our mission: to bring artists and culture to our highstreets
In return for the free space, creatives organise public events, supporting the locality & benefiting the high street.
Hypha Studios emerged as an idea during the pandemic, prompted by the three-sided problem of increasing high street vacancies, loss of community spaces and deteriorating conditions for artists and creatives. Founded by Camilla Cole and Will Jennings, both curators, the non-profit organisation was set up with three core objectives: one, to bring culture and engagements in the arts to the public throughout the UK, two, to help landowners keep their assets alive through an injection of local creativity; and three, to help artists unlock new bounds of creativity by unlocking vacant units, free of charge.
OUR VISION: FOR ALL COMMUNITIES TO ENGAGE WITH ART ON THEIR DOORSTEP
We have seen the powerful effect that art and cultural engagement can have in communities. The arts foster community ownership, cohesion, and a sense of pride, and where communities have fewer economic resources the arts create social capital and support equitable development.
Individuals benefit from attending and participating in cultural programmes and activities.
Effects of which can be seen as:
Engagement, energy and tension, concentration, captivation, absorption
Personal resonance, emotional connection, empathy, inspiration
Learning, thinking, provocation, challenge, intellectual stimulation
Aesthetic growth, discovery, aesthetic validation, creative stimulation
Social connectedness, sense of belonging, shared experience, social bridging, social bonding
Acting as a mediator between landowners and artists, Hypha Studios has set up a model that breaks down traditional barriers standing in the way of collaboration. By providing a standard approach and quality guarantee, they have made the idea of short-term lets tenable to landlords and the application process accessible to artists.
The process looks something like this:
1. Landlords confirm when and where they have an empty unit and negotiate the overall lease terms with Hypha.
2. Hypha sends out an open call for local artists, be they visual artists, curators, musicians, actors, dancers, or choreographers.
3. A local cultural partner is usually enlisted to advise on the selection of artists. Candidates that have a strong connection to the site and may face significant disadvantages to accessing space in any other way are generally prioritised. Candidates are also required to outline how they will give back to the local community, for example through the hosting of a workshop.
4. Successful candidates are invited to sign an agreement for a rent-free space under the agreed terms and conditions.
5. By providing social media support and networking opportunities, Hypha is also invested in making each tenancy count.
HOW WE DO IT:
We are an organisation led by artists and curators with an extensive network of art industry professionals, with years of curatorial expertise. We have a considered matchmaking process for each property and artist that we work with, selecting the best creative projects for the space, whether it is large or small, short or long term.
We are proud to support the cultural sector with more than £1.5m worth of free space at a time gallery closures, and funding cuts to the arts, which then not only impacts the lives and careers of the artist work with, but our free events engage local communties across the country.
We are able to deliver Hypha Studios’ work thanks to the generosity of donors. To learn more about supporting our work head to SUPPORT US
Without the support of Trusts and Foundations such as the Rothschild Foundation we would not be able to carry out our work. We believe that artists should be able to use space for free and that cultural work is valuable: for the public, society and education; to sustain commercial regrowth and civic centres; and to innovate and nurture new expressions of creativity and communication.
We thank the Rothschild Foundation for their support so that we can bring culture to more communities and provide support to more creatives who otherwise may struggle to emerge in a difficult environment through provision of opportunities, space, support and public visibility.
See us in action! Footage from our recent space in East Village Stratford in partnership with Get Living.
We had over 250 applications from brilliant local artists to take over a former 8k sqft Sainsbury’s – selected by the landlords and other cultural partners. The selected artists will use the space for free, producing two exhibitions at a time, on a rolling basis, delivering brilliant events for the local community – including medieval karaoke and a paper sword making workshop!