Once a royal palace and for some 150 years HQ to the Inland Revenue (HMRC), Somerset House couldn’t be more different now. Though its history is peppered with dalliances in the arts – it was also home to the Royal Academy of Arts back in the 1700s – its latter day renovation as a hub for some of the most exciting creative projects and exhibitions in the UK is a far cry from its lofty past. Home to Somerset House Studios artists such as Gaika, Hannah Perry and Christian Marclay, as well as Makerversity, The Courtauld Institute, and the workspaces of dozens of creative businesses including Hofesh Shechter, Stack Magazines and The Association of Illustrators, it is now embarking on a new mission to encourage creative freelancers and small businesses to call Somerset House home.
Somerset House Exchange is the organisation’s new shared workspace for the creative industries, a portion of the building that will be dedicated to shared workspace for freelance practitioners and businesses of 10 people or less. It opens in October, with genuinely affordable workspace ranging from £60 pcm – £325 pcm, and is currently open for applications. Whether you’re a designer, curator, developer, producer, or anything else within the creative sector, this could be your future studio.
In its new residents, the programme is looking for people working in the arts or creative industries, who incorporate and embrace innovation in their practice, have a collaborative approach to their work and, importantly, strive to increase diversity within their branch of the creative industries.
In November, Somerset House will also open up applications for bursaries, offering further support to emerging talent and underrepresented groups.
There are 200 desks up for grabs, but aside from a place to put your laptop the membership to the shared workspace also comes with perks, such as a curated programme of events, networking opportunities, and group projects inviting collaboration with your fellow members. Not to mention the chance to rub shoulders with over 100 residents of Somerset House Studios – the artists incubator space down the corridor – or pop to exhibitions such as 24/7 on your lunch break.
Somerset House Exchange opens mid October. Find out more here.