About Cockpit Arts
Cockpit Arts is the UK’s only creative business incubator for craftspeople and an award winning social enterprise.
Can't find what you are looking for? These are questions we are frequently asked by makers.
We support craft practitioners at the start of their careers, as well as those who are more established, to grow and build successful and thriving businesses both in the UK and internationally. We work with a wide range of talented individuals, including master craftspeople, artist-makers, batch producers and more scalable businesses. All have a commitment to business growth, creative development and also demonstrate excellence in craft skill and imagination.
There must be a craft basis to the work you are designing and producing and a significant 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 be aiming to retain the majority of production in the UK in the future.
An artist-maker’s practice is based in craft and explores ideas and concepts. The artist may, at the same time, design and produce a range of functional products.
There must be a craft basis to the work. Sometimes it is down to the individual as to how they define their practice. We are interested in makers with a more conceptual practice, however a craft element is an essential requirement.
If you are in any doubt as to your eligibility, please contact one of the studio managers to discuss your practice:
Holborn – Adrian Lee firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7419 1959
Deptford – Beckie Kingman email@example.com 020 8692 4463
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.
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 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; environmental considerations and what difference being at Cockpit will make to your practice/business and creative development. If you make it through to stage two, we will invite you to an interview to meet our selection panel, show your work and talk about your vision for the future.
Please note: As part of the criteria for selecting applicants we will consider the ethical and reputational consequences of our so doing and any implications acceptance may have for the reputation, security or wellbeing of Cockpit Arts, its studio holders, stakeholders and visitors to our premises.
You can download an application form here >
The process from a successful application submission to moving into a studio takes about two to three months.
No, once you have been accepted, if we can fulfil your studio requirements we can usually accommodate you immediately.
The information you provide should be appropriate to answer the five criteria set out in the application guidelines. There is a 300 word limit on each answer; 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.
Applications are assessed on a number of criteria including the craft skill involved in your work, your plans for your creative and business development, and why you are applying to Cockpit Arts at this time. If your application is unsuccessful you may need to develop in one of these areas. We try to give written feedback whenever possible and would welcome another application from you once you feel you can illustrate progression as suggested. Being successful after several attempts is not unusual and we will endeavour to offer guidance if we think your application is too early.
BUSINESS INCUBATION AND SUPPORT
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 makers who want to grow and become more successful and at the same time develop creatively.
Induction and Business diagnostics shortly after your start date.
An annual partnership review with your business coach, looking at your financial and other data for the previous year and setting out goals for the next 12 months.
Participation in our Christmas and Summer Open Studios.
Listing your business on our online maker directory.
Cooperation with requests for feedback via our surveys and questionnaires.
Participation in ‘Meet the Maker’ evening events with Cockpit Arts’ Supporters.
You are required to arrange and pay for your own public liability (minimum £5m) and third party insurance.
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 makers to succeed.
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
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)
Workshops and seminars
One to ones with industry experts
PR & Sales
Open Studios public selling events
Profile raising events and campaigns
Exclusive studio tours with selling opportunities
Online maker directory and e-marketing
Brand association and use of the Markers Mark
As Cockpit Arts is a social enterprise, all of this is provided as a comprehensive package lower than commercial rates.
Every 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 Toolkit to guide you through the early stages of setting up your business. You have access to 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.
We take a person-centred approach, which means you will receive a bespoke package of support whatever stage of career you are at. In addition to receiving a Toolkit and support in creating your development plan, established businesses will typically tap into access to Specialist Advisors, advice about being an employer and access to finance. You will 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.
Cockpit Arts offers workshops to makers based outside of our incubators through specific programmes and by application only. Our current programme is London Creative Network, delivered in partnership with Space Studios. For further information, please contact Imogen Lawry at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cockpit Arts provides coaching to makers based outside of our incubators by application to specific programmes, currently the London Creative Network, delivered in partnership with Space Studios. For further information contact Imogen Lawry at email@example.com
Only makers based at our studios and Cockpit Arts Alumni exhibit at our Open Studios events.
STUDIOS, PREMISES AND EQUIPMENT
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 makers involved. This creates a stimulating space with opportunities for sharing ideas, networking and collaboration.
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
Cockpit Arts Deptford
London SE8 3DZ
T 020 8692 4463
Access to our serviced office is available from Monday-Friday. This provides you with facilities that include: photocopier; 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 makers based at our incubators to exchange opportunities, news, share experiences, skills and advice.
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.
No, we offer a package only.
Single studios are very much in demand by existing studio-holders wishing to move. Preference will only be given to new joiners under special circumstances, e.g. for processes that are not suitable for a shared space.
At present Cockpit Arts does not have a formal exit policy; however our incubator processes are designed to enable makers to expand outside Cockpit Arts in due course. After five years the licence fees increase each year for a further five years.
It is a licence agreement rather than a tenancy. The Licence may be terminated by either 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.
The incubator process is exactly the same. The two sites differ in architecture and layout only.
The Licence fee is comprised of the Incubator package fee and the core education and training services fee.
The Licence fee is charged by the square foot so you pay for the amount of space you need, although there is a minimum. This fee varies according to location; either £25.65 plus VAT (Deptford) or £31.00 (Holborn, VAT exempt) per square foot per annum.
The core education and training services fee also varies according to location, either £19.58 plus VAT (Deptford) or £23.50 ( Holborn, VAT exempt) per month (to September 2019).
Here is an example of what you might expect to pay in total, per month, for a place at Cockpit Arts (prices are current to September 2019):
Based on a 100ft² studio:
100 x £31.00 = £3,100 / 12 months = £258.33 per month
Add £23.50 core services fee
Total = £281.83 per month (VAT exempt)
Based on a 100ft² studio:
100 x £25.65 = £2,565 / 12 months = £213.75 plus VAT per month
Add £19.58 core services fee (plus VAT)
Total = £233.33 plus VAT per month
Yes. In October each year the studio rates do increase slightly in line with the rate of inflation. This inflation based increase applies to all studio holders. In addition, once you have been at Cockpit Arts for over 5 years, an incremental increase is applied to your licence fee each year. Due to the business development support you will have received in that time, your business should have grown to be able to accommodate an increased licence charge.
Each studio has an electricity meter and the studio-holders in it split the cost of the electricity between them. Kilns and other high-use tools or equipment are metered separately. There is a charge for the photocopying you do. There is also a nominal charge for a communal music licence and rubbish removal for the Open Studios twice a year.
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.
All our studios and the support services are subsidised by Cockpit Arts. 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.