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Creative Futures: Exploring creative social enterprise

People gathered at the MA Applied Imagination Festival
  • Written byAnnika Loebig
  • Published date 22 June 2022
People gathered at the MA Applied Imagination Festival
Final Show Festival, Culture and Enterprise Programme, 2018 MA Applied Imagination in the Creative Industries, Central Saint Martins, UAL | Photograph: Joana Thompson

UAL’s Creative Futures programme has kicked off their webinar series by exploring creative social enterprise. Although Creative Futures is dedicated to supporting creatives aged 18-25 in Lambeth, Lewisham, Wandsworth or Southwark, while also championing diversity, the series is open to all.

Guest speakers included

Attendees got to hear from all speakers about what makes a social enterprise or community interest company, how to design a company engaged in placemaking, finding cultural and creative solutions, and providing public art and research.

Art Clubbers CIC: Uplifting and highlighting creative talent at the intersection of B.A.M.E. and LGBTQ+ communities

Ajay’s not-for-profit arts organisation Art Clubbers is focused on inclusivity and work with young adults of diverse ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ and creative backgrounds to create arts and cultural programmes across public, private and third sectors. His work aligns with his personal mission to shine a light on individuals at the intersection of B.A.M.E. and LGBTQ+ and the unique talent they bring to the creative sector. In 2020, he was featured by Pride in London’s as one of their 52 dynamic and thought-provoking visual artists and Art Clubbers have previously worked with a variety of partners including art4space, Lambeth, Poplar Works, Wildstone Capital and Streatham Festival 2019.

  • Art Clubbers’ main missions involve:
  • Connect communities through Cohesion and Consultation
  • Champion creative innovation
  • Create an inclusive cultural experience
  • Break down barriers by creating opportunities
Year Here: Developing social leaders through fellowships

After founding a service design agency with her friend straight out of university, Zoë was looking for ways to make a more significant impact on the creative services industry. Not long after, Year Here was born: a social enterprise that grows and connects social innovators and social ventures, coming from a variety of subjects including engineers, journalists and other creatives. Year Here Fellows usually join them for about 10 months during which the enterprise helps them identify and better understand social issues through placements via their network. Previous ventures which Year Here has helped kickstart include

  • Bird Song, a sustainable fashion business
  • Migrateful, providing cooking classes led by refugee and migrant chefs
  • Pivot, a jewellery company that provides training and employment for people who are homeless
  • Appt Health, a health tech business for primary care
Bidean: Using co-design to encourage advocacy, agency and tackle social problems

Founded in 2014 by Ma Industrial Design alumni Erika Renedo Illarregi and Pras Gunasekera, Bidean co-designs workshops for research, create design concepts with participants and support organisations looking to improve their products and services through design research and human centred design. Most of their products deal with issues around mental health and wellbeing, such as their workshop for HMP Thameside to employ design thinking and create anti-theft bags, co-designed with Central Saint Martins’ Makeright programme. The idea behind the programme was to allow change and rehabilitation to happen without threatening the identity of the participants and rather increasing their agency throughout the workshop.

Bidean has previously worked with the V&A, Mind, Design Against Crime, Depression Alliance, The Open University, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Dragon Café and others.

Missed June’s Creative Futures session? Keep an eye out for upcoming talks in their webinar series:


Creative Futures is a programme designed to unleash the creative and entrepreneurial potential of South London’s young creatives, supporting you to set up and grow viable businesses within a creative field. This free, 6-month offer of support is for people who have an idea for a business and are looking to take it to the next stage.

Sign up now to secure your place, email creative.futures@arts.ac.uk