Thousands to benefit from new Shoreditch and Hoxton arts and cultural programme

A live soap opera featuring local people, a community dance spectacular and a festival of young people’s creativity are among the first inspirational ideas to win funding from a new Hackney Council fund to share the benefits of growth. 

Five arts and cultural organisations will share £90,000 from the Shoreditch and Hoxton Arts Fund – created from a levy on developers in the area to support programmes and events that celebrate arts and culture and bring different communities together.

The projects, which also include an arts exhibition in Shoreditch Library and a not-for-profit enterprise for young people to make and sell pottery at Hoxton Street Market, will engage nearly 2,000 residents, students and volunteers. 

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy
Shoreditch and Hoxton have seen huge cultural and economic investment in the last 15 years, with some of the world’s leading tech, digital and creative companies making their home here. 

But it’s vital that change benefits all of our residents, which is why this funding – which comes directly from a levy placed on new developments in the area – brings together local people and arts groups to deliver this fantastic community-led programme.

Whether it’s supporting our small businesses, skilling up our residents or bringing our communities together with cultural events like these, we’ll continue to do all we can to bridge the gap between our residents and Hackney’s growing economy.
Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy

The fund, one of the first initiatives in the Council’s Arts and Cultural Strategy, has been created by using the income from a planning levy charged on new development in Shoreditch, called Section 106 contributions. All grants must be invested in art and culture-led projects that benefit the local community, with more than £200,000 remaining to fund further projects in the next two years.

Winners include:

  • Clod Ensemble: A dance theatre programme, bringing together older residents and young people with world-class musicians and dancers, culminating in a performance at Shoreditch Town Hall

  • Hoxton Hall: Hoxton Street, a live soap opera featuring local residents and inspired by the local area, in which the audience can vote on the direction of the storyline

  • PEER: A three-part visual arts exhibition in and around Shoreditch Library over 12 months, based on interviews and sessions with the community

  • Eastside Educational Trust: A creative teacher training programme in three primary schools, ending with a public art installation and festival showcasing young people’s work next year

  • Create London: A new not-for-profit enterprise delivering workshops with local young people and producing terracotta gardenware, to be sold in Hoxton Street Market and elsewhere

Hackney has long been the creative heart of London, and Shoreditch and Hoxton have a rich cultural heritage from fine art and live performance to architecture and fashion to digital media and creative tech. These areas have experienced great change in recent years as new developments and new businesses arrive in the area.

The Council is determined to use all of its powers, land and influence to ensure that these changes create opportunities for all of the area’s residents and businesses. 

For more information on the Shoreditch and Hoxton Arts Fund and the Council’s cultural work, visit the Culture page

PEER and Shoreditch Library are honoured and excited to have the opportunity to deliver this ambitious 12-month partnership project. 

We will invite Hoxton and Shoreditch residents to experience and take part in a range of participatory activities, workshops and exhibitions that explore creativity and wellbeing across the visual arts and spoken and written language.
Ingrid Swenson, Director of PEER

The winning projects

The winners from the first round of funding of the Shoreditch and Hoxton Arts Fund are: 

Clod Ensemble: £17,400

This project will bring together world-class musicians and dancers with an intergenerational cast and audience of 250 students, amateurs and enthusiasts from Hoxton and Shoreditch, in a programme of dance and music culminating in a spectacular community dance theatre performance at Shoreditch Town Hall. Led by Clod Ensemble in collaboration with Nu Civilisation Orchestra, local secondary schools, Hackney Music Services and older people’s services, we will present jazz legend Charles Mingus’ big band masterpiece The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. In a part of London that is a dance and music destination for tourists and affluent professionals, we want to co-create a celebratory, intergenerational, free to attend dance and music event and accompanying programme of workshops of rigorous artistic quality for local residents – focussing on the over 60s and the under 18s in Shoreditch and Hoxton who rank the highest in health deprivation and have the least access to cultural activities.

