-career artists. These include workshops for young people aged 14-25, social events and seminars offering practical advice for artists in areas including fundraising, entrepreneurship and social engagement and the annual Curious Festival which brings together students from Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Central Saint Martins with young East Londoners.
Sean Gregory, Director of Creative Learning at the Barbican said: “Fish Island Labs continues the Barbican’s commitment to investing in the next generation of creative artists, as well as in our long history of programming work in our Centre’s neighbouring east London boroughs. Building on last year’s successful Hack the Barbican takeover these Labs explore the increasingly blurred lines between the arts and technology, highlighting how successful models from the tech world can be applied to developing skills, talent and new ideas in the arts.”
Bursaries will be available to a number of applicants to ensure the project attracts practitioners from the widest possible range of backgrounds while 15 of the places will be prioritised for people currently living or working in Hackney Wick or Fish Island.
The City of London Corporation, the Barbican’s founder and principal funder, will be publishing on Wednesday a thought paper exploring the landscape of cultural innovation and entrepreneurship. The paper highlights London as a leading hub for culture, technology and entrepreneurship, and new ways of working that are emerging across these sectors. The paper will be available from the City of London Economic Research webpage.