Barbican turns hand to creating Fish Island Labs for technology and arts

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 June 2014

Converted Victorian warehouse by the Lea at Hackney Wick

Converted Victorian warehouse by the Lea at Hackney Wick


The Barbican has gone into partnership with east London’s Trampery workspace innovators to create a new centre to kickstart emerging business talent in technology and the arts.

They have converted a Victorian warehouse by the River Lea at Hackney Wick into the Fish Island Labs project, to develop technologies in the next 10 months for everything from sculpture and installations to coding, film-editing and digital art.

Opportunities will include onsite showcases and presenting work at the Barbican.

Creative learning projects will be run by the Barbican for emerging and mid-career artists, youngsters aged 14 to 25 and for social events, with seminars on fundraising, entrepreneurship and social engagement.

“Fish Island Labs is an investment in the next generation of artists,” the Barbican’s Sean Gregory explained. “It also continues our long history of programming work in neighbouring areas of east London.”

The project includes mentoring from leading figures in the worlds of art, technology and business as well as workshops on intellectual property, social media and crowdfunding. Onsite showcases are planned with work also being presented at the Barbican.

Trampery’s founder Charles Armstrong said: “We’re setting out to discover the brightest new talents, regardless of background.

“We want to help them develop their projects and careers with digital technology which opens the door to bring people together from different backgrounds and practices to see what they create together.”

The project—a partnership with Mile End’s Queen Mary college, Hackney Wick Fish Island Cultural Interest Group, Here East, Loughborough University, Lovebox festival, Open Vizor, and The Hive—follows last year’s ‘Hack the Barbican’ takeover which explored the blurred lines between the arts and technology.

Bursaries are available from applicants from a wide range of backgrounds wanting to join Fish Island Labs, while 15 places are going to people currently living or working in Hackney Wick and Old Ford.

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