Living Lab

Living Lab - Now Live! 

A unique opportunity to prove that creative social enterprise makes places better

Building on Hackney Wick and Fish Island’s designation as a Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ), the Creative Wick Living Lab will identify, model and help to replicate best practice in inclusive, sustainable urban regeneration. This is even more urgent in the current Covid-19 crisis as we look towards supporting a rapid economic recovery.

The Living Lab will be a collaborative endeavour that brings together local higher education institutions, the development sector, businesses, brands and community stakeholders to engage in research projects and experiments that explore how social and creative enterprise can build sustainable communities.

network outdoor event

The Living Lab will test the theory that responsible development plus social enterprise can deliver sustainable, ‘inside out’, positive regeneration.

Hackney Wick and Fish Island has one of the largest grassroots artist communities in the world plus a high concentration of social enterprise, non-profit and 3rd sector businesses. It also has a strong heritage of innovation, enterprise and creativity dating from the industrial revolution. 

With the addition of new neighbours like Here East and the East Bank Culture & Education District and new residents moving in to the large housing developments in the area, not all regeneration is seen as positive. Some fear that the existing creative economy will be lost with its collaborative, independent, valuable, supportive, diverse, vibrant, inclusive, highly effective community. Covid-19 now presents a further existential threat to existing social and economic structures.

With the unique advantage of a ‘live’ setting and with Creative Wick’s unrivalled 10 years of accumulated local knowledge, access to local networks and evidence, the Living Lab will:

-  Prototype and test practical examples of inclusive, positive sustainable development
-  Demonstrate the role played by the local creative economy and the social impact of grass-roots collaboration
-  Identify models of best practice with the potential to be shared and replicated elsewhere

The first research project is a collaboration with Loughborough University London. Covid-19 and Creative Clusters: A real-time study of the impact of Covid-19 on creative businesses.

"We need each other more then ever" report now available.

For more information or to get involved please contact hello@creativewick.com


Supporters: 

Clare Richards, Founder ft’work Trust:
"ft’work Trust facilitates community-led initiatives that build positive regeneration and we are delighted to be an ongoing funder of Creative Wick’s Living Lab project. The importance of this innovative idea - from the Cultural Interest Group, a long-established and trusted local network that could almost be the model for a 21st Century chamber of commerce - is not just in capturing and learning from its experience in confronting the impact of rapid urban development, in real time, but also in sharing that knowledge as widely as possible." 


Peter Holbrook CBE, CEO Social Enterprise UK:
“Hackney Wick and Fish Island already has one of the highest concentrations of social enterprise businesses in the UK. Creative Wick’s Living Lab provides the opportunity to bring this sector together with local stakeholders, developers and academic partners to research and share innovative ways of building sustainable communities. This is an initiative that SEUK wholeheartedly supports"

Ben Rogers, Director, Centre for London:
"The Centre for London is always looking for innovative ways of building cohesive and resilient urban neighbourhoods. I very much look forward to collaborating with the Creative Wick Living Lab and its academic and community partners to identify, research and promote best practice in regenerative creative placemaking"

Helen Goulden, CEO, The Young Foundation:
The Creative Wick Living Lab represents a step-change in the way we think about collaboration and partnerships to support thriving communities and economic recovery. There is no shortage of need for more creative capacity, community confidence and cross-sector collaborations to shift us towards a kinder, more resilient economic model – and The Young Foundation is excited by the possibility of working alongside, and with Creative Wick to test, learn and share what works.