Acme, supporting artists since 1972


2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006

Acme's co-founders awarded OBEs


Acme Studios is delighted by the news that Jonathan Harvey and David Panton, Acme's co-founders, have been appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year 2014 Honours List, for services to the arts.

This is a significant recognition of Acme’s work and of the important role of the affordable studios sector throughout the UK which supports artists at the level of research and production.

Acme was founded in 1972 in East London as a charitable housing association and has just celebrated its 40th anniversary. As an organisation committed to supporting artists with affordable space to work and live, and with residencies and awards, it is now a permanent and self-sustaining resource. Acme can now look forward with certainty to helping future generations of artists and continuing to make a significant contribution to the development of contemporary art.

Jonathan and David continue to lead the organisation as Acme’s Chief Executive and Director Property respectively. In a joint statement they said: ‘This endorsement is a tribute to the extraordinary support and commitment we continue to receive from our board and staff and to those individuals and organisations with whom we have developed mutually-supportive creative partnerships.’

Virginia Bradley at the Acme Project Space


Current Acme IRP Associate Artist Residency artist Virginia Bradley explores imagery found at the Zoological Society of London library in a new body of mixed media painting at the Acme Project Space.

Imagery is printed, drawn and sanded, paint is poured, surfaces are waxed and carved to form hide like tapestries on khadi paper and birch panel. Bradley has long-standing interest in colonial natural history imagery and is intrigued by the instinct or ‘sixth sense’ that animals possess, as well as their primordial sense of purity and beauty. An animal’s innate instinct for survival correlates to the intuitive process that is active in her painting. The final textural paintings question the history, origin, meaning and authenticity of the image. Ultimately, she wants the visual work to offer alternative perceptions to certainty – past, present and the desires of humans.

5 December to 8 December 2013
Thursdays to Sunday, 1pm to 6pm
Private view:
Thursday 5 December 2013, 6pm to 8pm

Stephen Cripps at the Henry Moore Institute


From 21 November 2013 the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds is presenting Stephen Cripps: Pyrotechnic Sculptor, the first posthumous exhibition of the work of sculptor and performance artist Stephen Cripps. Spanning his practice from early student work to his death in 1982, this exhibition tracks how Cripps tested out ideas through drawings, constantly expanding the horizons of sculpture, transforming objects with actions, sound and pyrotechnics.

Cripps was a ‘pyrotechnic sculptor’, an artist who created objects and machines which often reacted with the spaces which attempted to contain them. He was closely associated with the Acme Gallery (1976-81) and the Henry Moore Institute’s exhibition runs concurrently with Supporting Artists: Acme’s First Decade 1972-1982 at the Whitechapel Gallery that features the Acme Gallery’s extensive archive.

Following Stephen’s premature death, aged 29, friends and family ensured that his work – mostly drawings, documentation of performances and associated material – was listed and collected together. A monograph published by Acme in 1992 created a comprehensive survey of his work, and formed a permanent record and an invaluable research tool. The archive material was subsequently brought together in one place and stored by Acme until 2013.

Stephen Cripps: Pyrotechnic Sculptor celebrates the acquisition of Cripps' archive by the Henry Moore Institute Archive. Being part of this prestigious collection will increase the awareness of Cripps’ groundbreaking work and encourage research into his artistic practice that radically rethought the ways in which we understand sculpture. The material will be available to researchers to consult from autumn 2014.

See and for more information.

Acme welcomes new staff


Acme Studios has recently welcomed three new staff members to its team. Eleanor Moreton joined as Rent Accounts Assistant in March and Stuart Bolin started as Property Administrator in September. Both are practicing artists who currently have studios with Acme. Fiona Haggerty will shortly begin as Residency and Awards Officer. She studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art and previously worked at Artangel, Frieze and most recently was Events Officer at the Whitechapel Gallery. Like many roles at Acme, all three positions are part-time which allows staff to pursue their artistic practice or other interests.

