PROPOSAL: Pilgrimage and Discussion - Beck Road and an Artist Community

As we say goodbye as a cohort to our shared studio space in archway, we are entering a scarier time. We are moving to an altogether less open and flexible environment in kings cross. Studio attendance historically drops dramatically. The space we have to play with is reduced and more tightly controlled.

Beck Road is a row of terraced houses in Hackney that was slated for demolition in the 1970s. It was squatted by artists who used the road as a series of live/work spaces, and many of them were ultimately able to buy their houses from the council with the help of Acme charity and housing association (which still exists to an extent, and runs the CSM graduate associate studio programme). Residents included Helen Chadwick, Mikey Cuddihy, Genesis P-Orridge and Maureen Paley whose first gallery was opened there in 1984.

I propose we walk together from Elthorne Road to Beck Road, from 11am on Wednesday the third of June, making a journey from the shared studio space that we have been using so far, to a hypothetical and hopeful future of being able to cheaply live/work together, in a community.

En route we can discuss the following questions:

How can we maintain and improve the studio culture we have developed this year?

What has worked and what hasn’t worked?

What kind of studio do we want?

And how might we continue live and work as artists in the future, inside or outside London’s unforgiving environment?

It’s expected to take about an hour and a half, so not too strenuous. We can have a lunch picnic in London Fields after if we like.

I hope everyone can make it. Please invite anyone who has any insight into the history of beck road, or indeed insight into the questions we are tackling.