Understanding the Value of Artists’ Studios

\ Sustainability

In celebration of its 50th anniversary Acme, the single largest provider of permanent affordable artist studios in England, commissioned UCL to develop understandings of the value of artist studios to the city. Jack Fortescue, Acme, Pablo Sendra & Jessica Ferm UCL presented their report based on Childers Street Studios to CVAN members in July 2022.

‘Discussions about the value of artists’ studios are often couched in economic terms.  We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with Acme and its artists at Childers Street Studios in Deptford to understand the broader multi-dimensional value of these studios to both artists and their work, to the neighbourhood and wider city.  We believe the approach we took, working closely with artists, could be usefully replicated in other contexts where wider and deeper understandings of value is sought’  Jess Ferm


Jack Fortescue has worked at Acme since 2008. His role is Property Development which involves securing studios for Acme’s existing artists and large studio waiting list. Jack works directly with commercial developers, landlords and council planning teams. He also works closely with local authorities and other stakeholders to advise on policies to support genuinely affordable artist studios in London.

Dr Pablo Sendra is an architect and urban designer. He is an Associate Professor at The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL. He combines his academic career with professional work through his own urban design practice, LUGADERO LTD, which focuses on facilitating co-design processes with communities. At UCL, he is the Director of the MSc Urban Design and City Planning Programme and the Coordinator of the Civic Design CPD. He has carried out action-research projects in collaboration with activists and communities. His work with communities can be accessed in the Community-Led Regeneration platform. He is co-author of Designing Disorder (with Richard Sennett, 2020), which has been translated into 7 languages, co-author of Community-Led Regeneration (with Daniel Fitzpatrick, 2020) and co-editor of Civic Practices (with Maria Joao Pita and CivicWise, 2017). He is part of the City Collective for the journal City

Jessica Ferm is an urban planner with a specific research interests in planning for economic development and the governance of land use conflicts, particularly between industry and housing. She is an Associate Professor in Planning and Urban Management and Undergraduate Tutor at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. Her PhD evaluated emerging affordable workspace policies in London in the 2000s. Prior to academia, Jessica worked in planning practice in both the private and public sectors. Jessica continues to be active in planning practice and policy in London and internationally; she was a Commissioner on Centre for London’s Industrial Land Commission, she is a member of the Industrial Land and Logistics Steering Board, convened by the GLA and London First, and was recently an international expert reviewer for the Greater Sydney Commission. She has published widely on these topics in academic journals and has written research reports for the former MHCLG, the RICS Research Trust and most recently Acme Studios. Jessica is co-editor of a book on Planning Practice in the UK, (Routledge, 2018) and co-author of Understanding the Impacts of Deregulation in Planning: Turning offices into homes (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

ORCID: 0000-0001-9957-3391

Understanding The Value of Artists' Studio - Childers Street Studios - Report Cover