“The support that we've received from Footwork Trust over the past 3 years has allowed Creative Wick to develop its core business offer in what have been difficult circumstances for so many people and businesses.”
William Chamberlain, Founder of Creative Wick
Creative Wick Living Labs
A non-profit Community Interest Company which has launched many successful local creative placemaking initiatives and works to preserve Hackney Wick and Fish Island as a permanent creative community.
Following the 2012 Olympics, Creative Wick set up an important local network, the CIG, to give equal access and an equal voice to residents, businesses, artists, entrepreneurs, cultural and education institutions, local authority councillors, officers, and the development sector. It has led to many of the ideas that continue to shape the local social and creative economy, such as permanent affordable workspace for artists, a Community Development Trust, a new local newspaper and many regular events.
In 2021 Creative Wick’s launched its Living Lab, to demonstrate the importance of creative and social enterprise in making places more resilient. The Living Lab brings together universities, developers, local businesses, organisations and individuals to carry out research projects and experiments. Using the local area as an evidence base and employing local people as ‘citizen scientists’, it is able to investigate the things that prevent or encourage successful regeneration and then help replicate ways of creating thriving communities.
What did we fund?
Footwork has provided Creative Wick with core funding to help secure its future. We also provided essential seed funding to develop the Living Lab idea and its first pilot research project and continue to support it.
What value did we see in this project?
Creative Wick is a well-trusted local network that enables all those active within Hackney Wick and Fish Island to have a proper say in what goes on there and to make decisions about its future. This ensures that the long-standing creative community remains central to the area’s future development. We think that this vibrant part of London’s East End has the potential to become a model of successful regeneration and an example other places will follow.
The Living Lab plays an important part in this process with its innovative, collaborative method for investigating problems and opportunities from within a place rather than from outside it. Both the concept and the results can be replicated in many other places and will help bring about positive change.
What impact has our support had?
With the support of Footwork, Creative Wick now has 3 core initiatives: The CIG network, The Wick Newspaper and the Living Lab. The funding has allowed the Living Lab to secure partners for a series of pilot research projects that seek to identify and record best practice in sustainable creative placemaking in and around Hackney Wick, Fish Island and the wider East London. Their first research project in collaboration with Loughborough University London, investigating the impact of Covid-19 on the area’s creative sector, is available to read here.