What We Do
A socially minded organisation offering exhibition, performance and studio space for the development of creative enterprises. Devoted to the promotion and production of art and design, performance and innovative business, Stour Space also works in collaboration with many local enterprises, residents, artists and committees.
Stour Space recognises the significance of creative enterprise in the social sector and public education, believing creative industry skills to be increasingly important to the economy in a world of rapid technological and social change. With a focus on the local neighbourhood, the economy and sustainable regeneration Stour Space endeavours to support and promote the value of creative enterprise and public innovation to people of all abilities and experiences.
Registered as an Asset of Community Value under the Community Right to Bid Policy, as part of the Localism Act 2011, the Stour Space building has been listed as a valuable public venue in the local area by Tower Hamlets council and local residents.
Stour Space was once a disused, unsafe building, and through the intuition and motivation of the local community it has blossomed into a multi-functional venue, that can service a large variety of needs. Opened in 2009, it now boasts over 40 studio tenants, a 2000 sqft open plan gallery space, 20+ local grassroots programmes on site, a SHOP selling local products, a multi-purpose function space with Olympic views and a popular café, Stour Space has become a hive for local participation, business development, and niche recreation.
The organisation is focused on multi-functionality in order to provide affordable studio and meeting space to creative businesses and self-employed artists/producers, emergent practitioners, designers and entrepreneurs. Stour Space promotes the capacity for the creative sector to be a valuable and important contribution to the modern economy – recognising the weight of skill sharing, collaboration and grass routes initiatives.
The promotion for public benefit of urban regeneration in London, and in particular areas of social and economic deprivation including Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Hackney Wick, Newham and Waltham Forrest, by the following means:
(a) The creation of training and employment opportunities by the provision of workspace and buildings for use on favourable terms.
(b) The provision of recreational facilities for the public at large or those by reason of their youth, age, infirmity or disablement, poverty or social and economic circumstances, have need of such facilities.
(c) The promotion and production of contemporary art and design, entrepreneurship, and the development of creative opportunities.
(d) The provision of space to charitable groups and unemployed/deprived members of the community to promote their work.
(e) Working closely with other local businesses to produce meaningful local projects.
On-site studios are part subsidised by both corporate and private hire activities, use of the meeting/project space and consultancy, to ensure a large number of people can make use of the previously abandoned building, and affordably grow their own enterprises. Similarly, charitable and educational groups are offered substantial discounts when hiring Stour Space ensuring accessible and equal access for all.
Stour Space holds monthly exhibitions (free for local artists), regular markets and workshops, whilst also promoting the positive capacity of the creative sector through ongoing consultancy and lobbying with local government and public development initiatives.
Not reliant on government funding, the organisation does not make a financial profit, instead choosing to pour any monies back into improving its services and maintaining the venue. Yet through collaborative use and broad accessibility Stour Space is supported and enhanced by a multitude of individuals, businesses and initiatives, ensuring ongoing sustainability and a positive momentum.
The SHOP at Stour Space closed its doors in April 2017 after 4 years of showcasing talent from London’s East End, Hackney Wick and beyond.
Our SHOP stocked exclusive one-off pieces and new works in furniture, jewellery, sculpture, photography, art, books and more. The retail space also housed a wide range of art materials courtesy of The Wick Art Store.
Follow the SHOP on Instagram for updates on future locations/spaces.
For 5+ years the Stour Space Designer’s Market was a platform for creative independent makers/artists/enterprises to sell and promote their work.
From 2009-2013, on the last Saturday of every month Stour Space opened its doors for local produce, craft, design and creative entrepreneurship. Packed full of innovative designs the Designers Market was the perfect place to find fancy treats, snazzy gifts, eclectic music and belly warming delights.
As featured in Time Out (2011), “This indoor market is a Saturday afternoon well spent, come rain or shine”.
Stour Space has been committed to supporting local artists since its launch in 2009. The designers market was built out of a desire to build a platform for artists to exhibit and sell their work to fund further projects and enable them to have work spaces in and around East London.
“Many well-known brands started life on the markets and we know how many people want to take that leap into starting their own business”- STOUR SPACE.