A unique workspace at the University of Suffolk has relaunched under the name Waterfront Studios.
Formerly Atrium Studios the creative hub provides space, facilities and support to a wide range of artists and small businesses.
Waterfront Studios runs on a membership model and regularly brings together a wide range of freelance skills to meet business requirements. The space consolidates the University of Suffolk’s position at the heart of the business, creative and artistic life of Ipswich.
Members range from fine art artists, event managers, website designers and graphic designers to copywriters and even a medieval sword fighting instructor.
Artists from Waterfront Studios have recently collaborated on an exhibition which is on display at Prettys solicitors in Ipswich.
One of those involved is University of Suffolk BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Adam Riches. He said “A lot of people here are graduates so there is still that link with the University as well as being on the same site as the University. There is a community feel, I know a lot of the people and I’m still involved in different projects that are going on for example the paint symposium that is coming up in July. My current project that I am working on is about war and the victims of it.”
Fellow artist Rhoda Webb also uses the Waterfront Studios “I have quite a large space; I find compared to studio spaces elsewhere it is quite economical really. It is a good place to work, what I like about it is that although I work alone and my work is quite meditative and private in some ways it is quite good to have others around you, so you have the best of both worlds. You’ve got your own area but you can still interact. You get a lot of stimulation by having the other artists around. There is another artist here and because our work is complementary we are looking to exhibit together.”
Alongside the ‘messy’ areas for the fine art artists is ‘clean’ space for businesses such as Staqful, a web and software development company run by Jason White. He said “It’s very central and there are a broad range of people here, I get the opportunity to work as part of a collective. I am currently working on a project with some other members; a copywriter, graphic artist and web designer. Between us we are taking on digital agency jobs which as individuals we otherwise wouldn’t be able to do as easily. Before joining Waterfront Studios I was working from my spare bedroom in my cottage in the middle of nowhere so it can be quite lonely and it’s really good to meet people and to have a vibrant environment. It’s good to have people who aren’t related to my business as well, it’s quite nice to have artists around because they provide another dimension to my surroundings.”
University of Suffolk Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, Business and Applied Social Science, Professor Simon Hallsworth said “As a University we take innovation and enterprise seriously. We don’t just teach students how to be business ready, for example through our business school, we provide spaces where businesses can set themsleves up, thrive and flourish. Waterfront Studios has been doing this successfully and by rebranding it and relaunching it today it draws the attention from the community to the creative community we have created and sustained here. This is unique space and a dynamic community.”
Carol Gant from the University said “The studios are able to bring together a wide range of freelance skills to create a bespoke service to meet customer’s needs. This collaborative approach defines the studios and makes it unique by providing an ‘agency’ service with freelance passion and agility.”
Suffolk Chair for the Institute of Directors, Graham Kill, attended the relaunch and said “I think a space like this where you have this collaboration of all sorts of disciplines is a true point of differentiation. The best things innovative wise come out of the margins of different disciplines working together, if its humanities and science or whatever it might be. I think what we have here is those people from different disciplines from the highly creative, ‘the messy artist’, to web designers and people who are working in a much more structured fashion. That collaboration, I think, has great potential.”
To find out more about Waterfront Studios please visit https://www.uos.ac.uk/waterfrontstudios
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