The link between Acme Studios and art colleges goes back to the formation of the organisation in 1972 when art college graduates, principally from Reading University Fine Art Department and Chelsea School of Art, needed affordable space in which to work and live.
Studio Awards for Graduates
Acme is acutely aware of the pressures facing graduate artists trying to establish their studio practice. Acme manages four studio awards for graduate artists in adjoining studios at Warton House, E15
These awards have been carefully developed with Acme’s partners to provide a valuable and effective bridge between college and professional practice. Each award provides a rent-free studio for 12 months, a stipend of £2,500 - £5,000 plus tailored mentoring and development opportunities.
- Adrian Carruthers Award is open to final year MA students at the Slade School of Art.
- Chelsea BA Studio Award is open to final year BA Fine Art students at Chelsea College of Art and Design, supported by the Chelsea Arts Club Trust.
- City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Award is open to graduatung BA Fine Art students.
- Goldsmiths Studio Award is open to MFA Fine Art students at Goldsmiths, University of London.
- Helen Scott Lidgett Award is open to Graduates of MA Fine Art, MA Art & Science and MA Photography at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
In addition to the studio awards, Acme runs the Central Saint Martins (CSM) Recent Graduate Studio Programme at the Glassyard Building, SW9. This programme is open to Central Saint Martins BA Fine Art students and offers a shared open-plan space of around 1,300 sq.ft for a group of eight graduates for two years, at half the standard rate – an average weekly rent for each artist of approximately £20 per week.
Knowledge Transfer Partnership
Acme Studios and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, undertook a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), a part government-funded programme which helps businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills.
The two-year project reviewed the changing role of the artists’ studio within contemporary art practice, through an extensive programme of studio visits and interviews.
The project was undertaken by Research and Development Associate - Dr Arantxa Echarte. Arantxa completed her PhD in Fine Arts at the University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol), and has a Pg Dip in Research, an MA in Art and Design (Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen) and a BA in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country. She has continued to maintain her practice as an artist and curator, and has experience of studio space as a practitioner, previously being based at BV studios (Motorcade Flash Parade), Bristol. Arantxa was based at Acme full-time for two years, employed by the university and jointly supported by Graham Ellard for Double Agents, the research project based at Central Saint Martins which he leads with Professor Anne Tallentire, and Acme Chief Executive Jonathan Harvey.
The project resulted in user and management briefs for artists’ studios which will help ensure that Acme continues to provide and manage studios which meet the changing needs of artists’ practice. For the further information on this project, see 'KTP Newsletter February 2012' in 'Further Reading'.
Curating Contemporary Art MA (RCA)
In 2009 Acme Studios approached the Royal College of Art to explore how the use of the Acme Project Space could both benefit artists on Acme awards or residencies and support the aims of the course by providing a platform for these young curators to develop ideas.
The students conceive an exhibition for the Acme Project Space following studio visits to artists on Acme’s Residency & Awards Programme. From 2010 to 2011 the project formed part of CCA’s Inspire placement-based MA programme. The previous resulting exhibitions and artists were:
‘DELVE’ Sarah Duffy and Maaike Anne Stevens; ‘Adjacent Practice Colliding Daily’ Ninna Bohn Pedersen and Rafal Zajko; ‘In Use’ Anna Moderato; ‘Sum Parts’ Briony Anderson, Amy Gee, George Charman, Haroon Mirza, Emma Smith and K Yoland; ‘Contort Yourself’ Harold Offeh and Jan Hendrickse.
Partner: City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Award
Partner: Central St Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts
Partner: Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts
Partner: Goldsmiths, University of London
Partner: Royal College of Art
Partner: Slade School of Fine Art, University College London
- Acme Studios
- 44 Copperfield Road
- E3 4RR
- T +44 (0)20 8981 6811
Between 1996 and 2012 Acme received £3.2m of capital funding from Arts Council England which supported the creation of six permanent affordable studios in London: Copperfield Road, Fire Station, Galleria, Harrow Road, Leven Road and Matchmakers Wharf. This resulted in 186 studios and 12 work/live units in four London boroughs.