ehk! was invited by Workshop East, a shared workshop for professional makers in Newham, East London, to collaborate on a study on shared makerspaces in London for the Greater London Authority and the London Legacy Development Corporation.
The study’s aim was to provide as representative and complete a picture as possible of co-making spaces in London: to show the breadth of enterprises and activities taking place, as well as to give examples of individual organisations and explore the types of space from which they operate and how this impacts on their role in supporting makers’ businesses and building community. A key driver was to understand the benefits of affordable, shared workspace for makers, and the pressures on existing spaces.
Following an initial audit that involved contact being made with over 120 spaces, 89 were chosen for inclusion in the study and detailed data was then gathered via in-depth questionnaires and interviews with the selected organisations. Over 25 organisations were visited in person.
Case studies of five workshops of different disciplines were carried out:
- Blackhorse Workshop: woodwork, metalwork and other disciplines
- Workshop East: woodwork and stone masonry
- London Print Studio: printmaking
- Create Space: mixed disciplines, artist studios
- North Street Potters: pottery
ehk! carried out a spatial analysis of four of these spaces, touching on issues such as location, access, building type, fit out, hierarchy of spaces, discipline specific space requirements and shared vs. private work spaces.
Our research involved a deep engagement with these workshops, and outputs included urban context diagrams, general building layouts showing shared facilities and workspaces, as well as very detailed work bench layouts that highlighted the difference between the various disciplines studied.
The quantitative research has fed into an interactive map of workspaces in London created by the Greater London Authority. The full report was published by the Crafts Council and can be downloaded here.