Acme was formed by artists as a self-help organisation in 1972 and it continues to be artist-centred, focusing on providing support for artists at the most fundamental level of research and production. The philosophy and work of Acme is informed and enriched by the fact that many staff members are artists or have a professional understanding of contemporary practice. The organisation not only benefits from their professional skills and commitment, but from their direct understanding of the practical realities of being an artist.

The appointment of new staff is in response to our expanded portfolio of 16 studio buildings, comprising over 600 studios, and the development of our Residency & Awards Programme which will support over 30 artists this year.

Open Day - High House Artists' Studios


Saturday 16 November, 12 noon - 4pm

An opportunity to view Essex’s first purpose-built artists’ studio building – recently featured on BBC Radio 4 and in Building Design magazine – and to meet artists in their studios and visit the ‘Living Studio’ an ongoing performance work by Aaron Williamson (Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award). 

High House Artists' Studios, Off Purfleet Bypass, Purfleet, Essex, RM19 1AS


Train - Purfleet Station, C2C London Fenchurch Street to Grays.
Bus - 44 bus service from Lakeside to Grays
Car - Close to A12 and M25. On-site parking

For more information, contact:


'The Fire Station Project' - Publication


A new artist-designed book, The Fire Station Project, has been published which records and celebrates Acme Studios’ Residency & Awards Programme since its inception in 1997. The publication focuses on the Fire Station Work/Live Residencies and contains biographies and images of the 50 artists who have benefited to date. One artist from each of the four previous programmes provides a case study of their experience: Lindsay Seers, Erika Tan, Ben Cove, and Briony Anderson, who also designed the book as one half of AndersonMacgee/Flit London. There are two essays: ‘Environmental Studies’ by Martin Coomer and the ‘The Old Fire Station’ by Jonathan Harvey, as well as a complete list of the over 100 artists who have benefited from Acme’s Residency & Awards Programme.

The Fire Station Project can be downloaded from the Acme website and a limited number of original copies are available to buy for £15.00, contact for more details.

Postcard From My Studio


As part of Acme Studios’ 40th anniversary celebrations, all of its current tenants were invited to complete a small work on an identical A5 postcard. Artists could use any medium and the aim was that, in some way, the work would reflect what their studio represented to them as individuals.

This was an opportunity to bring together contributions from artists testifying to the range of practitioners who collectively make such an extraordinary contribution to the visual arts today. With almost 300 artists responding, the exhibition provides a unique snapshot, at a specific moment in time, of artists working in Acme's studios. All of the works in the exhibition will become part of our expanding archive.

The resulting exhibition at the Acme Project Space, coincides with the display of archive material from Acme’s first decade at the Whitechapel Gallery from 7 September 2013 to 23 February 2014.

Visitors to the Acme Project Space are invited to tweet a picture of their favourite postcard @acmestudios #acmepostcard

4 October - 27 October

1pm to 6pm Thursdays to Sundays

Harrow Road Open Studios


Artists at Acme's Harrow Road studios are taking part in the Art West Open Studios this weekend - 28-29 September, 1pm to 6pm. There are six studios taking part with over 50 artists opening their doors.

For more information and for a map visit:

Childers Street Open Studios


Saturday 5 October 12 noon to 6pm

For one afternoon, 49 artists will be opening their doors in Acme's biggest studio building. Built as a ships' propeller foundry, the building was also used as a paper bag factory before Acme began converting it into studios in 1990. On display will be a wide range of artistic practice in studios of different shapes and sizes.

The event coincides with the nearby Old Police Station's annual open studios which forms part of the Art Licks Weekend.

The open studios at Childers Street also coincides with the week-long Deptford X festival.

