UK’s first National Talent House for urban culture announced

Urban Development - Accelerator programme

Music talent development organisation, Urban Development, and talent incubator and educator, East London Dance, have announced plans to create the UK’s first National Talent House for urban culture.

The organisations have secured a joint funding bid from the Mayor of London’s Greater London Authority (GLA) Good Growth Fund for £1m to create the hub in Stratford, east London.

The GLA funding matches the £1m already secured from Arts Council England’s Small Capital Grants programme in 2017.

Plans are now in place for a 1,000+ square meter historic warehouse and modern extension, as part of the Sugar House Island Development next to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

In an announcement made yesterday (7 March), the talent house was said to be, ‘inspired by the need to ensure that diverse and disadvantaged young people from east London benefit from the legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.’

It will offer, ‘an aspirational space to unlock the potential of musicians, singer songwriters, composers, dancers, choreographers and producers and enable progression to further/higher education, employment and enterprise. It will also be an incubation hub with strong industry links for innovation in the creative industries, launching new projects, products and careers.’

Both organisations will share the building, which will combine high performance recording suites and dance studios with spaces for collaborative working and performance.

Building works are underway and are estimated to be complete by spring next year.

Pamela McCormick, Director at Urban Development said: ‘We are proud to team up with East London Dance for this, our biggest undertaking yet, that will be the catalyst for the emergence of a new creative community in the area.

‘Our programme will complement and support a well-developed programme, building on our collective strong local community roots, the new neighbourhood at Sugar House Island and the creative industries. The new building will make us fit-for-purpose, it will allow accessibility to talent, it will encourage diversity and connect London’s sub-cultures to new audiences, markets and opportunities.

‘We would like to give our wholehearted thanks to the Mayor of London, GLA and Arts Council England for allowing us to realise our vision.’

Polly Risbridger, Director at East London Dance said: ‘As East London Dance celebrates its thirtieth anniversary in 2018, we are overjoyed at the support and commitment the Mayor of London and Arts Council England have offered in helping us realise our ambitions for the next 30 years.

‘This building will not only provide a new home for East London Dance and Urban Development but will be an authentic space that listens and responds to artists, young people and the local community. It will spearhead the creation of a vibrant new creative hub at Sugar House Island and create a home and meeting point for the urban arts community.’