Guild is East Street Arts’ sector support programme supporting and empowering artists to help them create more resilient and sustainable work via artists’ spaces.

Guild 2019 - East Street Arts - Proforma contemporary Art event at the Dancehouse theatre on the 28thJuly 2018.

First launched in 2018, with Arts Council funding we have been working with 20 artist led groups, selected from a national call-out. Stretching the length and breadth of the country the groups demonstrate the incredible range of artists’ spaces in the UK. 

This was then extended to 25 in 2020 due to the increased need for support in the sector following the Covid-19 pandemic.

They provide diverse opportunities for artists working in disciplines from performance and socially engaged practice to printmaking. These groups represent a snap-shot of artist-led initiatives, from small well-established groups, to artists working in a range of temporary spaces, and those at the beginning of their collaborative creative venture.

Looking at their business practices, their place in the community and the impact on political and social environments, we support them in expanding their reach through innovative and enterprising practice.

Artists spaces across the UK are historically self-organised, under-resourced and are prone to experiencing burn-out and we are committed to addressing this. Karen Watson, Artistic Director, East Street Arts

Karen continues; “Artists’ spaces help generate new and innovative artwork, projects and public facing events. Operating as essential catalysts for the art’s sector, these spaces help explore and develop new art practices that can lead to community-led ventures, social housing, land trusts and public facing bakeries, and bars.”

As part of the on-going support offered to artists we are developing new strategic areas of the Guild programme including:

  • The development of a national campaign in support of artists working conditions
  • Accelerate programme supporting five organisations nationally to ensure Guild is accommodating diversity within its developments
  • A learning programme aimed at helping Universities to look at professional development needs of graduating artists
  • Working with young people at the start of their careers
  • Developing an on-line resource

Guild is led by:

– Kate West, GUILD Senior Producer

Gabriella Davies, GUILD Producer

– Ingrid Banerjee Marvin, Artist Support Lead 

The programme also has a dedicated University of Leeds PhD student, Benedetta d’Ettorre, who is exploring how different business models can impact on the sustainability of spaces, with an eye on local social dynamics.

Guild is also made possible with the invaluable support from partners including Key Fund, the University of Leeds, a-n The Artist Information Company , ACAVA , Creative Industries Federation & Unlimited.