Artists taking part include:

Aileen Kelly - Alex Calinescu - Alia Pathan - Anne Bristow - Anthony Sullivan - April Yasamee - Carol Mancke - Carol Mandeville - Chris Humphreys - Christy Symington - Dan Preece - David Weekes - Eleanor Bowen - Elizabeth Meadows - Eryka Isaak - Farah Syed - Gill Houghton - Grace Lodge - Helen Douglas Cooper - Helga Schmidt - Jane Lydbury - Janet Tod - Jemma Appleby - Jessica Tsang - John McGrath - Jonathan Huxley - Joss Cole - Judith Walker - Julia Davenne - Julie Brooker - Kevin Quinn - Lilia Mazurkevich - Mark Firth - Melanie Comber - Michael Kilraine - Nick Malone - Peter Towse - Russell Burn - Ruth Caig - Sally Kindberg - Shelley Theodore - Shelley Wilson - Sophie Jung - Stephanie Moran - Tete Alancar - Theresa Dowling - Tom Tlalim - Tontxi Vazquez - Yo Okada

165 Childers Street, Deptford, London, SE8 5JR

Overground: New Cross, New Cross Gate
Train: Deptford, New Cross
DLR: Deptford Bridge
Bus: 47, 188, 199
Car: On-street parking in nearby streets


Acme at the Whitechapel Gallery


The early years of Acme Studios are explored in a new exhibition: Supporting Artists: Acme’s First Decade 1972-1982 at the Whitechapel Gallery. For 40 years Acme has been committed to supporting artists at the most fundamental level – with a place to live, to work and, in its first decade, to exhibit. Through original documents, posters, photographs and film, this archive exhibition focuses on the use of short-life houses and redundant factories in East and South East London to provide affordable studio and living space for hundreds of artists and the use of a short-life building in Covent Garden (The Acme Gallery, 1976-81) to provide a space in which artists could present new work. The common thread running through this story is the way in which artists interpreted the spaces at their disposal: a derelict house would be transformed into a functioning home and studio, a short-life warehouse converted into a gallery would, from time to time, be radically deconstructed to accommodate an installation or performance.

Now an established self-sustaining organisation with a permanent property portfolio, this exhibition shows the energy and creativity of the formative years when, driven by survival, so much was wrested and achieved from such unpromising and transient means.

The exhibition at the Pat Matthews Gallery (Gallery 4) has been curated by Nayia Yiakoumaki, Curator Archive Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery and Jonathan Harvey, Chief Executive, Acme Studios, assisted by Dr Arantxa Echarte. It runs until 23 February 2014.


Aaron Williamson selected for major new studio award


Performance sculptor Aaron Williamson has been selected for the inaugural Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award. The award is a major creative development opportunity for artists whose practice is rooted in sculpture which embraces elements of light, movement, machinery, sound or performance and is based at Acme Studios’ new-build studios at High House Production Park in Thurrock.

Aaron Williamson was selected by a panel comprising Jonathan Harvey, Chief Executive Acme Studios; Ingrid Swenson, Director PEER; Emma Troubridge, Head of Scenic Art Royal Opera House and Richard Wilson, artist. Richard explains the panel’s decision:

“Aaron’s convincing interview showed not only his commitment to the High House Production Park site, connecting with its neighbours and his fellow artists but also adopting the spirit of Stephen Cripps and his approach to working. It was clear he had given the award a lot of thought to the point of carefully programming the first few months of investigation and play as a full-time resident at the site. The key words here were ‘immersing, initiating and participating’.”

Aaron has opted to rent a work/live space within the studio building during the award year. His proposal for the award is to maintain a year-long, ever-evolving 'living studio' that can be visited at any time by appointment. Aaron explains, “In this, the studio itself is the work with myself as its operative, creating transient sculptural works through performative processes.”

The initial Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award programme consists of three one-year awards, running successively from October 2013. Each award will provide a rent-free large ground-floor ‘production’ studio, a £10,000 bursary and £10,000 towards project realisation costs.

Rhonda Weppler & Trevor Mahovsky


Current recipients of the Canada Council for the Arts six-month London studio residency, Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky will be exhibiting sculpture and photographic work at the Acme Project Space as part of Acme Studios International Residencies Programme.

Rhonda explains, “This series of work document walks we have undertaken, collecting both bought and found objects as a record of that activity."

Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky met at the University of British Columbia in 1996.Their work has been shown extensively throughout Canada, as well as in the United States, Spain, Japan, Italy, and Germany.

