School for the Creative and Cultural Industries


The Partnership Lab at UCL School for the Creative & Cultural Industries

25 May 2023

As UCL East opened its doors in Autumn 2022, the Partnership Lab began supporting the early introductions between staff at the School for the Creative and Cultural Industries at UCL East and London’s creative and cultural sectors.

Two people by window at UCL East campus

The Partnership Lab introduced a number of initiatives such as 'meet the Director', hot desking and bespoke partnership events which catalysed ways for creative and cultural practitioners, producers and companies to get to know Professor Haidy Geismar, Director of the School for the creative and Cultural Industries (SCCI), and to test and explore ways of working in the new university spaces.

Haidy said:

The Partnership Lab is a way of extending our space, and resources at UCL East to support the creative and cultural sector, and to foster new ways of working together. We are excited to see where these new relationships take our research, and its benefits for society, and hope that these conversations inspire the next generation of scholars and practitioners” 

A series of roundtable events brought UCL academics, national creative and cultural policy colleagues and London’s Arts and Culture institutions together to explore ways to innovate university-industry engagement and work together to contribute to the sustainability of London’s cultural landscape.

The Partnership Lab hosted London’s contemporary visual arts network in residence. CVAN London is a research-led, sector support and advocacy network that represents arts professionals, arts organisations, studios and art schools across London borough.

In January 2023, UCL Urban Room Curator Kara Blackmore and CVAN London Director Jo Townshend organised the launch of the AREVA report in the Urban Room, the new UCL East space hosting events, exhibitions, workshops and engagement with local stakeholders, professional audiences, and the wider public in East London. Written by artist Dr Jack Ky Tan, the Anti-racist & Equitable Visual Arts (AREVA) report is the culmination of a knowledge exchange project initiated by CVAN London in collaboration with Iniva and funded by Arts Council England exploring how arts organisations may establish and support anti-racist and equitable working practices.

CVAN members Claudel Goy and Nimrod Vardi, Directors of arebyte, a London-based art organisation which supports the development of contemporary artists working across emerging artforms, visited the Lab and met Dr Brigitta Zics, Head of the Media BA programme to discuss shared interests in digital arts. Following this introduction arebyte are hosting work placements for Media BA students, planning a residency with a public outcome at the gallery for the next academic year and are exploring longer term partnership opportunities. Reflecting on the new partnership, Managing Director Claudel Goy said that ‘Very fruitful collaborations lie ahead of us!’.

As the residency draws to an end, Jo Townshend said:

On behalf of CVAN London, I’d like to express my thanks and gratitude to Professor Haidy Geismar and UCL colleagues for hosting us at the School for the Creative and Cultural Industries at the new East London campus, home to so many artists, art workers, galleries and studios. I am sure the conversations started here will move forward into meaningful long-term partnerships and in doing so, turn the potential of university collaborations into impact for London and the visual arts community’.

From the the English National Opera and Horniman Museum to the Government Art Collection and Rosetta Arts, the Partnership Lab has welcomed a diverse range of guests from the creative and cultural sectors through its doors. Since launching in Autumn 2022, more than 80 external creative and cultural organisations have begun partnership discussions with over 40 UCL academics.

Image credit: James Tye