Hoxton Hall: £20,000

Hoxton Hall will lead community participants, artists and audiences to co-create HOXTON STREET, a pilot episode of an original live soap opera. This episodic drama innovates the soap opera format with interactive voting and characters inspired by and co-created with local people. With a script that reflects the rich cultural diversity of contemporary Hoxton, rather than a nostalgic monoculture of much TV soap. Through extending a familiar and popular form, and empowering local people to create characters and storylines, the project puts the audience at its heart. It will engage new audiences as co-collaborators and ambassadors of the creative process, giving them voice and addressing barriers to cultural capital. HOXTON STREET will culminate in a rehearsed reading of the pilot episode at Hoxton Hall with professional actors to a live audience which will be recorded to broadcast quality to be distributed on social media platforms, local radio and a featured podcast episode on Hoxton Hall’s website. The live and digital audience will vote on the direction of the story and have a chance to tune-in to the follow up taster episode to see what direction got the most votes. The live event will be accompanied by an exhibition storyboard of HOXTON STREET, the places, the people and the plots, as a visual representation of the aural art work and a way of demystifying and democratising the creative process. The exhibition will run for the season at Hoxton Hall.

PEER: £16,500

PEER in the Library will work with three artists / artist collectives to create and exhibit high quality artwork for Shoreditch Library. The three-part project will increase both organisations’ reach, diversify audiences, engage local communities, promote visual art in contexts outside of the gallery and present exceptional art as part of daily life. PEER in the Library will play a part in envisioning the library of the future by presenting specifically devised exhibitions and events that explore themes around: the printed and spoken word in a diversity of media (print, digital, moving image, performance etc.); how language and languages are integral to one’s sense of self, culturally and socially; how the mechanisms of libraries as repositories of knowledge can be creatively mined and explored; the cultural and social value of archiving and preserving both written and spoken languages’ and the intersections between the visual arts and literary forms. Each of the three programme elements across the 12-month period will specifically engage local audiences through workshops, talks and events. The content of these activities will emerge directly from issues and points of discussions directed by the participants. All three programme elements will deliver a minimum of four participatory events, each will engage people from a range of backgrounds and ages, encouraging people to connect across different communities, as well as increasing awareness and engagement with PEER and Shoreditch Library.

Eastside Educational Trust: £19,800

Three primary schools selected from Shoreditch, Hoxton East or Hoxton West wards will receive a creative teacher training programme followed by a residency in which pairs of Eastside artists deliver creative interventions reaching every student in the school throughout the 2019/2020 academic year. The programme will culminate at the Festival of Youth Creativity in May 2020 and each school will be provided with a youth made filmed documentary of their creative journeys. This festival will bring together schools, young people, artists and communities from across Shoreditch and Hoxton (and beyond) to showcase the work that they have developed to an audience of friends, families, local residents and other key stakeholders. A sustainable public art installation co-created with school children and community members in the preceding months will be unveiled at the festival. This dynamic piece of art will be made with recycled or environmentally-friendly materials only and will explore the community’s response to changes in their local and wider environment. The art piece will be interactive, with residents’ views and comments influencing, changing and adding new dimensions to the art piece. The lead artist will work with the schools to shape the concept and incorporate contributions from across all participating groups. The art piece itself may change over the course of the installation’s lifecycle as more people interact with it.

Create London: £16,900

We plan to develop a new not-for-profit enterprise delivering workshops with local young people and producing terracotta garden ware, to be sold locally in Hoxton Street Market and nationally, with sales going back into the project, ultimately creating a sustainable production and teaching facility in the heart of Hoxton. We believe in the creative potential of manufacturing and our aim is to establish a distinctive model of ceramics production in east London, operating at a scale that allows for high-quality products to be made, while at the same time providing high-quality training and paid employment opportunities for local young people. To achieve this, we will work together with leading ceramics artist Aaron Angell and a youth group consisting of 8 local young potters aged 16-24, to design, produce and launch a new garden ware product range that will be made in Hoxton and available to buy from shops, nurseries and galleries across London and the UK. The project also represents a unique collaboration between local young people from Hoxton and leading and emerging artists and makers to create a sustainable creative enterprise. The project will also feature two community days in Hoxton Community Garden that will open up the pottery to the wider community. The youth group will deliver taster workshops to local charities and community groups, to promote peer mentoring, intergenerational understanding and support community cohesion. We will also be working with a group of mentors from Bank of America Merrill Lynch who will support the youth group in the early stages of setting up their business; facilitating monthly sessions around areas such as market analysis, pitching and finance.