Private view: Thursday 1 August 2013, 6pm to 8pm
1.8.2013 - 4.8.2013
Thursdays to Sundays, 1pm to 6pm

New awards provide a bridge between art school and art practice


Three new awards for recent art graduates have been launched by Acme Studios in partnership with Central Saint Martins College of Arts of Design, University of the Arts London and Goldsmiths, University of London. The awards have a common aim; to provide a bridge between art school and practice as a professional artist. All three awards begin in October 2013 and form part of Acme Studios’ Residency & Awards Programme which believes that providing artists with time and space is fundamental to their development.

The Helen Scott Lidgett Studio Award is for Graduates of MA Fine Art, MA Art & Science and MA Photography at Central Saint Martins. Helen was a student at Saint Martin’s School of Art and continued to be an energetic advocate for the arts both in her working and private life, particularly in her role as a Governor of University of the Arts London. Her legacy will continue to support artists by awarding a recent MA graduate a rent-free studio for 12 months at Warton House, E15 together with a bursary of £5,000, and the opportunity to access curators, other professional artists and networking opportunities. The award will also provide mentoring by members of the Helen Scott Lidgett Fund committee, to the selected graduate, and all those who apply.

Recognising the importance of supporting students once they graduate, the Goldsmiths MFA Fine Art Studio Award was established, funded by the Astaire Award and ISA Charity, to enable the recipient to devote more time to their studio practice. The 12-month award comprises a rent-free studio at Warton House in Stratford, a £6,000 bursary and a mentoring programme tailored specifically to the graduate’s practice including studio visits from other professional artists, curators, and access to networking opportunities.

The Central Saint Martins Recent Graduate Studio Programme will provide a supportive environment without simply extending the ‘comfort zone’ of the college experience. Developed out of their collaborative Knowledge Transfer Partnership, Double agents and Acme Studios have created a ‘transitional’ studio space for recent graduates within a larger studio development of 30 studios located in the new UAL Hall of Residence; the Glassyard Building, in Stockwell, SW9. The programme offers access to a self-contained ground floor shared open-plan space of around 1,300 sq ft for eight graduates from BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. The average weekly rent for each artist is approximately £20 per week and the programme includes monthly studio seminars and studio visits.

These new awards complement Acme’s existing awards for graduates located at our Childers Street studios in Deptford, SE8: the Adrian Carruthers Award, the Camberwell Studio Award, the Chadwell Award and the Chelsea Studio Award.

Ben Cove 'Vernacular Hangover'


'Vernacular Hangover' is an exhibition of new work by Ben Cove conceived for the Acme Project Space. New paintings will be hung on top of, and alongside, large-scale reproductions of American press photographs from an early 1970s Primitive Art exhibition.

Cove’s work examines the physical and social legacies of Modernist practices and its associated languages. Always aware of the physicality of the painting as an object, Cove’s paintings are often made to be hung in conjunction with other elements. Several works in the show will consist of paintings which sit alongside partially painted, wall and floor mounted plywood structures.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an essay by curator and writer George Vasey.

Ben Cove lives and works in London. Between 2006 and 2010 Cove was one of twelve artists in residence at the Acme Fire Station Work/Live programme.

'Vernacular Hangover'

7.6.2013 - 30.6.2013
Thursdays to Sundays, 1pm to 6pm

Private view: Thursday 6 June 2013, 6pm to 8pm

The Stephen Cripps' Studio Award


The Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award is a major creative development opportunity. It provides a resource and support structure from which artists can develop their practice and realise and present planned or new projects. The award forms part of Acme Studios’ Residency & Awards Programme.

The award, to be based at new-build, purpose-designed studios at High House Production Park, Thurrock, will not only celebrate the work of Stephen Cripps, an important ‘pyrotechnic sculptor’, but also help make manifest the vision for the Park and the potential for creative collaboration between its partners: High House Production Park Ltd, the Royal Opera House Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop, the National Skills Academy Creative & Cultural Backstage Training Centre and Acme Studios.

The initial programme consists of three one-year awards, running successively from October 2013. Each award will provide a rent-free large ground-floor ‘production’ studio, a £10,000 bursary and £10,000 towards project realisation costs. To ensure that as many artists as possible in the UK will be able to benefit from the award, the selected artist may also opt to rent a work/live space within the studio building during the award year.

