About Cockpit Arts
Cockpit Arts is an award winning social enterprise and the UK’s only creative-business incubator for designer-makers.
Can't find what you are looking for? These are questions we are frequently asked by designer-makers.
Q1. How can I get an application pack?
A. You can download an application pack here >
Q2. Who can have a studio at Cockpit Arts?
A. We house a dynamic network of both established designer-makers and those who are just starting out. All have a commitment to business growth and creative development and also demonstrate excellence in craft skill and imagination. There is currently an eclectic mix of jewellers, silversmiths, ceramicists, glass artists, fashion designers, product designers and more.
Q3. What does Cockpit Arts mean by designer-maker?
A. When Cockpit Arts talks about designer-makers we mean a business which designs and makes a large percentage of the final product. There must be a craft basis to the work you are designing and producing and a large proportion of the craft production should be undertaken by you and or craft based outworkers/ suppliers, rather than outsourced to commercial manufacturers. The majority of the craft production should take place in the UK and you should aim to retain the majority of production in the UK in the future.
Q4. I’m a fine artist/sculptor/photographer product designer/illustrator. Can I get a studio at Cockpit Arts?
A. There must be a craft basis to the work. Sometimes it is down to the individual as to how they define their practice. If you are in any doubt as to your eligibility, please contact one of the studio managers to discuss your practice.
Adrian Lee, Studio Manager Holborn
T 020 7419 1959
Beckie Kingman, Studio Manager Deptford
T 020 8692 4463
Q5. I am a fashion designer – am I eligible to apply?
A. One of the main criteria for selection is that the fashion must have a craft basis, and therefore we have a leaning towards fashion designers whose work is bespoke or produced in small batches, rather than mass manufactured. Fashion designers who are aiming to have their work produced in large quantities often require specialist business support as well as financial investment.
Q6. How does Cockpit Arts select designer-makers?
A. There is a two-stage application process. At stage one the selection committee appraises every application that we receive against our selection criteria. To be considered eligible, you have to be a designer-maker with a craft basis to the work you are designing and producing. We also look for evidence of craft skill and imagination; commitment to business growth and creative development; financial security and what difference being at Cockpit will make to your practice and business. If you make it through to stage two, we will invite you to an interview to meet our selection committee, show your work and talk about your vision for the future. We make a final decision based on the outcome of the interview.
Q7. How long does the application process take?
A. The application deadlines, interview dates and start dates can be found on the website. The process from application deadline to moving into a studio takes about two months.
Q8. Is there a waiting list?
A. No, once you have been accepted, if we can fulfill your studio requirements we can usually accommodate you immediately.
Q9. What level of information do I need to provide in the application form?
A. The information you provide should be appropriate to evidence the five criteria set out in the application guidelines. There is no word count; you should use your own judgment and ensure that you have provided enough evidence to allow us to make the best decision. We do not require a detailed business plan, but do submit a copy if you have one, along with a CV containing relevant information.
Q10. What is a creative business incubator?
A. Business incubators are programmes designed to accelerate the successful development of businesses through an array of support resources and services. At Cockpit Arts our Incubator Package is specifically for designer-makers like you who want to become more successful and at the same time develop creatively.
Q11. How do you know that incubators work?
A. The incubator model has been tried and tested. According to research by UKBI, on average, 98.7% of businesses working with an incubator succeed, with 87% still operating after five years. In contrast, less than half of all businesses nationally will achieve long-term success. At Cockpit Arts we carefully monitor and evaluate the impact of our services to ensure that they provide good results. Read the case studies to find out how we have helped designer-makers to succeed.
Q.12 What support resources and services do you give at Cockpit Arts?
A. At Cockpit Arts our incubator package includes the following services:
Affordable creative studio space
Managed studio within a creative environment
Office facilities and resource library
Wellbeing and social events
A team of on-site coaches
One-to-one business support
Peer-to-peer action learning
Ingenious Growth Loan Fund
Cockpit Associates (referral to specialist advisers)
* Making It Programme
* New Creative Markets programme
PR & Sales
Open Studios public selling events
Profile raising events and campaigns
Exclusive studio tours with selling opportunities
Online designer-maker directory and e-marketing
Brand association and use of the Markers Mark
* Also available to designer-makers based outside of Cockpit Arts
As Cockpit Arts is a social enterprise, all of this is provided as a comprehensive package lower than commercial rates.
Q13. I am a start-up business, how can an Incubator help me?
A. Every designer-maker who joins Cockpit receives an initial diagnostic to identify their business and personal development needs. We then help you create a development plan and provide you with a Making It Toolkit to guide you through the early stages of setting up your business. You also have access to Making It workshops and seminars and one-to-one coaching, as well as selling and promotional opportunities, including our twice yearly Open Studios. This is all in addition to being based within a managed studio environment with access to office facilities, PCs and wireless broadband.
Q14. I am an established business, how can an Incubator help me?
A. We take a person-centred approach, which means you will receive a bespoke package of support whatever stage of business you are at. In addition to receiving the Making It Toolkit and support in creating your development plan, established businesses will typically tap into one-to-one coaching, our Business Growth Loan Fund, and promotional and selling opportunities including Open Studios. You will of course benefit from being part of a dynamic and creative community with all the benefits of a managed studio environment, including office facilities, PCs and wireless broadband.
