Re-vitalising the disused Brent Lodge Park stables, StableSpace would be run as a non-profit Community Interest Company, operating as an events venue, gathering place and cultural destination. It would be run by two staff, using similar London-based enterprises Cafe Oto, Pumphouse Gallery, Gasworks, The Invisible Dot and Open School East as its models. The space would be low-spec (i.e. no special facilities) and offer a programme that is low-cost, social, affordable, intangible, direct, simple and responsible to the community. It would also be artistically ambitious, and would include foreign film screenings, spoken word nights, local history walks, mental health seminars, 'dancing for cheats', family days, beer tasting classes, a playback room, mentoring, folk theatre, unconferences, kite-making, unusual book clubs, concerts and much else. The location at the heart of the Bunny Park will be an integral part of the programme and a series of 'Summer Nights' events will be held.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
1) General lack of innovative cultural hubs in West London, compared to South/East London, where there are many independently run arts spaces. There is no reason something like Cafe Oto couldn't work in Hanwell, or a venue promoting contemporary art, theatre or poetry.
2) StableSpace is more than a community centre. While there will still be emphasis on traditional civic activities (food banks, citizens advice surgeries, yoga), this will go alongside a highly progressive and financially self-supporting creative programme that will aspire to create something fresh, critical and enlightening that makes a difference to people's lives.
3) Arts are suffering from severe public funding cuts, and arts education is increasingly pushed out of institutions. StableSpace will be a valuable advocate for civic arts and how they improve communities & promote democratic transformation.
4) Migration of creatives to West London due to 'artwashing'
5) Crossrail opening up access to Hanwell by 2018
Steps to get it done:
Some personal background: I currently work as a freelance arts producer and organiser. At the moment I create courses and run events for The Poetry School, part of the Arts Council's NPO and the UK's largest provider of poetry education and artistic development, with a strong interest in increasing access to arts education. I've also worked for 3 years at the Serpentine Gallery, working with their Online and Public Programme, so I have a lot of relevant experience running an arts company in the middle of a park, which brings very particular opportunities and limitations. I've also considerable experience as a web editor/designer and project manager for digital projects.
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