16th October 2019

This month we’ve proudly launched Cockpit’s new Make It! programme – offering three London-based makers aged 16 – 25 the space and support to build their own craft-based business. Selected makers will receive their own studio space at Cockpit Arts, including access to onsite workshops in business basics, one-to-one coaching and be a part of a thriving creative community. Applications are invited from makers who are currently unemployed or underemployed (working in a job that doesn’t use their craft skills). More information on the programme can be found here.

Joining Cockpit’s team as Partnership Manager overseeing the launch of the programme, is Ajeet Jugnauth. Ajeet brings a wealth of experience working on projects and programmes for creative entrepreneurs. He’s worked with individuals across disciplines – from music, film, design and craft – to help make their creative talents a viable business. Most recently, Ajeet oversaw seller-community programmes for the online marketplace Etsy.

It’s great to have you with us Ajeet – tell us what’s exciting you most about Make It!
It’s great to be working on a programme like Make It! which is all about supporting the next generation of makers and giving them that first step to turn their creative talent into an actual business. For a young maker today, you can battle with those voices of self-doubt as to whether you can make a living out of your art, so programmes like Make It! are great to have to offer that reassurance and guidance to make it a reality.

It can be a struggle for young makers starting out in business – how will Cockpit’s programme help break down some of those barriers?
We’re really excited to be broadening the scope of applicants this year and are encouraging any young person aged 16-25 years old, who has a passion for something they make and ambitions to make a career out of it, to apply.

We’ll be calling upon other organisations across the Greater London region who work closely with young people and makers to share the opportunity to their networks – so watch this space.

Although there’s still work to be done, Cockpit is proud of its commitment to inclusion, diversity and equality – how can we do more to attract less-represented parts of our London community?
It’s very rare to find physical spaces in London that nurtures creativity the way Cockpit does. The studios in Deptford and Holborn are in the centre of some of the city’s diverse populations and that’s a great starting point. Simply opening the doors to show what’s going on, the rich talent that lies on your doorstep, and making it accessible so that communities feel a degree of ownership with what you are doing, will help to attract a greater pool of supporters and talent.

For Make It! we’ll be hosting some Open Days Deptford and Holborn to give people a taster of what life at Cockpit Arts could be like if you’re selected as one of the three makers we’re looking for.

You’re managing the initial stages of this programme for Cockpit on a freelance basis – tell us a bit about other projects you’re working on too.
I’ve recently begun my freelancing career and very proud to have Cockpit Arts as one of my first clients. To some extent, I almost feel like a Make It! applicant as I’m trying to get a business idea off the ground, so I’ll be bringing a lot of empathy to the programme.
While I’m still exploring other professional and voluntary projects, I am also putting some time and ideas together for a house renovation project I’ve been brewing for some time now. Wish me luck!

You’re a busy man, Ajeet! Tell us a few of your top tips for relaxing in London.
Argh! There are too many to choose from but lately I’ve been getting stuck in with some good (and random) exhibitions in London. From headline-grabbing shows like Christian Dior at the V&A Museum or Olafur Eliasson at the Tate Modern, to the bizarre Psychology of Magic at the Wellcome Collection, it’s just a perfect way to switch off for a bit.

top – Cockpit makers at Summer Open Studios (L-R) Sian Zeng (and friend), Darren Appiagyei, Aisling Duffy, Meron Wolde
middle and bottom – Ajeet and Ajeet hosting a workshop