The Award is funded by Acme Studios, The Henry Moore Foundation, High House Production Park Ltd and Stephen Cripps’s family.

The first award runs for one year from 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2014 followed immediately by the second award. The deadline for applications is 5.00 pm Friday 14 June with interviews for short-listed artists on Friday 12 July.

Clare Price recipient of Jessica Wilkes Award (2013-14)


The 2013-14 recipient of the Acme Studios’ Jessica Wilkes Award is Clare Price. The year-long award is open to all current Acme tenants of our non-residential studios. Created as the result of a legacy from the artist Jessica Wilkes who died in November 2005, the award was established by Acme, and Jessica’s family and friends to celebrate her life.
The annual award, worth £10,000, provides an artist with a free studio and grant to enable them to devote more of their time to their studio practice. Clare has a studio at Acme’s Childers Street studio in Deptford:

'I have started making new investigations in my work, starting to print onto the canvas as a "ground" before painting. The award will give me the time and space to immerse myself in these progressions and give them the attention they deserve. I desperately want to keep my train of thought and give the work a real push and the award will give me a unique opportunity to achieve this.’

Clare was selected by a panel consisting of Alice Appleton (Jessica’s niece), Joanna Hewison (Jessica’s sister), Alexander Wilkes (Jessica’s nephew) and Jonathan Harvey (Chief Executive, Acme Studios).

This year's award will be greatly enhanced by the involvement of Liquitex who will provide Clare with material, products and support throughout the year.

Clare Price is currently part of a group exhibition, ‘…even CLOUDS…’ at studio1.1 in Shoreditch (19 April-12 May).

'Hidden' studios in former brush factory - open weekend


Located in an 18th century brush factory in Bethnal Green, Robinson Road Studios has been home to artists for over 30 years. Hidden behind rows of houses, many of the 48 studios in this remarkable set of buildings will be open between Friday 26 April and Sunday 28 April. Artists involved include:

Javaid Alvi, Catrine Ballié, Monique Becker, Julia Budd, Stephen Cooper, Anna Courcha, Sarah Kudirka Davenport, Hitomi Kammai, Mark Kennedy, Rob Kesseler, Tim Lewis, Janet Ludlow, Lucy Lyons, Sarah McNulty, Lewis Paul, Elizabeth Pell, Tom Phillips, Cathie Pilkington, Catherine Purves, Clare Qualmann, Antoine Robin, Mia Taylor, Sarah Taylor, Mary Thrasivoulou Spence,  Virginia Verran, Jonathan Waller and Anthony Whishaw

The Robinson Road site opened in 1982 as Chief Executive, Jonathan Harvey explains:

“When trying to raise publicity for an exhibition of the studio artists shortly after moving in, one well-known critic responded saying: ‘Bethnal Green? That’s Outer Mongolia!’  How times have changed. Since then East London has become world-renowned for its artists, studios and galleries and our provision of affordable studios has expanded to become a permanent resource supporting over 600 artists across 16 buildings.”

Private View: Friday 26 April, 6-9pm
Saturday 27 April, 12-6pm
Sunday 28 April, 12-6pm

Entrance: 44 Bonner Road, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9LX

Fire Station Work/Live Exchange


We are pleased to announce that following an initiative by artists currently on Acme’s Fire Station programme, an exchange work/live residency will take place with the Fire Station Artists’ Studios in Dublin in July 2013.

The exchange will provide a rent-free work/live space for one month and a bursary for travel and project funding. In addition Acme will help provide curatorial support, access to galleries and networking opportunities.

The artist selected from the Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Maria McKinney, studied at the University of Ulster, Belfast. In 2009 she was the recipient of the Dublin City Council Red Stables emerging artist residency and subsequently completed a self-directed residency at the Banff Centre, Canada, awarded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. In 2012 her installation Somewhere but here, another other place was included in the inaugural exhibition at The MAC, Northern Ireland’s flagship visual arts venue.