Q15. What are the studios like at Cockpit Arts?
A. Our Incubator buildings are light and airy, and full of character and creative buzz. The studios have 24/7 access, 365 days a year. All have natural light, electricity and WIFI access. The majority are shared by between two and five people, though there are some single studios. We take time and care to find the best possible studio pairings, which best meet the needs of all designer-makers involved. This creates a stimulating space with opportunities for sharing ideas, networking and collaboration.
Q16. What office facilities and resources do you provide?
A. Access to our serviced office is available from Monday-Friday. This provides you with facilities that include: receipt of post and parcels; photocopier; a meeting room; and a large education space that you can hire. There is also a resource room with computers and a reference library that carries style and trade magazines as well as useful information about starting and running a business. We have an exclusive ‘Google group’ which serves as an intranet for designer-makers based at our incubators to exchange opportunities, news, share experiences, skills and advice.
Q17. Do you provide equipment for making?
A. No, we do not provide equipment, other than that provided to Awardees as part of a sponsorship arrangement (currently providing shared access to looms and leatherworking equipment), and you are expected to equip your own studio as you wish and require.
Q18. Can I have a studio without the other Incubator benefits?
A. No, we offer a package only.
Q19. How much does a studio at Cockpit Arts cost?
A. The Licence fee is comprised of the Incubator package fee and the core services fee. The Incubator fee is charged by the square foot so you pay for the amount of space you need, although there is a minimum. The fee varies according to location, either £23.50 (not including VAT) or £28.35 (including VAT) per square foot per annum. The core services fee also varies according to location, either £19.58 or £23.50 per month (to September 2015). Here is an example of what you might expect to pay in total, per month for a place at Cockpit Arts in:
Based on a 100ft² studio:
100 x £28.35 = £2,835 / 12 months = £236.25
Add £23.50 core services fee
Total = £259.75 per month (VAT exempt)
Based on a 100ft² studio:
100 x £23.50 = £2,350 / 12 months = £195.83 plus VAT
Add £19.58 core services fee
Total = £215.41 plus VAT per month
Q20. What other charges are there?
A. Each studio has an electricity meter and the studio-holders in it split the cost of the electricity between them. Kilns are metered separately. There is a charge for the photocopying you do and the faxes you send. There is also a nominal charge for a communal music licence and rubbish removal for the Open Studios twice a year.
Q21. Are studios at Cockpit less expensive than other studios?
A. Cockpit Arts is a social enterprise, which means we plough our profits back into the services we provide. Therefore our fees are lower than commercial rates making the incubator package affordable.
Q22. Can I have a subsidised studio?
A. From time to time we are able to offer sponsored Awards to applicants who are in greatest need of financial support, in addition to other Awards focusing on specific crafts or type of business. Check the website regularly for updates.
Q23. Can I get a single studio?
A. Single studios are very much in demand, both from existing studio-holders wishing to move and new applicants. Preference will be given to businesses that use processes that are not suitable for a shared space.
Q24. How long can you have a studio for? / Is there an exit policy?
A. At present Cockpit Arts does not have a formal exit policy; however our incubator processes are designed to enable designer-makers to expand outside Cockpit Arts in due course. After five years the licence fees increase each year for a further five years.
Q25. What are the terms e.g. month’s notice?
A. It is a licence agreement rather than a tenancy. The Licence may be terminated by party, giving at least one, full, calendar month’s notice in writing to the other party to terminate the Licence on the last day of the month.
Q26. What can I do if my application is rejected?
A. We provide feedback when asked after the interview stage. If the panel feels that your practice or business requires more development we will recommend that you consider booking onto our Making It workshop and seminar programme, and having a look at our Making It Online Resource and e-newsletter, which is packed full of designer-maker business advice
Q27. What is the difference between the incubators in Holborn and Deptford?
A. The incubator process is exactly the same. The two sites differ in architecture and layout only.
Q28. Can I attend workshops or seminar if I don’t have a studio at Cockpit Arts?
A. Yes, but in most cases you should be a designer-maker with your own business. The best way to find out about the Making It workshops and seminars and who they are for is to visit our ‘Book Workshops and Seminars’ page on our website. If you would like any more information then please contact Imogen Gray, Business Information Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q29. Can I have one-to-one business development coaching if I don’t have a studio at Cockpit Arts?
A. We cannot offer one-to-one support to non-studio-holders. There are several organisations that do so however, depending on your discipline.
Q30. Can I show my work at Open Studios if I don’t have a studio at Cockpit Arts?
A. Only designer-makers based at our studios and Cockpit Arts Alumni exhibit at our Open Studios events.
Q31. Where are you based?
A. Our incubators are based in Holborn, WC1, close to the Hatton Garden jewellery quarter; and in Deptford SE8, at the centre of an exciting community of artists and craftspeople.
Cockpit Arts Holborn and Head Office
London WC1N 2NP
T 020 7419 1959
F 020 7916 2455
Cockpit Arts Deptford
London SE8 3DZ
T 020 8692 4463
F 020 8692 3735