Barbican creates new digital lab in east London

A new arts space for emerging creatives is to be established in Hackney, East London.

Led by the Barbican, Fish Island Labs will provide space for 50 practitioners who using digital technology in their work.

The initiative is being launched in partnership with The Trampery, a social enterprise which creates shared work spaces in London. Fish Island Labs will be based in a Victorian warehouse by the River Lea, close to the Olympic Stadium.

An open call has been issued for the first 10-month programme, the only criterion being that all applicants must demonstrate they are ‘pushing creative boundaries and using new technologies in some way’.

Read: Our exclusive series on repurposed spaces 

Along with the space to develop work, participants will receive opportunities to showcase work at the Barbican, one-to-one mentoring from established practitioners, and exclusive workshops.

Fish Island Labs interior
Warehouse interior of Fish Island Labs

Fees for a desk space are set at GBP180 (€221) per month (ex VAT), and GBP400 per month (ex VAT) for exclusive use of a studio. Bursaries are available for those who cannot afford the fees, whilst 15 places will be prioritised for those already living in the area.

Read: Does co-working allow more space for creativity? 

Charles Armstrong, founder and director of The Trampery said: ‘As digital technology opens the door to creative possibilities across an ever-widening spectrum of disciplines, we have a fascinating opportunity to bring people together from different backgrounds and practices and see what they create together.

‘Fish Island Labs remakes the structure of a tech accelerator for the new generation of digital arts. Over the next year we’re setting out to discover the brightest new talents, regardless of background, and help them to develop their projects and their careers. It’s hard to think of a more exciting way to build on the cross-disciplinary explosion unleashed by Hack the Barbican last summer.’

The Barbican will also run Creative Learning workshops at the Labs for young, emerging and mid-career artists.