London growth putting pressure on creativity, expert warns

Munira Mirza

London’s growth is putting enormous pressure on the city’s cultural infrastructure, Munira Mirza, deputy mayor for education and culture, has warned.

Opening a recent event marking PRS for Music Foundation’s new Composers’ Fund, she said that a third of grassroots venues and rehearsal spaces have been lost in the last eight years, sounding a warning bell for creativity in the capital.

‘These are dedicated spaces for grassroots music, where young and emerging musicians can play, rehearse and perform,’ she said.

‘We’re very sad there has been this loss and we’re trying very hard to think about how to address that, using our planning system, using our own funding and working with our partners including local authorities in London.’

She added that, in the last year, the Mayor’s Office has set up the Music Venues Taskforce and Artist Studios Taskforce to address the ‘huge challenges ahead’ for music and the wider creative industries.

‘We’ve also dedicated quite a large part of our regeneration programme specifically towards creating new studio space,’ Mirza continued.

‘We spent approximately £5m on new creative workspaces in London, which we hope will start to address some of the loss we’ve seen over the last few years.’

PRS for Music Foundation launched the Composers’ Fund at London’s City Hall last week. The new initiative is aimed at supporting talented composers to develop their work. The new initiative aims to give talented composers direct access to funding at pivotal stages in their career.