To connect and inform the local creative sector to demonstrate that creative placemaking leads to a stronger, more resilient and better-connected community

The Cultural Interest Group

The Cultural Interest Group (CIG) meets every second Friday of the month at 9.30-11am at various venues and online. The CIG gives equal access and an equal voice to local residents, businesses, artists, entrepreneurs, cultural and education institutions, local authority councillors and officers as well as the development sector. 

The CIG newsletter

The CIG newsletter goes out every Thursday afternoon.
It includes local events, classes, exhibitions, programmes, call-outs, opportunities and area updates as well as funding and job opportunities.

Please feel free to contact us or forward some text and highres image that you would like to be included in the newsletter to by 5pm on Wednesday for inclusion the next day.

Access the archives from the past ten years.

Read the vast track record of progress, discussion and actions which has been instigated during and after the CIG meetings. 

Organised in year and month for easy access, this portal will be updated regularly. Please do check back for added past meeting documents.

The history of the Cultural Interest Group

London's 2004 bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 contained the promise that: “The most enduring legacy of the Olympics will be the regeneration of an entire community for the direct benefit of everyone who lives there”.

Hackney Wick and Fish Island was once a thriving Victorian industrial factory town producing petrol, plastics, chemicals, inks, dyes and confectionery but by 2004 it had one of the highest concentrations of artists, makers, creative practitioners and artist studios in the world.

The CIG was founded in 2010 to build a local network of stakeholders with the shared goal of "Creating a vibrant inclusive creative community in Hackney Wick, Fish Island and the wider Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park area through sustainable engagement and support" as a way of preserving the creative soul of the neighbourhood in the face of large-scale regeneration. The CIG adopted the role of helping to facilitate the conditions in which HWFI's valuable grassroots creative cluster could take an active role in the regeneration process as a key stakeholder rather than be displaced by it.

Today, the CIG supports the local creative economy by encouraging mutually beneficial relationships between creative practitioners, residents, businesses, the public sector, the 3rd sector, academic, cultural and creative institutes and the development sector.


Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, London:
“Home to some of the capital’s most awe-inspiring artists, musicians and designers, East London is synonymous with nurturing its creative communities, maintaining its reputation as one of the city’s most exciting cultural melting pots. Since 2010, the Hackney Wick and Fish Island Cultural Interest Group has been positively contributing to this rich and diverse landscape, building meaningful relationships with creatives, local authorities and developers and helping to raise the profile of the area’s Creative Enterprise Zone (established 2018), while at the same time striving to preserve the identity of existing neighbourhoods. This work will be more valuable than ever as the plans for East Bank – one of the world’s largest and most ambitious culture and education districts – are realised, opening up even more opportunities for local residents.”

Bobby Kasanga, Founder, Hackney Wick Football Club:
“The CIG has been a key factor in the growth of Hackney Wick Football Club. It has allowed us to connect to sponsors and collaborate with brands such as Aitch Group, Nike, HeyBigMan! and The Wickers Charity. It’s an important and impactful organisation to be a part of in the local area.”

Munira Mirza, former Deputy Mayor of London, now Director of Policy at Number 10 Downing Street said:
"Over the last twenty years, East London has seen a remarkable transformation and nowhere more so than Hackney Wick. The area is home to one of the largest concentrations of artists in Europe as well as the site of extensive regeneration near to the Olympic Park. That both these elements co-exist is down to the extraordinary work of the Hackney Wick and Fish Island Cultural Interest Group led by William Chamberlain, which has worked to protect the creative energy of the area. It has galvanised local groups and artists, engaged intelligently with councils and developers and made the case for improvements. This model of local cultural entrepreneurship is vital if London is to remain a world capital for culture."

Councillor Christopher Kennedy of London Borough of Hackney said:
“The Hackney Wick and Fish Island Cultural Interest Group has my full and whole-hearted endorsement. Since its inception it has been the go-to forum for those wanting to meet residents, creatives, businesses, developers and politicians. As a local Hackney Wick politician it has put me in touch with the movers and shakers beyond the boundaries of my own ward in a way in which no other organisation has. It is an invaluable forum for challenging the established norms of regeneration policy and I believe it has played an important part in forging Hackney’s approach to the preservation of affordable work-space. As this area of London booms in the post-Olympic era, the CIG is a vital voice for the local businesses and creative artists who first led the area’s renaissance”.

