Union of Kingston Students & Studio KT1, powered by students at Kingston School of Art and Business School have a big idea: use a neutral space in Kingston to open up their talent pool and give people the chance to see creativity in action with maker spaces, student work on show and for sale, student-delivered services (SME advice), exhibitions, talks, workshops and workspaces.
It will be a professionally-designed concept that will help the community reimagine retail space, becoming a model for change in how Kingston residents use their town centre. The space will initially open April - August 2021, and host a lively programme of events curated by the students and recent graduates of Kingston University, all open to the public.
Work from students and graduates will be showcased, as well as partner organisations who may want to exhibit or showcase their talents, or simply book a quiet space to work in. We believe this is the future of Kingston and can help re-invigorate the town.
What we'll deliver:
- Community creative workshops and business advice
- Space for meeting use/ local business hire/ gallery
- Inspiration for locals to get involved and encouragement of skills sharing
- Talks, debates and events open to the public
- An opportunity for young creatives to sell their artwork, products and services
- Employment opportunities
Why it's a great idea:
This project will help to define the changing face of the high street, making use of one of the many shops left empty, whilst creating a legacy and space for Kingston students in the town centre.
We'll provide a lively space with opportunities for those who may not have access to materials, support, creativity or technology such as not in education or employment, or individuals from low socio-economic backgrounds. Bringing a sense of community and belonging to all Kingston residents.
Our programme of events will connect student talent with Kingston residents. Students will get the opportunity to showcase their work and sell to visitors, providing professional experience for young people.
We will run workshops and inspiring talks to ignite locals imagination, and offer support for local businesses/ community groups interested in creative content and digital support - an informal way of encouraging knowledge exchange.
Pioneer a new model in the town to support new generations.
Steps to get it done:
- Agreement of move in date - Feb
- Agree job descriptions of employees - Feb
- Recruitment of workshop facilitators/ products - Feb
- Sign off on naming and identity of the space - Feb
- Fit out of shop led by students begins - March to April
- Marketing and promotional campaigns launch - March
- Shop opens to the public - April 16th
- Workshops begin - May (digitally from the venue if restrictions are in place)
- Rolling exhibitions begin - June to August (digitally from the venue if restrictions are in place)
- Events programme begins - June to August (digitally from the venue if restrictions are in place)
- Agree a move on space - July to August
- Vacate Fife Road and move into a new vacant space in Kingston town centre - September
- Online workshops and training for students creating/ selling artwork and products (starting in March)
This venture would show Kingston as a forward-thinking borough by transforming an unused space into an activated, lively destination. We'd offer an independent retail, work and event space that can act as a model for other community groups interested in operating a meanwhile space.
The concept would support local businesses and community groups and help them access young student talent more easily. We aim to break down barriers between the students and the community, showcasing their talent and opening up opportunities.
We have done research in other towns & cities, taking inspiration from Glasgow (Saltspace) , Southampton (Re:So), Margate (The Centre), Croydon (FMM Pop Up/ Turf Projects/ CAS) and UAL (Not just a shop, MadeInArts) and LCC. These initiatives reactivated vacant units with the input and creativity of young people, students and graduates. In September, this space will be developed, but RBK have suggested it could move to another council-owned space or vacant unit.