While in London Maria intends to research a body of work that considers the ritual aspect of recreation and how this has succeeded previously religious exercises in our day-to-day activities. Focusing particularly on table-top games such as Warhammer, she intends to research the tapestries that depict epic clashes from history, as well as the intricate patterns found in Islamic and Indian textiles, held in collections in London’s V&A and British Museum.

In tandem, the artist from Acme’s Fire Station, Sue Corke collaborating with Hagen Betzweiser, will take up the reciprocal work/live residency in Dublin.

We are pleased to be working with the Fire Station Artists’ Studios in Dublin ( on this work/live exchange as part of Acme Studios’ Residency, Awards & Community Programme. Awarding selected UK-based artists with studio residencies, bursaries, professional mentoring and exhibiting opportunities adds to Acme’s core service of studio provision. These programmes are some of the most directly supportive for artists anywhere in the UK and a number involve much-valued support from partner organisations. At any one time over 20 artists benefit from this support.

Acme has run an innovative work/live programme for artists in a converted fire station in East London since 1997. The programme, one of the most supportive in the UK, has helped over 50 artists, with many going on to achieve significant national and international reputations.

For further information contact Julia Lancaster – Residency & Projects Manager, Acme Studios.

Acme and Central St Martins' KTP research published


A paper on a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Acme Studios and Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design has been published in the International Journal of Arts in Society. ‘The Form and Function of the Artist Studio’, written by KTP Associate Dr Arantxa Echarte, outlines in detail the nature of the research project and its outcomes which benefit both Acme and Central Saint Martins. As Arantxa concludes: “This research has provided Acme with a better and more in-depth understanding of their beneficiaries’ needs, and this will ensure that it continues to provide and manage studios that meet the changing needs of artists at affordable prices.”

‘The Form and Function of the Artist Studio’ is available in print or online at:

In May 2014, a major symposium with the working title Studios for Artists: ‘Concepts, Collaboration and Concrete’ will be held at Central Saint Martins. It will present and explore the issues and initiatives raised by the ongoing dialogue between the Art Programme at Central Saint Martins and Acme Studios. The symposium is designed to be an opportunity for the partners to extend their conversation with others rather than merely a presentation of findings and solutions.

A publication presenting the work and outcomes of the KTP research and development project will be launched at the symposium. This will include material collected as part of the project’s research methodology – interviews with artists, and an extensive photographic essay of artists’ studios by Hugo Glendinning – and feature the development of new-build studios at High House Production Park, Purfleet, Essex, designed by HAT Projects, which was directly informed by a detailed brief resulting from the KTP. The publication will also present examples of ongoing collaborative projects between the partners which begin to address the needs of recent graduates, including the Associate Studio Programme at Acme’s studios at The Glassyard Building in Stockwell, London SW9.

40th Anniversary Website Commissions


As part of our 40th Anniversary year celebrations, we have commissioned 12 current tenants to present work on our website. Each work will appear for one month on the Acme website homepage and on a dedicated commissions page.

Tenants were asked to propose either new or existing work. In order to keep the brief as broad as possible, the only suggestion was that the work should connect to Acme Studios and what we do and/or our 40th Anniversary. This might be work that responds or refers to buildings, artists, the making of art, the studio, supporting artists, bridging the gap between college and professional practice etc. We are delighted to be working with the following artists:

Helen Barff, Helena Ben-Zenou, Eleanor Bowen, Anne Bristow, Ed Gray, John Hooper, Miyuki Kasahara, Anna Moderato, Cathie Pilkington, Andrew Seto, Yukako Shibata and Charlie Yetton.

The work includes a range of formats, from painting and photography to video and sound and the selected artists come from across Acme's studio buildings.
January’s commission is 'Mile End Beginning' by Ed Gray which follows on from an introductory work by former Acme tenant Jock McFadyen RA. All the works, along with accompanying text will be placed on the Website Commision webpage.

A series of events and activities taking place during the year, including the opening of three new buildings and the launch of new residencies and awards can be found on the 40th Anniversary Calendar.

Back to top...
  • Acme Studios
  • 44 Copperfield Road
  • London
  • E3 4RR
  • T +44 (0)20 8981 6811
  • E
National Housing Federation member | NFASP member | Supported using public funding by Arts Council England