The CIG core principles

- To help establish a permanent, sustainable, creative community in Hackney Wick and Fish Island
- To support the sustainable artist led regeneration of Hackney Wick and Fish Island
- To protect the availability of affordable workspace for creative practitioners
- To provide a regular forum to facilitate relationship building, partnership forming, sharing of resources and collaboration between all members of the community
- To provide a link between the creative community and local stakeholders: LLDC, LBTH, LBH, and GLA
- To facilitate fundraising, grant applications and public sector financing of the local creative economy
- To bring together a wide range of partners to promote Hackney Wick and Fish Island
- To ensure that the heritage of Hackney Wick and Fish Island informs its future
- To enable the community to take more control of its own future, and develop a genuine legacy for generations to come
- To help create a community that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable
- To help create a high-quality, well-designed environment that creates a strong sense of identity and belonging and a vibrant public realm
- To create commercial partnerships to fund social and entrepreneurial initiatives
- To partner the community, the private and the public sector as joint stakeholders to enable local people to directly invest in local development

The CIG Code of Conduct

Hackney Wick & Fish Island Cultural Interest Group (CIG) suggests a Code of Conduct for all corporate bodies, commercial entities, brands, institutions,charities, established social enterprises, not-for-profit organisations, investors and developers wanting to operate in and engage with local residents, artists, creative practitioners, makers, designers, workspace providers, businesses and arts and cultural institutions (the HWFI creative sector) to ensure that mutually beneficial relationships are established based on respect, honesty, integrity and trust.

The CIG Code of Conduct seeks to ensure:
That commercial, public sector, third sector and institutional entities operating in the HWFI creative sector deliver a tangible economic benefit at grassroots level – no one is asked or expected to work for free;
That commercial, public sector, third sector and institutional entities join the CIG or a similar local network and that they publicly sign up to a minimum of 4 of the 7 options.

The CIG Code of Conduct:
1) Local sourcing of employment, skills, training, talent, supply chain and services wherever possible;
2) Pro-active support and promotion of Hackney Wick and Fish Island as one of London’s foremost authentic centres of art, culture and creativity;
3) Provision of access to networks, expertise and knowledge including key personnel for board, trustee or advisory roles to the HWFI creative sector;
4) Development of commercial partnerships, joint ventures and other economic opportunities with the HWFI creative sector for mutual growth and benefit;
5) Formation of sustainable reinvestment loops to ensure that a minimum percentage of profit generated in the HWFI creative sector is reinvested locally;

For Property Owners, Landlords and Developers:
6) Sign up to a public register of responsible landlords with self-imposed caps on workspace rent increases as well as residential rent/leases for creative practitioners (suggested maximum increase linked to rpi or similar);
7) Provision of an agreed minimum level of affordable workspace and/or housing for creative practitioners and residents in all new developments.

CIG Terms of Reference:
1) The Cultural Interest Group (CIG) is the regular, private sector led networking meeting of Hackney Wick and Fish Island’s (HWFI) stakeholder community and particularly those involved in the arts, culture and creative practice as their business.
2) The CIG is seeking to facilitate a permanent, sustainable, creative economy in HWFI, particularly for those residents, businesses and institutions with an interest in the long-term success of the arts, culture and creativity in the area.
3) The 5 pillars of the CIG are: Art and Culture, Education and Training, Enterprise and Innovation, Environment and Community, Health and Wellbeing.
4) CIG meetings are non-incorporated, informal, open-membership, open-agenda and apolitical and take place monthly (on the second Friday of every month) during business hours at different locations in and around HWFI.
5) The CIG seeks to provide a level playing field with equal access to relationships with public sector stakeholders, institutions, developers and commercial organisations.
6) The CIG seeks to enable all members to build a sustainable creative economy in HWFI through networking, relationship and partnership building, resource sharing, capacity building and the exchange of information and opportunities across all sectors of the community.
7) Residents, creative practitioners, businesses, institutions, landowners, developers and all other stakeholders are encouraged to join the CIG by attending meetings and developing their own relationships with its members.
8) CIG members are encouraged to submit news, contacts, information and opportunities to the CIG mailing list for circulation to the wider CIG community subject to a preferred frequency of no more than one email per day.
9) The Company hosts the CIG mailing list as well as the website and is responsible for keeping both up to date.
10) To become a CIG member, simply attend a meeting or provide a current email address to the CIG mailing list (info(at) To leave the CIG simply request to be removed from the mailing list.